New Delhi : The NDA government and the NSCN-IM on Monday signed a peace accord aimed at ending India’s longest running insurgency, capping protracted peace talks that began in 1997.
The accord was signed by Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-IM and one of key leaders who had spearheaded the rebel movement in Nagaland, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The insurgency in Nagaland began within years of India’s independence from Britain in 1947, with tribal leaders from the region that was part of the undivided Assam saying the area was never part of India. It is regarded the world’s longest running insurgency.
The NSCN-IM began peace talks with the central government in 1997 after agreeing to a ceasefire. The talks ran into problems over the NSCN-IM’s demands for a separate flag and Greater Nagaland envisages bringing all Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative umbrella.
Last week, representatives of Naga civil society unanimously endorsed a five-point resolution passed by the Nagaland legislative assembly on July 27, including “integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”.
Other resolutions included resumption of ceasefire between New Delhi and NSCN-Khaplang, which walked out of the peace process (inked in April 2001) on March 27 this year; and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958 from Nagaland.
But Nagaland’s neighbours in the northeast -- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur -- are wary of “integrating Naga-inhabited areas”. These states view Greater Nagaland as a threat to their territorial integrity. They have witnessed violent protests, particularly in Manipur where a mob set the state assembly ablaze in 2001.