Post Mortem

Naga impasse- the way forward

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/31/2020 1:12:22 PM IST

 The thaw in relations between the GoI and the Naga underground groups commenced from 01 Aug 07 after the Cease Fire Agreement with the NSCN (I-M). Numerous rounds of talks in India and abroad for 18 long years led to signing of the Naga Framework Accord on 03 Aug 2015 between NSCN (I-M), but surprisingly the contents were kept a closely guarded secret from the people. In the five years since signing of the Naga Framework Accord lot of water has flown in the Dhansiri and the Nagaland political scene has changed significantly. Towering rivals, Mr Isaac Swu and Mr SS Khaplang are no more in this World; and Mr Muivah the survivor at Camp Hebron is the prominent relic of the turbulent past of Nagaland. Mr RN Ravi the interlocutor who signed the Naga Framework Accord on behalf of the GoI was appointed the State Governor on 01 Aug 19 after serious differences erupted with the NSCN (I-M) on demands of Pan Naga identity, separate constitution and flag. The dual role of Governor-cum-Interlocutor has bared the intentions of the GoI and his neutrality has become suspect in the eyes off the Nagas, he completes a year in office as the Governor-cum-Interlocutor on 01 Aug 20.

The sway of NSCN (I-M) over the Nagas and the State Govt still persists but after death of Isaac Swu its stature is considerably diminished especially in light of the fact that current supremo Muivah has No locus standi in Nagaland Politics, as integration of Naga inhabited areas is not acceptable to the GoI. The Myanmar based Naga underground groups - the traditional rivals of NSCN (I-M) have also considerably weakened after Khaplang’s death and GoI’s pressure on Myanmarese Govt to crackdown on Naga Insurgents. Tatmadaw operations against the Hemi Nagas in conjunction with the Indian Army operating on the Indian side did not go down well with the Nagas. Some splinter underground groups of little consequence and dubious antecedents have taken birth but enjoy little traction with Nagas. At present the Naga National Public Groups (NNPG), a civil society group led by Mr Kitovi Zhimomi, ex General Secretary of NSCN (K) and a MHA favourite, in his new avatar as a convenor of this group is a front runner in event of an interim solution till consensus is built on contentious issues.

The Nephiu Rio Govt heads an ineffective State administration and  appears to be a entangled in a  web created by its own contradictions. His coalition partner, the BJP has a divided house and a change in leadership is on the cards. The CM has fallen out of favours with the Governor and has severely indicted by him for poor law and order situation and rampant extortion by underground cadres. The Governnor has also sought a declaration by all Government Servants stating details of their relatives in the underground movement. The Covid-19 cases are spreading fast in Nagaland and nearly 1500 persons are infected and the Govt bungled in Quarantine Protocols for Tuensang Denizens. The under development of Eastern Nagaland still remains a sore point and the ENPO is gathering greater support from the people with each passing day. The Rio Government’s action to frequently transfer the Bureaucrats on mass scale is baffling and and aimed to deflect the blame in anticipation.

The main sufferers are the hapless Nagas who are trapped between the heartless state govt ,intransigent NSCN (I-M) and the GoI which views the Naga issue as a Law & Order Problem.The time has now come for the Nagas to unite rising above tribal fault lines and elect a Govt that cares and works  for the Nagas. The GoI should display sincerity and magnanimity in granting the genuine wishes of the Nagas The Nagas have shun violence against SF and displayed commendable patience hoping for decades for return of peace, tranquility and progress. GoI must not further test the patience of the Nagas. Revival of violence in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in the recent past do not augur well for Nagaland. Cease fire, at best should be treated as temporary mechanism and as a prelude for lasting peace but should not be treated as the solution by itself. Justice delayed for Nagas is Justice denied for Nagas!

Colonel Prakash Bhatt (Retd), Ex Addl DIG Assam Rifles

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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