The ongoing peace talks between the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM leadership and the Government of India have reached a 'sensitive stage' and efforts are on to iron out a longstanding solution to the over six decades old Naga political problem, observed P Chidambaram in his last press conference as the Home Minister of India.
Soon after the crowded press conference Chidambaram resigned and took over the finance portfolio. Power Minister Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde has become the new home minister in the United Progressive Alliance-II cabinet. Corporate Affairs Minister Mr Virappa Moily has taken over the power portfolio as an additional charge. This was announced in a press communiqué by the President's House on Tuesday evening.
Chidambaram, replying to a question further added that all the 60 legislators of the Naaland Assembly belonging to all political parties in the state including the Congress are slated to reach Delhi in the first week of August to meet him and the prime minister in support of the ongoing peace talks.
Even the Naga Hoho, a respected body of the Naga people, expressed its satisfaction to the 'progress report of the ongoing peace talks which are being handled with utmost care and sincerity by the Principal negotiators and the Government of India'.
Chidambaram said that all the members of Legislative Assembly are rushing to New Delhi on August 6 and 7 to meet the home minister and the prime minister to express their support for the peace talks.
It can be mentioned here that on 19th July the Nagaland Legislative Forum decided to resign if required for finding a solution to the ongoing peace talks.
Significantly, Chidambaram today made it clear that, "First we will try to reach an agreement with the NSCN-IM. Only then we will talk with the other two groups provided they are willing to talk to. As everybody knows, one group live outside India."
Chidambaram was obviously mentioning about the NSCN-Khaplang faction which has been fighting from the Myanmar Naga inhabited area bordering India.
Regarding the possibility of an interim government taking representatives from NSCN and others, Chidambaram cautioned, "Let's not go too fast. Let's complete the first step. Then we will think about the next step."
Chidambaram who has just returned from his two-day Assam trip on Tuesday, asserted that the main concern of the government now is to ensure 'safe return of over four lakh refugees sheltered in 278 camps in the riot affected districts, to their villages. This task will be completed within next few days'.
Replying to a question he mentioned that the "Bodo accord was singed nearly a decade ago. If there is any need to review the accord, it can be discussed in a different forum. But there is a process for that. Now we are more concerned about the rehabilitation of the refugees to their own places with full security.
He also added, "We have drawn plan to set up police pickets in sensitive villages to avert any such ethnic clash in future."