Centre rejects greater Nagaland claim; outcry in Assam over Muivah remark
The central government strongly refuted as “erroneous” the reports that it had agreed to carve out a larger Nagaland state by taking away the territories of the states contiguous to it.
Rejecting media reports that appeared recently to the effect that the Centre had agreed to carve out a larger Nagaland state, home ministry in a clarification said: “Such reports are erroneous. It is clarified that there is no such agreement or decision of the Government of India.”
NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, was quoted recently that the ‘Framework Agreement’ signed with the Centre two years back has recognised the outfit’s demand for territorial integration of all Naga inhabited areas in the region.
The Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by Muivah and the government’s interlocutor R N Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh.
The agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed.
Meanwhile, a senior home ministry official said that the Centre was very clear to respect and safeguard the integrity of other Northeast states bordering Nagaland.
The official also reminded what was told by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders during their election campaign in Manipur. They were vocal enough to assure Manipur and other neighbouring states that there was no question of infringing upon their territorial integrity in the event solution is arrived at with the NSCN (I-M), the official added.
In neighbouring Assam, mass protests erupted after NSCN (I-M) general secretary and its chief negotiator in peace deals with the Centre, Thuingaleng Muivah, said the August 2015 ‘Framework Agreement’ recognizes NSCN (I-M)’s demand for territorial integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the region.
The Naga group proposes to carve a ‘Greater Nagalim’ by joining large tracts of land in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and parts of Myanmar where there are Naga inhabitants. The outfit also claims that Assam’s Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts along with parts of Golaghat, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, and Jorhat districts.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, “There is no such proposal with the central government. We are committed to protecting Assam’s territory.”
Sonowal’s predecessors – Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Tarun Gogoi – have demanded that the centre make the content of the framework agreement public to remove all doubts.
“Nagaland has already encroached upon land in Assam and a case is pending with the Supreme Court. Now, there is no question of giving more land to Nagaland,” said Mahanta. Gogoi said, “The Centre must make provisions so that Assam’s territorial integrity is not comprised under any circumstances.”
General secretary of All Assam Students Union Lurinjyoti Gogoi said, “Any Naga agreement where Assam’s territorial integrity is compromised with cannot be accepted.” People living in Golaghat district bordering Nagaland staged protests against the NSCN-IM and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister and the chief minister.