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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2965

Troubled ceasefires

[b]Troubled ceasefires[/b]

By Vinod Vedi - Syndicate Features

The ceasefire with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has been extended for six months in Nagaland and the first week of February saw movement towards some similar arrangement with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in the invitation for talks in New Delhi to the People’s Consultative Group of eminent persons interested in initiating direct talks with the Centre.

Both events were plagued by "ground realities" that in the case of Assam were bloody and saw the ULFA trying to assert its presence by blowing up gas pipelines and trying to disrupt the Republic Day and the Bihu festival to make its presence felt. The I-M delayed signing the ceasefire because "ground rules", in its perception, favoured the rival Khaplang group (break away NSCN faction) which is more amenable to rapprochement with the Government of India.

It does need to be noticed that the extension of a ceasefire that has lasted since 1997 is coming in shorter durations than the earlier annual ones and this time the NSCN leadership did not want to commit themselves beyond three months but were persuaded to extend, once again, by six months on assurances that new initiatives would be explored to meet their demands, the most problematic one being the integration of all Naga-dominated areas in Nagaland neighbourhood to create a "Greater Nagalim". It is a move that has created severe heartburn in Manipur when the previous NDA government was suspected of being amenable to NSCN demands.

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