Monday, August 15, 2022

People have spoken

A strong message was sent out at the public rally in Dimapur on August 5 which also came against the backdrop of a growing disenchantment with the unexplained delay in securing solution after over 25 years of prolonged negotiations between the government of India’s Interlocutors and the Naga Political Groups. The Naga public had considered two factors as necessary for highlighting the reasons why they believe that public have to rise to the occasion- the expectations that the Centre will go ahead in announcing its willingness to sign a broad-base agreement to end several decades of unsolved Naga political issue and the suspicions though not groundless, that the ruling UDA was again up to its old game of running with the hare and hunting with the hound. As for the expectations of early solution, it may be recalled that solution appeared visible on the horizon after the government of India’s Interlocutor R.N. Ravi declared on October 23 that all official talks will conclude by October 31,2019. This hasn’t happened and the fate of two agreements- Framework Agreement and Agreed Position- signed between the NPGs and government of India are yet to see the light of day. All the while, the state legislators continued to bask in their self-appointed role as ‘facilitator’ under various fora- Joint Legislature Forum (headed by the Speaker) and then the split by NPF which went its own way to form the Political Affairs Mission (PAM) on August 26,2020. Eventually NPF rejoined the process of facilitation and along with the ruling PDA (NDPP-BJP and Independent legislators) reformed the legislators’ forum as Parliamentary Core Committee on Naga Political Issue on June 11,2021. The CCoNPI as it is called, has been undertaking the same exercise of holding consultative meetings with various CSOs, former parliamentarians, leaders of political parties and the Naga Political Groups. These meetings have seen repetitions of the same resolution-a call on all to unite for solution and urge upon the government of India for early solution by taking forward the “ongoing peace process”. After years of taking Nagas for a ride, the people were hardly convinced that the state government was taking the issue anywhere with the same resolutions passed after every consultative meeting. The cynicism was fueled by the state government ignoring that the government of India’s deadline on official talks. So, the October 16, 2020 consultative meeting convened by the state government, revealed a contradiction with Interlocutor’s declaration that all formal talks have ended on October 31, 2019. The meeting again called on all to “facilitate the peace process and strengthen the ongoing negotiation”. At the rally in Dimapur and also as stated by the organizers, NPAC, delay in arriving at a solution and also competencies discussed, should be made known to the people. The organizers of the rally, NPAC, has made it very clear that Naga public are no longer interested with rhetoric heard since 2003. They want concrete steps to secure solution because for them ‘solution is solution’ as against ‘no solution is solution’. The rally also threw the gauntlet at the government of India to show political will to secure solution otherwise to leave the issue to the public. The continuance of uncertainty is only causing great distress and damage on Naga society as the constitutionally elected government as ‘facilitator’ has used the issue to camouflage the lack of transparency and accountability in the system while perpetrating all kinds of nepotism and corruption and no solution. Certainly no solution has been very costly and damaging for the people.

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