Post Mortem

Possible fall out after settlement based on framework agreement

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/4/2019 12:03:51 PM IST

 The signing of the Framework Agreement on 3rd August 2015 between NSCN (IM) and the GoI has basically fuelled one speculation after another that has confounded and confused the Nagas of Nagaland thoroughly. It is ironical because NSCN (IM) has miserably failed to trust the stakeholders of Nagaland who initiated the National Movement to begin with and on whose behalf they are supposed to be conducting the negotiation with the GoI in the first place. Our Southern Tangkhul brothers, (who only visibly joined the National Movement in 1965 after '1964 Cease Fire' was in place and the worst carnage in Nagaland had reduced), now holds a total and absolute control over the entire NSCN (IM) organization. It appears to be their sacred mission to deliberately keep the rest of the Nagas of Nagaland in the dark...even within their own rank and file perhaps...for reasons best known to them. The onus of responsibility and accountability therefore solely rests with the NSCN (IM) leadership for creating a festering vacuum which has allowed all kinds of speculative conclusions from the little droplets of information that has been surfacing during this period since 2015. Nagas of matter where you are and who you are...this is a reality check. Spend some quality time to ponder over it fairly and honestly.

Now that NDA Government has absolute commanding majority in Parliament, there is a glimmering possibility for an early settlement of the Indo-Naga political dialogue one way or the other ...perhaps generally based on the Framework Agreement of 3rd August 2015? The additional Agreement signed by the 6 Working Groups (WG) on November 18, 2017 without much fanfare may perhaps only be seen as covering the spill over parameters that the Framework Agreement had otherwise overlooked...with the principle issues generally remaining the same perhaps. The only significance of this agreement with the 6 WG lies in the fact that GoI finally acknowledged the existence of other Factions in the fray who needed to be brought on board even if it had to be against the will of NSCN (IM).  According to Mr. Ravi the Interlocutor of GoI and now the Governor of Nagaland, there will be no piecemeal settlement but a comprehensive one signed by both NSCN (IM) and now  7 NNPG Working Group including NSCN (K). Sounds simple enough...but is it? This is a very crucial time for the Nagas of Nagaland to try and comprehend the complexities that will invariably raise its ugly head at ground zero after the final settlement and must be prepared to resolutely deal with it. 

In as far as the Prime Minister of India and the Interlocutor is concerned; they have made it sufficiently clear over and over again that 'Sovereignty' and 'Integration' is no longer on the negotiating table. NSCN (IM) has however been playing around with face-saving words like "Shared Sovereignty", "Naga Yezhabo", "Naga flag" etc. but has elementarily failed to mention the ground reality that all of these symbolic words so crafted to confuse the masses would still essentially remain "within the Indian Constitution" in one form or the other. For all practical purpose therefore, if the geographical boundaries of all the North Eastern States including Nagaland remains the same after the final settlement...WE HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM in our plate. The bottom-line however will be that each North Eastern State will function independently of each other. In other words it also clearly means that all Non-Indigenous Nagas from beyond the boundary of the State of Nagaland would have absolutely no say in the internal affairs of Nagaland as a separate entity...unlike the present system of chronic destabilizing interference in all matters of day to day governance of a constitutionally established Government. Our greatest problem would perhaps begin from our very own political top brass in the corridor of power not recognising this elementary twist of reality and not being able to steadfastly uphold the legitimate rights of the Nagas of Nagaland as would have been expected of them politically and constitutionally...considering the fact that many of them have maintained clandestine relationship with the top echelon of NSCN (IM) over the years, promptly answering to the call of Hebron and 'signing the attendance register at Hebron'...(Just a figurative way of expression).

