File image of Niki Sumi | By special arrangement
File image of Niki Sumi | By special arrangement

Guwahati: The Niki Sumi faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-S.S. Khaplang (NSCN-K) or NSCN-GPRN Wednesday announced their intent to join peace talks and revive the ceasefire with the Government of India by “revoking the earlier decision of unilateral abrogation of the ceasefire in 2015”.

This was announced in a press release issued by Sumi, the president of the new faction formed in July after differences emerged with the leadership of the original NSCN-K insurgent group in Myanmar led by its chairman Yung Aung. 

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The Khaplang faction of the NSCN had walked out of a 14-year ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 2015. 

“NSCN/GPRN is aware of the sincere and genuine efforts made by the GoI in the recent past to find a final and lasting solution to the Naga issue with the involvement of all the stakeholders. Therefore NSCN/GPRN has resolved to strengthen and support the peace process at this crucial juncture. Our leaders have established contact with the officials of GoI in this connection,” the statement read.

Sumi further said that they expect the government to respond positively and honour their decision as a confidence building measure in the larger interest of peace in Nagaland and Naga people in general.

Niki Sumi is the prime accused in the killing of 18 Indian Army soldiers by NSCN-K in Manipur’s Chandel district on 4 June 2015. The National Investigation Agency had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for any information leading to the arrest of Sumi, who was then the commander of the armed wing of the outfit.


Also read: Modi govt could look beyond NSCN (I-M) for peace in Nagaland as new players emerge


No indication to join NNPGs

There is, however, no indication from Sumi yet on joining the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG). The NNPGs are a group of seven Naga insurgent outfits that are in talks with the central government.

The government is also holding talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), that has been a long-drawn process of over 23 years.

Talks between the NSCN(I-M) and the central government began in 1997. In August 2015, the Modi government signed a Framework Agreement to seek a final solution with the NSCN(I-M). The NNPGs joined the talks in 2017 by signing a ‘Deed of Commitment’ with the government.

A senior NNPG leader of one of the NSCN factions, who did not want to be named, said, “They have not yet approached the NNPGs. The seven groups will then take a decision. The GoI will not entertain a new kind of group for talks. If at all the Niki Sumi faction wants to be part of the peace process, they will have to be part of NNPGs. The Khango Konyak faction of NSCN-K has already joined us.”

“And since they are a breakaway faction of the NSCN-K, the ceasefire process has to be renewed with GoI — it will have to be a new process of ceasefire,” he added.

At present, negotiations between the Modi government and NSCN(I-M) continues, with the government looking keen to seal a deal at the earliest to end India’s oldest insurgency. But the NSCN(I-M) remains unconvinced. Both the central government and the NSCN(I-M) are sticking to their stand over the latter’s demand for a separate Naga flag and Constitution.


Also read: Naga peace moves gain pace with new round of talks, but differences make a deadline elusive


 

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