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|May 2, 1998||
Swaraj Kaushal to hold talks with NSCN (I-M)
The Centre today appointed former Mizoram governor Swaraj Kaushal as its representative to hold talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac-Muivah) to find a solution to the nearly half-a-century insurgency problem in the North-Eastern state of Nagaland.
A government announcement on April 28 said the nine-month-old ceasefire in Nagaland had been extended by another three months from May 1and that political talks would start soon.
The government also announced the appointment of P P Srivastava, former advisor to the Manipur governor and former special secretary in the home ministry, as the full-time chairman of the ceasefire monitoring group in Nagaland.
Swaraj, currently a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, was constitutional advisor for a number of years to the Mizo National Front, led by Laldenga. He played an important role in the talks between the government and the MNF leadership, which led to the signing of the Mizoram accord in 1986. His wife Sushma is the country's information and broadcasting minister.
The government announced the ceasefire agreement with the NSCN (I-M) in August last year for a period of three months. Subsequently, it was extended four times. The NSCN has already hailed the Centre's decision to extend the ceasefire for another three months. However, the rival NSCN (Khaplang) have made at least two attacks last month. The current ceasefire does not apply to that group and army operations against it are to continue.
The government has also denied a news agency report which stated that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would himself hold talks with NSCN (I-M) leaders.
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