Let us look at a few immediate scenarios that may likely happen in the absence of physical Integration of all the Naga territories into Nagaland:

1. Apart from all the other substantive issues, the first primary subject that will definitely emerge is on the issue of rehabilitation of the 'National Workers'. It goes without saying as a matter of principle that each State must and should take full responsibility to rehabilitate their respective National Workers within the respective States they belong. It means Nagaland should only be responsible to rehabilitate the cadre belonging to the State of Nagaland. Nagaland cannot be expected to continue weathering the inexplicable and excruciating tortures in the hands of those who do not belong to the State of Nagaland. This unpalatable continuity will definitely present itself if Nagas of Nagaland are made to carry the extra luggage of other States. It is quite possible that the key leadership within NSCN (IM), who mostly hail from Manipur, will press the Government of India to rehabilitate them in the Reserved Forest of Intangki where the designated camp of Hebron already exists. This could very well be one of the objective reason for which NSCN (IM) is unwilling to share the content of the Framework Agreement with the Nagas of Nagaland. God only knows how many more of such hidden agendas are woven into the Framework Agreement that may not necessarily serve the interest of the Nagas of Nagaland well. It is here that the GoI must clearly understand that the Nagas in general jealously hold their land as the ultimate expression of their very existence and survival. The palpable danger of reality also lies in the fact that the 'National Workers' have habitually and effectively used their AK 47 to mercilessly raise taxes in the name of sovereignty for the past several decades...and many of the top echelons have already become multi-millionaire tycoons running mega national and international businesses from the sweat and toil of the common man in Nagaland. This is a fact staring at our faces! The people would gladly applaud the rehabilitation of the cadres but by converting those into a Para Military force and being independently deployed within the State again will only recreate the nightmare that the people at large have already suffered for so long. Old habits die hard...with all the illegitimate connections built over the years still remaining intact and in place. The most rational solution therefore would be to deploy them outside Nagaland for a reasonable period for them to acclimatise themselves to a civilised way of lawful existence and at the same time also give the State Government a breathing space to get back on rail where the real rule of law that has thus far eluded Nagaland can stabilise and become functional in the absence of threat and fear...for a change. 

2. Intangki Reserved Forest is not a 'no-man's-land' outside Nagaland. Politically and economically speaking, Intangki forest and its adjoining foothill area is strategically important for the Nagas of Nagaland in the future and therefore should never be compromised. Nagas can ill afford being outmanoeuvred on this score under cover of Naga political solution especially if geographical integration is not a part of the deal. The extensive encroachment after the establishment of Hebron HQ and the zealous effort to discourage any other Naga encroachers within the vicinity of Intangki Forest tells its own story of intent of NSCN (IM) in the pipeline. What should solidly be understood is that our population will continue to increase year after year but not our land.

3. This brings us to the issue of Pan Naga Hoho or Pan Naga Cultural Organization that surfaced sometime back wherein NSCN (IM) had painted the picture of this Organization being a statutory body with Legislative, Financial and Administrative authority. It is unlikely that the GoI will permit another statutory authority overriding the constitutionally established Government. On the other hand GoI will have no real reason to disallow the establishment of such a purely integrated Cultural Organisation. If so the next plausible scenario that could emerge is for such an Organisation being established at Hebron with Mr. Th. Muivah as the Chairman perhaps. 

Nagaland will then have to contend with a new social order of being flooded with Cultural population most likely from South of the border who will have a wide range of untold influence within the political landscape of Nagaland. Nagas of Nagaland have not made sacrifices beyond their calling for decades to instead be deprived of additional loss of territory in the form of Intangki becoming a neutral zone for the establishment of the HQ of Pan Naga Cultural Organization or the Para Military rehabilitees from everywhere with the possible demographical displacement in the aftermath. 

Finally, NSCN (M) will be required to explain the logical relevance of their concept of "Shared sovereignty", "Naga Yezhabo", "Naga Flag" etc. in the absence of "integration"...that they seem to have already compromised. Pan Naga Hoho without integration is definitely not an answer that can be appreciated by the Nagas of Nagaland at their cost.

Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd); 3rd Mile Thilixu Village; Dimapur.

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