Kohima, Dec 23 (IANS) The Naga insurgent group NSCN-K, on Wednesday, after more than five years, announced a ceasefire and has contacted the officials of the central government for initiating peace talks, the outlawed outfit said in a Press statement.
The Nagaland government last week notified a Union Home Ministry's (MHA) notification declaring NSCN (K), all its factions, wings and frontal organisations as an unlawful association under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (K) led by dreaded militant Niki Sumi, in its statement said that they expect the Government of India would "respond positively by honouring our decision as a confidence building measure in the larger interests of peace in Nagaland and Naga people in general".
The statement said that to facilitate the process and keeping in view the desire of the Naga people particularly Naga civil society organisations and NGOs, NSCN-K has further decided to revive the ceasefire with immediate effect by revoking the earlier decision of unilateral abrogation of the ceasefire in 2015.
"NSCN-K has been striving all these years to achieve an honourable and acceptable political solution to the Naga issue. NSCN-K is also conscious of the overwhelming sentiments among the Naga people for an early solution to this long standing issue," it said.
The statement, issued on Wednesday, said that the NSCN-K is aware of the sincere and genuine efforts made by the central government in the recent past to find a final and lasting solution to the Naga issue with the involvement of all the stakeholders.
"Therefore NSCN-K has resolved to strengthen and support the peace process at this crucial juncture. Our leaders have established contact with the officials of Gol in this connection," the outfit President Niki Sumi said in his statement.
The terror outfit had signed a ceasefire deal with the Union Government in 2001 but unilaterally revoked it in 2015 when the then "Chairman" of the group S S Khaplang (who died in June 2017), was alive.
The incumbent supremo Sumi is reportedly the key accused in the killing of 18 Indian Army soldiers in Manipur in 2015 and the National Investigation Agency had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for his whereabouts.
The dominant group of the Naga outfit - the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN-IM - had entered into a ceasefire agreement with the central government in August 1997 and since then engaged in peace talks.
The outfit has held around 80 rounds of negotiations with the Central government in Delhi and even outside India after signing a ceasefire pact 23 years ago.
The central government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had signed a "framework agreement" with the NSCN-IM in 2015.
The NSCN-IM and the intelligence sources said that while many of the 31 demands of the Nagas have been almost resolved during the talks with the Centre, differences remain over a separate flag and a separate constitution.
Nagalim, a long-pending demand of the NSCN-IM for a separate Naga state, encompasses the Naga-inhabited areas of Myanmar as well as parts of the northeastern states bordering Nagaland.
Nagaland Governor and the central government's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks R.N. Ravi has recently rejected the demand for a separate flag and constitution for the state as demanded by the NSCN (IM).
On the occasion of the 58th Statehood Day of Nagaland on December 1, Ravi said, "The Indian national flag and the constitution are the pride of the people of India.
"The government is absolutely clear that there is and there shall be only one national flag and constitution in India. Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies. They are trying to confuse and mislead the people."
The NSCN-IM has also recently sought the Prime Minister's intervention in the talks for faster determination of their demands, insisting that the negotiations be held in a "third country".