R.N.Ravi talking about Naga talks
Ravi said “sovereignty has many meanings and many shades” but it was still being discussed by both sides in order to move forward. He however made it clear, that if ‘sovereignty’ was to mean “total independence”, then it was ruled out. He also said the NSCN (I-M) has kept integration as its agenda and that both the parties are “just examining” on the “best possible way” to deal with it.
On talks with IM-walla-NSCN - ie, nagas from tangkhulapur
On the final settlement to be made with the NSCN (I-M), Ravi clarified that “there is nothing called settlement with NSCN (I-M) as it is a settlement of the Naga issue”.
Ravi explained that when he said “talk was between two equal parties”, he meant that the talk was between Nagas and government of India and “not NSCN (I-M) and government of India”.
“It is one thing that a beginning was made through NSCN (I-M) and we are talking with them and we have made sufficient progress.... this is a Naga issue”, maintained Ravi. He also elaborated that “equal partners are not NSCN (I-M) and government of India- it is the Nagas”. Ravi said the government of India’s Naga talks was with the Nagas, which he described as, a “gentlemanly talk” under the principle of equal partnership.
On "alternative arrangement". A jhakaas term coined by nagas which demands that X state(nagaland) govt be given legal powers to administer territories in Y state(manipur, assam, arunachal) territories.
Ravi denied having any knowledge about the “alternative arrangement” . He said “I do not know what alternative arrangement is. This is a very vague concept and I am not very clear about it”.
On the demand for interim government in nagaland by NPGs(naga political groups)
Ravi replied “why would anyone want an interim government in Nagaland when Nagas have an elected government?. He asked , “how can you just throw away an elected government in Nagaland?”
On the future of community based militant groups after aur when aur if an agreement is reached
Ravi made it clear, that as and when agreement or solution was reached, “there cannot be any private militia”. He went on to explain the legal position that the only persons permitted to carry weapons were people in the government and the license holders. Ravi reiterated “there cannot be any private militia”.
On K-walla-NSCN's exit from talks. K is for konyakabad naga. A all encompassing talk agreement without konyak?
When asked to explain how everyone would be taken on board especially after the NSCN(K) abrogated the cease fire, Ravi said he was surprised by the unilateral abrogation of the cease fire (signed in 2001) but added that he would “love” NSCN (K) to rethink on its position and reconsider.
On any time-frame/deadline for resolving talks
Ravi also ruled out any time frame for solution to Naga issues despite reports that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had committed to solve Naga issue within 18 months of the NDA government coming to power at the Centre. The interlocutor said “I really wonder who reported” that the Prime Minister made a commitment for a time frame. Ravi said the instructions he received from the prime minister was to ensure that the Naga issue was settled “as early as possible”.
For those confused or new - there are a wide range of tribal communities in the arunachal-nagaland-manipur-mizoram corridor(that whole vertical strip of land bordering myanmar). These tribal communities have a lot of variations. Starting somewhere in the 1900s, the pockets of variations started coming together and formed ethno-political entities that we now know by the names as "nagas", "kuki", "mizo" etc who now compete against each other in the vicinity(for land, water, jobs, resources etc).
When GoI approaches any one of them for talks(eg, like the nagas), they splinter very intensely. Some talk, some refuse and the rest stay completely aloof. It's situations like these that we come to know the actual nature of these ethno-political clusters.
So when Ravi says that he wants to bring all the variations coined under "naga" to come to the discussion table, we have to wonder what his intentions are, now that we know for sure that these variations will not sit together with the GoI.