Arunachal Govt to hold all-party meet on Naga talks
NAMSAI (ARUNACHAL PRADESH), Nov 16 (AGENCIES): Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Saturday said the state government has convened a cabinet meeting on November 18 to discuss the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is likely to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Khandu, participating in the National Press Day celebrations here, said the special cabinet meeting will deliberate on the recommendations of the Consultative Committee on CAB set up by the state government.
“The committee had convened a number of meetings with political parties, students’ bodies and community-based organisations to seek their opinion on CAB, and prepare a comprehensive report on the issue.
“The report has been finalised, which will be discussed in the cabinet meeting, and the stand of the government will be communicated to the Centre,” he said.
Khandu said the Arunachal Pradesh government will never work against the interests of the indigenous people of the state, and ensure that their rights are protected.
“The Central government has made its stand clear on the bill that it will not affect the tribal states,” he said.
Various students’ bodies led by All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) have opposed the CAB, saying it would affect the tribal population of the state.
Lawmakers of the state, during a meeting on November 11, had suggested that the government should approach the Centre for converting two regulations – The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 and the Chin Hills Regulation 1896 – into acts before enacting the contentious bill.
The indigenous people of the north eastern states fear that entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood.
Khandu also welcomed the Centre’s initiative to solve the decades-old Naga problem and categorically stated that there will be no compromise on the territorial integrity of the state.
The Arunachal Pradesh government will make clear its stand on the Naga peace process to the Centre when called for discussion, he said.
Welcoming the Centre’s initiative, Khandu said New Delhi is serious to solve the issue once for all.
“We will soon call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue besides taking the view of other stakeholders. We will submit our decision to the Centre before a framework agreement is signed,” the chief minister said.
“We are clear in our stand and we want that Naga peace process should not affect the state at any cost,” he said.
The Central government has already rejected insurgent outfit NSCN (I-M)’s demand for unification of Naga inhabited areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
All the three northeastern states have vehemently opposed it.
The Union Home Ministry had said in a statement that before any settlement is arrived at with Naga groups, all stakeholders, including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh will be duly consulted and their concerns will be taken into consideration.
The NSCN (I-M) had demanded ‘Nagalim’ or Greater Nagaland in which all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast would be under one administrative umbrella.
The map of ‘Nagalim’, released by the NSCN (I-M) a few years ago, spreads over 1,03,473 sq km beyond the 16,527 sq km area of Nagaland.
It includes Anjaw, Changlang, Lohit, Longding, Namsai and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The NSCN (I-M) and its rival factions have claimed that these areas, primarily Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts, are dominated by Nagas.
Successive governments in Arunachal Pradesh have time and again made it clear that they would not compromise on the state’s territorial integrity.
A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN (I-M) leader Thuingaleng Muivah and Centres interlocutor R N Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after Independence in 1947.