Next round of peace talks in Nagaland, says senior leader VS Atem
Source: The Sangai Express / PTI

Kohima, May 21 2010: The next round of peace talks between the Centre and the NSCN-IM will be held in Nagaland amid the ongoing stalemate over Naga leader T Muivah's resolve to visit his birthplace in Manipur.

Senior NSCN-IM functionary VS Atem said the Centre agreed to its proposal to have the next round of parleys in Nagaland but the exact venue and date are yet to be finalised.

The ensuing peace talks, likely to be held next week, will be the first of its kind in Nagaland during the discourse of 13 years of Naga peace process since all official dialogue between the two sides were held either in Delhi or abroad towards finding an honourable settlement to the protracted Naga political conflict.

This will be the third round of talks after the Centre appointed former Nagaland chief secretary RS Pandey as the new interlocutor to carry forward the peace process to its logical conclusion.

After the May 12 meeting among NSCN-IM general secretary T Muivah, Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and Pandey here, Atem had said that the Centre was in touch with its leaders and urged to have "some patience".

Atem, also the convenor of NSCN-IM steering committee, reaffirmed that Muivah, now camping in Viswema near Nagaland-Manipur border since May 5 en route to Somdal in Ukhrul district, would go ahead with his planned visit any way, asserting "there is no question of going back to Hebron, the group's headquarters near Dimapur, from here.

"If the Centre cannot prevail upon the Manipur Government on such a small matter, they should put off their hands and leave it to us to handle the situation there leading to the current impasse (over the visit)," Atem, emissary to NSCN collective leadership, asserted.

On prevailing Manipur situation, he asserted that it was the creation of Ibobi Singh Government and the Nagas were not responsible for that.

"The Nagas want to live peacefully as good neighbours with the Meities (of Manipur) but not at the expense of our rights and lands," Atem said.

He described the ongoing economic blockade in Manipur as the result of direct provocation and insult to the Nagas by the Ibobi Government.