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CIC upholds govt’s decision not to reveal details of 2015 Naga peace accord

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-05-2017 Mayank Aggarwal

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has upheld the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s decision not to reveal documents related to the 2015 framework agreement on peace with Naga rebels.

The CIC said India’s strategic interests may be prejudicially affected if the documents are released at this juncture.

The CIC decision came on an application filed by Right to Information (RTI) activist Venkatesh Nayak who in September 2015 had sought detailed documents related to the framework agreement signed between the government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, a list of all files including electronic files and emails indicating the subject matter and others. When he was denied the information, he approached the Commission.

In August 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the largest and most influential Naga rebel group, signed the framework accord in an attempt to end a six-decade-old conflict.

“...the Commission is of the view that non-disclosure at this stage gives space to the government to solve a longstanding issue and bring about enduring peace and prosperity. This option is, therefore, more beneficial and is accepted by the Commission,” CIC chief Radha Krishna Mathur said in his order on 15 May.

During the hearing at the Commission, the union home ministry stressed “that a framework agreement is in place, but the final agreement is yet to be arrived at” and “in such a situation, revealing the contents of the framework agreement would adversely impact future discourse with the various stakeholders with whom the government of India is in the process of having talks”.

The Commission observed that the disclosure of the contents of the framework agreement would jeopardize the possibility of a final accord.

“An opportunity to settle the longest insurgency in the north-east region may be lost. If an accord is arrived at, it would promote long term peace and prosperity,” Mathur observed.

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