Naga rebel leader Muivah arriving in India Sunday

Dimapur (Nagaland), Feb 27 (IANS) Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), arrives in New Delhi Sunday to carry forward the stalled Naga peace talks, union home secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai said here Saturday.

‘The NSCN-IM leaders have accepted the government invitation to resume the peace dialogue between New Delhi and the Naga organisation,’ Pillai told reporters in the Nagaland city Dimapur after attending a passing out parade of paramilitary Assam Rifles.

‘The NSCN-IM leader would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram next week.’

It is not officially known where exactly Muivah is based outside India. He had last visited India in December 2006 with NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chisi Swu and held talks with the government.

‘Efforts are also on to include other Naga groups, including the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, as demanded by the Naga people. Naga communities have felt that for a permanent solution to the vexed ethnic conflict, holding of talks with all Naga factions are essential,’ Pillai stated.

The centre earlier this month had appointed former petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey as its new interlocutor to facilitate dialogue with the major insurgent outfit, NSCN-IM, which had entered into a ceasefire with the Indian government in August 1997.

Replacing former chief negotiator K. Padmanabhaiah, Pandey has been chosen for the assignment as he has served as chief secretary in Nagaland and is said to have a good grasp of the issues that have led to the long spell of insurgency in the northeastern state.

The last round of inconclusive peace talks between the central government and the leading Naga separatist outfit was held in March 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland.

The NSCN faction led by guerrilla leader S.S. Khaplang entered into a ceasefire in 2001 but formal peace talks are yet to begin.

The NSCN-IM, one of the oldest and most powerful of about 30 rebel groups in India’s northeast, was earlier fighting for an independent homeland for the Nagas, but has scaled it down to a Greater Nagaland, proposed to be formed by slicing off parts of adjoining states that have Naga tribal populations.

The governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have rejected the demand for unification of Naga-dominated areas. The union government too had earlier rejected demands for unification of all Naga-inhabited areas.

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