New Delhi: Considerable progress has been made in the last few days on Naga peace talks.
Sources say the demand for an early solution now "echo" the hills and valleys of Nagaland and even some Naga inhabited areas outside the state of Nagaland. Hence, pressure is mounting on all fronts.
The Government of India is also "expected to deliver" at the earliest as in 2018, during the assembly polls, the BJP had pledged 'Election for Solution'. Things have come close as hardly 12-14 months are left for yet another round of assembly elections in Nagaland.
"The rift between the central Government and the NSCN (IM) over the issues of Flag and a separate Constitution cannot be allowed to prolong," according to a source, and hence all political parties, including the ruling NDPP-BJP alliance, have been directed to put things on a fast track.
It would not be advisable to link the Naga peace talks with elections either in states such as Manipur or Assam, too, a source said.
The Assam polls early this year had 'delayed' the process for a while earlier this year, while Manipur (with a substantial Naga population) is heading for assembly elections along with UP, Punjab and Goa early next year.
"Political negotiations to end insurgency is a different ball game. Here there should be no place for 'Prestige Issue and Face saver' as long as you achieve solution and peace," the source said.
At a recent round of talks between one negotiating group and the new peace interlocutor A K Mishra in Delhi, it has been suggested that there is a need to come out of the existing system under which "the same set of state politicians and 60 individuals with cosmetic variations" keep continuing to rule the state.
It is important to underline that after so many years of peace talks and over 80 rounds of discussions since 1997, it would be erroneous to sabotage the entire process of peace and development.
The NSCN (IM) leadership has engaged itself for detailed consultations among all its cadres and 'supporting stakeholders' to work for the peace process and an acceptable solution, a source said.
The allegation of corruption and 'extortion' by gunmen from time to time have also reportedly irked the central leadership.
The central BJP leadership and the state unit are also trying to reconcile to the reality with pressure mounting on the state leaders to appreciate the ground reality under which already 'splits' are happening in some tribal bodies and pressure groups.
The NNPG leadership, which is for an immediate signing of a prospective peace pact, has claimed the backing of organisations such 14 Naga Tribal Hohos of Nagaland and the Nagaland Gaon Bura (Village Elders) Federation.
"We at the grassroots level are committed to end gun culture in Nagaland through acceptable and honourable political solution," the Nagaland GB Federation said in their letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.
A team of key NSCN (IM) leaders are now reaching out to all concerned for feedback on handling things at the negotiating table as things have entered a key stage.
Former Nagaland Chief Minister S C Jamir, also Governor of Gujarat and Odisha, has lately said, "…. The more they delay, the credibility and the sanctity of of the agreements inked so far, the Framework Agreement of August 2015 with NSCN (IM) and the Agreed Position or Preamble of 2017 with NNPG, will go."
Ninety-year-old Jamir, who has been given India's third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan in 2020, incidentally has been one of the signatories of the peace accord in 1960 that had heralded statehood for Nagaland.