Modi’s promise for Naga solution takes final step

Modi’s promise for Naga solution takes final step
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, OCT 31 (NPN) | Publish Date: 10/31/2019 12:00:16 PM IST


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have delivered on his promise to solve the Naga political problem within a time frame, after Thursday’s meeting between government of India’s Interlocutor and also governor of Nagaland R.N. Ravi and NSCN (I-M) cleared the decks for inking the agreement expected in due course of time.

It may be pertinent to note that Modi had given the nod for signing of the August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement just a year in his first innings and then in August this year, tasked Ravi with concluding the over 22 long-years of negotiations within three months.

As reported earlier by Nagaland Post, government of India and NSCN (I-M) arrived at a consensus over the demand for a separate Naga national flag and constitution Thursday.

 A senior NSCN (I-M) leader, who was part of the delegation, confirmed to Nagaland Post that at Thursday’s meeting both sides “finalised all contentious issues” and agreed to pursue it through “peaceful political process”.

However, NSCN (I-M) leader added, “We still have to give competencies the final touch for final solution.” Asked whether NSCN (I-M) will sit with WC of NNPGs before signing the final agreement, NSCN (I-M) leader said, “That is not decided yet.”

When Naga solution will take place is still kept under wraps but Thursday’s meeting in New Delhi ended up with both sides agreeing to shelve the demands and thus clear the decks for the expected signing of the agreement to bring solution after over 22 years of talks. 

Highly placed sources informed Nagaland Post that the meeting was tense and lasted for over four hours as both sides stuck to their positions. Government of India refused outright the demand by NSCN (I-M) for inclusion of Naga National flag and constitution in the agreement. However, after “understanding each other’s positions” both sides agreed to a consensus to agree to disagree but leaving open the door for future resolution over the issue. 

Refuting speculations that government of India and NSCN (I-M) have signed the final agreement, sources clarified that the two negotiating parties have only come to an understanding on the contentious issues of flag and constitution. Sources maintained that no agreement was signed on Thursday meeting. Thursday’s positive outcome has now cleared the path for the government of India to bring the two Naga negotiating groups- NSCN (I-M) and Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs)- together in next few weeks to work out modalities so to eventually sign a final agreement.

On the issue of Naga flag and constitution, the WC of NNPGs had earlier agreed to pursue the issue of Naga flag and constitution post-solution through “peaceful political democratic process “.

Ravi had, in an interview to Nagaland Post on October 30, clearly reiterated that demand for separate Naga national flag and constitution was not acceptable to government of India. He had also reiterated that all contentious issues would have to be resolved as there would be no further negotiations after October 31.

Ravi was appointed governor of Nagaland in July this year by prime minister Modi with the task of achieving solution within three months.

Operating under the principle that Naga issue involves all and all Nagas would be involved, Ravi included WC of NNPGs comprising of six Naga Political Groups (NPGs) into the Naga Peace Process in the year 2017. In early part of 2019, he also included the NSCN (K) led by Khango Konyak as the seventh group of WC of NNPGs.

After signing of the Framework Agreement in 2015, the NSCN(I-M) raised the issue of Naga flag and constitution during the past two years and over which both the government of India and NSCN (I-M) could not make any headway. 

This stalemate was disclosed when Ravi for the first time, told Nagaland Post in an interview on July 14, 2019 on the “differing positions” over separate Naga flag and constitution which prevented pursuit of signing the final agreement.

Since then NSCN (I-M) through its MIP has issued several press statements condemning government of India, particularly the Interlocutor, over the approach in handling the group’s demand for separate Naga national flag and constitution.

In order to explore ways to resolve the deadlock, Ravi and NSCN (I-M) negotiators led by Th. Muivah held meetings from October 24 till October 30 which ended inconclusive.

Final solution after consultations with all stakeholders: GoI
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Thursday clarified that before any settlement was arrived at with the Naga groups, all stakeholders including States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh would be duly consulted and their concerns would be taken into consideration.
In a clarification, MHA said it has come to Government’s notice that lots of rumours and misinformation was being spread in media including social media that final Naga settlement has been arrived at and would be announced soon. MHA stated that “This is creating anxiety and concern in some parts of the country”, adding that no credence needed to be given to such rumours and incorrect information.
Rio, Zeliang and Jamir elated
The news of the consensus that was reached on the last and final day of the end of the three-month deadline set by prime minister Narendra Modi to conclude the Naga talks, was received with elation by leaders in Nagaland such as chief minister Neiphiu Rio, opposition leader T.R. Zeliang and former governor and also former chief minister Dr. S.C. Jamir.
In a tweet chief minister Neiphiu Rio congratulated RN Ravi, NSCN (I-M) and the WC, NNPGs for their efforts and sacrifice. He said “It is a historic moment and an occasion of great joy for all Nagas and the nation as a whole. Peace will now pave the way for genuine progress and true nation-building.”
Rio tweeted: “Also, appreciation to the civil societies, mass-based organisations, NGOs, churches & the Naga people for the support & prayers. We praise God Almighty & look forward to a new era for the Naga people,” Rio added.
Opposition Leader, T.R. Zeliang also congratulated Interlocutor RN Ravi, NSCN (I-M) and the 7 NNPGs for arriving at a mutual understanding. 
In his tweet, Zeliang also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home minister Amit Shah for having the resoluteness to solve the Naga issue. “The dream and desire of the Naga people for permanent peace and tranquillity in our land will soon become a reality after positive outcome of today’s meeting,” Zeliang tweeted.
When contacted, Dr. S.C. Jamir, veteran Naga politician and sole surviving member of the Naga People’s Convention (NPC) that signed the historic 16 Point Agreement, that led to creation of Nagaland, said he was elated at the outcome of the prolonged negotiations which will bring the long cherished desires of Nagas for peaceful solution.
 The former governor and also former chief minister praised prime minister Narendra Modi for according top priority to conclude the peace process and bring solution for Nagas. He also lauded the concern of union home minister Amit Shah for the Naga issue. Jamir also expressed gratitude to Ravi for showing immense patience and sensitivity throughout the negotiations.
When contacted by Nagaland Post, deputy chief minister and home minister, Y Patton informed that chief minister, Neiphiu Rio and he will be meeting few Central leaders over the latest development on Naga issue.
Patton who is station in Delhi informed that Rio will arrive Friday from Nagaland.
The deputy chief minister also informed that he along with Nagaland BJP president, Temjen Imna Along were likely to meet Governor of Nagaland, R. N Ravi one of these days.

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