The Congress on Tuesday raised questions over Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s involvement in the Naga peace talks and says the state’s interest may be compromised in the long run.
Assam Congress President Bhupen Kumar Borah has asked the Centre to clear at what capacity chief minister Sarma has been involved in the peace talks in Nagaland.
“As a chief minister of Assam can he (Sarma) hold talks with NSCN (IM) without discussion in the state Assembly and without taking Cabinet into confidence? The NSCN (IM) has been demanding for “Greater Nagalim” (integration of Naga dominated areas of neighbouring states) and for all we know it is supposed to include parts of Assam,” Bora said.
He said that the Congress party is committed to keeping its state intact and under no circumstances will allow any part of its land into Greater Nagalim.
Bora also demanded publication of the Naga Framework Agreement (NFA), signed between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) in 2015.
“Can the people of Assam trust Sarma to defend the state’s interests when he had miserably failed to do so in the recent Mizoram-Assam border issue?,” asked the APCC president.
“He (Sarma) had publicly said that he is ready to give the whole of Barak Valley (southern Assam) and even Guwahati to Mizoram? Can Sarma be trusted to defend Assam’s interests in his talks with NSCN (IM) when his blind allegiance to the BJP High Command’s diktat are well known to all?” Bora added.
He said that it has been reported that Nagaland and Manipur Chief Ministers have also been asked to be part of the talks along with Assam CM but it was learnt that Manipur CM has decided not to participate due to differences on “Greater Nagalim issue”
He said that in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proudly announced the “NFA of Government of India” with NSCN (IM) by declaring that “we mark not merely the end of a problem but the beginning of a new future” but surprisingly the NFA was not publicly divulged despite strong demand from various parties including Congress.
“Subsequently, Modi also appointed his most trusted aide, Naga peace talks Interlocutor R.N. Ravi as Nagaland Governor in 2019. Matters did not improve further and the NFA appeared to be a ‘discord agreement’ as public spats between leaders of NSCN (IM) and Ravi became headlines of news reports,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sarma, who is also the convener of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), arrived in Dimapur on Tuesday to hold meetings with his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio, leaders of various political parties and Naga groups and senior government officials.