Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s ‘closed-door meeting’ with Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has triggered speculations about the possibility of his role in ‘brokering peace’ in insurgency-ravaged Nagaland.

Sarma, who is also the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), on Sunday, held a ‘closed-door meeting’ with Rio.

The ‘closed-door meeting’ was held at the official residence of chief minister Neiphiu Rio in Kohima.

However, Himanta Biswa Sarma described the ‘closed-door meeting’ as a courtesy call and claimed there were no serious discussions.

Though the officials at the Chief Minister’s office in Nagaland have confirmed about the ‘closed-door meeting’, the agenda of the discussion has not been made public.

Has Himanta Biswa Sarma been engaged by New Delhi to play an active role in solving the Naga political issue?

As Himanta Biswa Sarma is known for his troubleshooting skills across the Northeast, people in Nagaland’s political domain have started to speculate about the possibility of his involvement in the Naga peace process.

The Assam minister’s meeting with Rio assumes significance as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is now trying to iron out its differences with the NSCN (IM) for a permanent solution to the Naga peace initiative.

Since 1997, the NSCN (IM) is in a peace mode, and held several rounds of discussions with New Delhi for a permanent solution to their political demands.

Though Home secretary A K Bhalla has recently claimed that the Naga Peace Agreement is in the final stage, the NSCN (IM) is still adamant on the issues of a separate flag and constitution.

People in Nagaland’s political domain speculated that Himanta Biswa Sarma’s visit to Nagaland on Sunday was a follow up of the MHA’s initiative.

Sources said the MHA is keen to settle the Naga issue within the month of December and would like to portray it as the ‘Christmas Gift’ to the people of Nagaland.

Rio and Leader of Opposition in Nagaland T. R. Zeliang had held discussions on the vexed Naga political issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on October 20 in New Delhi.

The NSCN (IM) and Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) are engaged in separate parleys for solution to the decades-old Naga problem.


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