Preparations have begun for talks between the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) led by S.S. Khaplang.
The emissary to the collective leadership of the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, Kughalu Mulatonu, told The Telegraph that the response from the Centre was “very positive” and more meetings would be held before touching the core issues to resolve the protracted Naga political issue.
Mulatonu said he met Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday and discussed about the groundwork to begin talks with the Centre.
“The meeting was very positive and forthcoming,” the NSCN (K) emissary said. The finance minister had made some pertinent suggestions, which would be helpful for the outfit, he added.
Mulatonu said frequent meetings with the central policy makers would break the ice and therefore they would continue to meet them. “Ice between us must be broken to resolve the problem,” the NSCN leader said.
The outfit, which has been emphasizing on nothing less then sovereignty, is now talking of resolving the issue through negotiations and dialogue.
Sources also confirmed that Mukherjee has told Union home minister P. Chidambaram about his meeting with the NSCN (K) leaders.
Mulatonu said he would also meet the home minister very soon. He said Chidambaram had agreed to meet the NSCN (K) leaders.
The outfit had expressed willingness to begin talks with the Centre as the rival Isak-Muivah faction has failed to resolve the issue after 12 years of ceasefire and subsequently over 60 rounds of talks.
The NSCN (K), which is also in truce with the Centre since 1997, entered into bilateral ceasefire only in April 2001, but talks are yet to begin.
Mulatonu, however, said talks would be held based on the proposal from the Centre. He said only through talks solution could be hammered out. “We can resolve the issue only through dialogue,” he said.
As for the venue of the talk, the NSCN (K) leaders had said it can be anywhere, but should be totally transparent so that Naga people are not kept in the dark. “Talks can also be held in Nagaland or anywhere,” Mulatonu said.
But the NSCN (K) does not want any interference of the state government in the peace process with the Centre.
In the ongoing Nagaland Assembly session, the Congress had raised a question whether the state government is in touch with Khaplang since the NSCN (K) had expressed willingness to begin dialogue with the Centre.
Chief minister Neiphiu Rio said Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the state government meets Naga militant leaders from time to time.