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PM approves of Naga leaders' stance

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 07, 2004 12:58 IST
Last Updated: December 07, 2004 15:57 IST

National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM) leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingleng Muivah, chairman and general secretary of the group respectively, had arrived in Delhi from Amsterdam on Sunday night to hold talks with the Centre.

Singh told the NSCN leaders that he favoured a "mutually acceptable and honourable" solution to the decades-old problem in Nagaland and wanted to ensure that the people there lived a life of peace with dignity and self-respect.

"Our government will make sincere effort to find an honourable way out," he said during the 30-minute meeting.

Swu and Muivah said they sought an honourbale solution while asserting that "a solution cannot be found in violence and blood".

Singh approved of the stand taken by the separatist leaders, PMO spokesman Sanjaya Baru said.

The five-member delegation also met Home Minister Shivraj Patil later.

Patil said no substantive issues were discussed during his meeting with the leaders.

Minister of state for home affairs Sri Prakash Jaiswal, secretary Dhirendra Singh and some other officials were present during the meeting.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Patil said that the meeting was an opportunity to get acquainted with each other.

"The Naga leaders made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the morning. In the afternoon when we met no substantive issues were discussed. The leaders will be meeting Sonia Gandhi, Congress president, and other leaders like former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee before proceeding to Nagaland. There they will talk to their people before coming back to Delhi," Patil said.

The delegation level talks between government of India and NSCN leaders will start once they are back in Delhi.

Swu and Muivah had, last month, voiced reservations about their visit in the wake of charges by its rival group NSCN (Haplang) that they were "undermining" the issue of sovereignty and talking to New Delhi.

NSCN (I-M) leaders changed their stand after Padmanabhaiah spoke to them on telephone and gave the assurance that the Indian government was "sincere" in continuing the peace process.

The demand of NSCN (I-M) for creation of a "Greater Nagaland" had earlier sparked off large-scale violence in Manipur.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also read:

Naga Ceasefire

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