Just when it seemed that Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah—the two top leaders of the main National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) faction—have at last come around to accept the proposal of holding further negotiations in India, a string of violent incidents last week put the clock back. The Naga peace talks seem to be once again following the classic one-step-forward-two-steps-backward pattern, frustrating New Delhi’s efforts to bring stability to an old conflict zone.
Eleven members of the NSCN(IM), travelling on a hijacked mini-truck in Manipur’s Chandel district, were killed after an encounter with the security forces on March 16. The chain reaction came as expected. Two days later, in apparent retaliation, the outfit kidnapped Chandel’s district collector and security personnel. The NSCN(IM) was also involved in violent clashes with its rival Khaplang faction in both Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district.