Centre hopeful Naga solution by year end: Pillai

Oken Jeet Sandham
DELHI, April 17 (NEPS): The Government of India is hopeful of seeing solution to the over-60-year-old Naga political issue by the year end. Talks between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) have also progressed a lot and to realize this dream (solution by year end), the people of Nagaland should also do a lot of homework, GK Pillai, Home Secretary to the Government of India, told Oken Jeet Sandham, NEPS Editor, during a discussion here at national capital, Delhi.
The Home Secretary expressed his deep happiness on the substantial progress made to the peace process between the Centre and the NSCN (IM). He said NSCN (IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah while in Nagaland made statement that there was substantial progress in the talks with the Government of India. On his return to Delhi, the discussions resumed with Centre’s interlocutor RS Pandey. Pandey had been engaging in rounds of discussions with the leaderships of the NSCN (IM). “We are happy that there has been substantial progress in the peace process,” Pillai stated.
When asked about any timeframe for solution to the Naga issue, the Home Secretary said, “We are negotiating with the NSCN (IM) and can’t say details of it.” The Centre’s interlocutor was seriously engaging in negotiations with NSCN (IM) leaderships and also Muivah was making statement about the substantial progress in the talks while in Nagaland. “We have confidence in them and are happy with the progress,” he said.
But to realize this dream, they also depended much on the negotiations between the Centre and the NSCN (IM), while at home in Nagaland, people also should do a lot of homework, he asserted so that the peace process would expedite and move forward. With these efforts and the momentum at the moment, it was hoped that the solution to the protracted Naga issue would be found by the year end,” the Home Secretary asserted.
Asked if the Centre would take into account the States of the region where the Nagas inhabit before entering into final settlement, Pillai said these states would be consulted before entering into any final settlement to the Naga issue.  “Everybody wants solution not only in Nagaland,” he said stressing that the “basic aim is that they have to strike a harmony and bring honorable settlement to the issue.”
On Neiphiu Rio Government’s facilitating role to the peace process, the Home Secretary said, “We think they (Neiphiu Rio Government) can do much more than that.” He further explained that the Nagaland Government remained neutral, watching the Government of India and NSCN (IM) talks. “I think they should (State Government) involve in the process,” he stated.
Asked when the Centre would start talks with the NSCN (K) which also had ceasefire with them since 2001, Pillai said, “We are waiting for the right opportunity and will do (talks) at the correct time.” “After a little bit of progress with the NSCN (IM) from the present stage, we shall start talks with NSCN (K) including State Government of Nagaland with fully in picture,” he revealed.
Pillai also expressed unhappiness on the recent spurt of factional violence claiming lives in both sides. In last two years, factional clashes came down to “zero,” but in last few months, this ghost of factional clashes resurfaced, even in loss of lives in both sides, he said terming it as “unfortunate.”  He, however, hoped that better sense would prevail soon.   Any difference should be resolved through dialogue not through violence, he asserted.
On the ENPO’s demand of separate “Frontier Nagaland,” Pillai said, “This is rather for the people of Nagaland to have a discussion and not anything with the Government of India to do so.” The Home Secretary, however, admitted that the Government of India had received the memorandum from the ENPO demanding for a separate statehood as “Frontier Nagaland” by carving out four districts---Tuensang, Mon, Longleng and Kiphire.
He further disclosed that they already sent the matter to the State Government of Nagaland. “We have not received any response from them so far,” he stated. The ENPO pointed out discrimination as main point for demanding separate statehood. Pillai said if such issue was there, the State Government should solve it with the people of this region.
Pandey happy but cautious on Centre-NSCN peace talks
DELHI, April 17 (NEPS): The Centre’s interlocutor to political talks with the NSCN (IM) RS Pandey, IAS, was happy with the progress of the talks and with the sincerity from both sides. He, however, refused to set any time frame for the final solution to the protracted Naga political issue, but expressed hope that solution would be sooner than later.
In an exclusive interview with Oken Jeet Sandham, Editor of NEPS, here at his Delhi residence today, the Centre’s Interlocutor made a very cautious response when asked about any time frame on the issue. He said, “Time will come when I will talk (about time bound).” “Let us do the work first.”
When he was asked about the statements issued from both sides (Government of India and the NSCN-IM) that talks were progressing and were positive and both sides were sincere and as such why was it that he was not saying anything concrete on the issue, Pandey said, “Look, it is true that both sides are sincere. We want solution and we have made progress but nothing is final till everything is final.”
“Let us hope for the best,” he stated.
Pressed further to elaborate, the former Nagaland Chief Secretary of 1972 IAS Batch of Nagaland Cadre, cited an example in Nagamese in a logical manner, “Moikhan kinika peace process te jai ase, moi laga opinion kobo. Itu Dimapur para Kohima jabole aha nisina ase. Moikhan sub gari loikene, bhat khai kene Kohima jabole ready hoise. Kintu rasta te ki hobo na jane, kile mane monsoon season bhi ase. Landslide kono ba kono ba jagah te thaki bo pare. Hoilebi, chhoto moto landslip to safa korikene jai jabo kintu Kaunba dangor landslide para roadblock hoile, bypass banai kene  Kohima punchibole try koribo. Kintu kitiya Kohima Punchibo Kobole tan ase to.” (I shall share my opinion with you as to what is the position of the progress in this regard. It is like a journey from Dimapur to Kohima. We all are ready to leave from Dimapur.  We however do not know what would happen on the way to Kohima because it is monsoon season. There may be landslides. But we shall try to reach Kohima by clearing those small roadblocks. If we can’t due to heavy roadblocks, we shall try to make bypasses to reach Kohima. Yet it is difficult to say precisely when we shall reach Kohima.” )
Pandey however said, “All concerned should hope and pray that we reach a settlement sooner than later.”
It may be mentioned that the former Nagaland Chief Secretary was appointed as Centre’s Interlocutor for talks with NSCN (IM). His status is that of the Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India. The Centre has full confidence in him that solution to the longstanding Naga issue would be found as early as possible.