Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio held a meeting with Thuingaleng Muivah, the chief negotiator of NSCN(IM), which is the largest armed Naga group, at Dimapur on Tuesday, 21 September, PTI quoted a government official as saying.
Though the NSCN(IM) had started negotiations with the Centre in 1997, this was the first time they held talks with political leaders. The Centre and NSCN(IM) had resumed talks on Monday to find a solution to the Naga political issue, reported PTI.
“We have never had talks with political leaders ... But we have to if they are assigned by the central government”, NSCN(IM) leader R Raising had said on Monday after Muivah’s met AK Mishra, the Centre’s interlocutor, at Dimapur, reported PTI.
Nagaland minister Neiba Kronu confirmed Tuesday’s meeting.
Kronu said Sarma was assisting them “as he is the convener of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and knows the issue”.
However, he did not disclose any details of the meeting held between Sarma and NSCN(IM) leadership.
Later, in a tweet, Sarma said that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were committed to having ever-lasting peace in the northeast”.
“At Dimapur today, we held a discussion with NSCN(IM) representatives in presence of Nagaland HCM Sri Neiphiu Rio about the ongoing peace talks with the Government of India. We are all keen that the ongoing Peace Talks fructify into concrete results soon. I also discussed the political scenario in Nagaland with the HCM as well the upcoming Nagaland assembly elections and NEDA role in it,” the Assam chief minister said.
Kronu said Sarma also had a meeting with the “presidents of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party(NDPP) and the state BJP”, held to reaffirm that the two will remain partners even for the 2023 state election.
Ahead of the 2018 Nagaland assembly election, Sarma had formally declared an alliance between the BJP and NDPP.
Kronu said Chief Minister Rio and Deputy CM Y Patton were also present during the meeting with Sarma, reported PTI.
However, Kronu said the newly formed all-party government United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in Nagaland was not discussed during the meeting.
(With inputs from PTI)