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Two more interlocutors shortlisted for Nagaland peace talks
Friday February 14, 2014 11:32 AM, IANS

The central government has shortlisted two more people for appointment as the interlocutor for the peace talks with the separatist National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), an official said Friday.

"We have shortlisted two more names - Lt.Gen. (retd.) N.C. Marwah and R.N. Singh - for the appointment of an interlocutor for the peace talks with the union government and the NSCN-IM," a top official in the union home ministry told IANS, insisting on anonymity.

"The process is on to finalise the name of either of the retired Indian Army generals. We are hoping that the government will announce the name of the interlocutor after the parliament session," he said.

Both Marwah and Singh had served in the northeastern states and were involved in the counter-insurgency operations at various levels.

Earlier, former Nagaland chief secretary R.S. Pandey, who was the chief negotiator for talks with the Naga rebel group, resigned and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He will contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Bihar's Valmikinagar.

Four names - Lt. Gen. (retd.) R.N. Kapur, former Assam Police chief G.M. Srivastava, Joint Intelligence Committee chairman Ajit Lal, who is a former special director of the Intelligence Bureau, and R.N. Ravi, who retired as Intelligence Bureau special director - are doing the rounds.

The NSCN-IM has been fighting for an independent Nagaland for over six decades. But since the peace talks began, it has scaled down the demand to a "Greater Nagaland", slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to unite areas inhabited by 1.2 million Nagas.

The demand is being opposed by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

The union government and the NSCN-IM entered into a ceasefire agreement in August 1997.

They have held more than 50 rounds of peace talks to end one of south Asia's longest-running insurgencies in which 25,000 people have died since 1947.

During earlier talks, the NSCN-IM proposed "a special federal arrangement" to enable self-governance, but the negotiations ended inconclusively.

The NSCN-IM wants a special federal relationship with India, with a separate Naga constitution, and would like the guerrillas to jointly guard the international border alongside Indian security forces.

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