Naga group may end truce

Agence France Presse

Dimapur, June 5:

A powerful rebel group in India’s northeastern Nagaland state threatened today to end a ceas-efire in place since 1997 if the government did not meet its demands for a separate homeland. “We may be forced to fight again and hence are prepared for the worst,” National Socialist Council of Nagaland spokesman Kraibo Chawang told AFP in Dimapur. Leaders of the guerrilla group have held at least 20 rounds of peace talks with Indian negotiators this year in a bid to end nearly six decades of violent insurgency in the region. “The pace of the talks has been slow and we are not at all happy,” Chawang said. The group is the oldest and most powerful of around 30 rebel armies in India’s northeast and wants the creation of a “Greater Nagaland”, which would include parts of the neighbouring states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh that have sizeable Naga tribal populations. “There cannot be any solution without unification of all Naga tribal inhabited areas in the northeast,” Chawang said.

But the neighbouring state governments have already rejected demands for unification of Naga-dominated areas. Nagaland, where more than 25,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency since India’s independence from Britain in 1947, is a Christian majority state of two million people.