NSCN (IM) leader to meet PM, Home Minister in Delhi

Dimapur: NSCN (IM) leader Thuingaleng Muivah will meet the Prime Minister and the Home Minister in Delhi next week to carry forward the Naga peace process stalled for a year, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said on Saturday.

"Muivah accepted the invitation from the Government of India communicated through the new Interlocutor R S Pandey to resume the peace dialogue," Pillai said here.

However, there was no word about the NSCN chairman Isak Chisi Swu accompanying Muivah.

Pillai was talking to reporters after attending a passing out parade of the Assam Rifles.

Ahead of meetings with political leadership, the Naga leader will hold talks with Pandey on March two and three, official sources said.

Pillai said efforts are on to include other Naga groups as a permanent solution to the vexed Naga conflict is not possible by holding talks with only one group.

Muivah had last visited India in December 2006 with NSCN chairman Isak Chisi Swu and held talks with the government. Both the leaders are based in the Dutch capital Amsterdam.

The NSCN(Isak-Muivah) general secretary is expected to visit Nagaland and address clashes between the cadres of NSCN-IM and its rival NSCN (Khaplang), which has resulted in unrest in the recent past.

Pandey was recently appointed new interlocutor to facilitate dialogue with the major insurgent outfit as he has served as chief secretary in Nagaland.

A Nagaland cadre IAS officer of 1972 batch, Pandey is said to have a good grasp of the issues that have led to the long spell of insurgency in the north-eastern border state.

K Padmanabhaiah, a former home secretary, had served as interlocutor for talks with NSCN-IM for a decade.

The last round of peace talks between the Centre and the NSCN(I-M), which had entered into a ceasefire with the government in August 1997, was held in March 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland, and had ended in a stalemate.

The NSCN-IM, one of the oldest and most powerful of about 30 rebel groups, was earlier fighting for an independent homeland for the Nagas, but scaled it down to a Greater Nagaland, to be formed by slicing off parts of adjoining states that have Naga tribal populations.

The Centre as well as the governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have rejected the demand for unification of Naga-dominated areas.

The Naga delegation is now expected to continue its discussion with Pandey over the limits of flexibility within the Constitution and whether a "sub-national constitution" could be accommodated within it.