Post Mortem

The realities/disputes vis-a vis Naga political solution

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/11/2020 1:03:54 PM IST

 In the 23rd year of political negotiations as for the NSCN (I-M) with the GoI and in the 3rd year as for the WC, NNPGs with the GoI, it is now expected to know the outcome of the negotiations as to whether there can be solution or the negotiations faced roadblock and have become a fiasco. The uncertainty of this nature should not have been lingering, rather the solution should have been here already under the 31st October, 2019 Dateline. Is there such strategy being adopted by any negotiator that it is not by the merit of the issue but by the duration of negotiation on the said issue will convince one another?  I do believe that what issue cannot be resolved between the GoI and the Naga negotiators within the last 20 years can ever be resolved within the next 20 years. Certainly, the ongoing political negotiations cannot remain indefinite, and thus we have just two options. The first option is a solution on time out of the negotiations. By the solution, though it is not sovereignty, somehow the political image of the Nagas is respectably retained. The second option is calling off the negotiations on the ground that the exercises have become futile without meeting point. In the event of the second option, I believe that the means to the end of political negotiations may have to be discontinued. The prevailing ceasefire between the GoI and the Naga negotiators is a means to promote political negotiations will be considered irrelevant and thus removed as and when the patience runs out. In absence of ceasefire between the GoI and the Nagas, no more of such political negotiation can continue with any group. Not to speak of facing such reality but I do not want to even imagine this: The consequences of the fiasco for the Nagas are how to retain 10 Naga National Governments headed by 10 Presidents and 10 Prime Ministers is too burdensome, how to minus 9 Govts. from 10 is too cumbersome and to abandon the movement will place the Nagas in between the devil and the deep sea. I can never undermine the attributes of ceasefire between the GoI and the Nagas followed by political negotiations to the political status of the Nagas thus far. Whereas, under such given circumstance, the most painful outcome will be the Naga political status during pre-fiasco which may have to be reduced to naught post-fiasco. With this apprehension in mind, I continue to harp on that something better is better than nothing.   

Now, who can be duped that the Naga political solution when evolved will not be within the ambit of Indian Constitution after the Naga negotiators having signed the Framework Agreement in 2015 by NSCN (I-M) and the Agreed Position by WC, NNPGs in 2017 with the GoI respectively? Who does not know that the NSCN (I-M)’s agenda of flag and constitution are synonymous with political sovereignty? It is natural for the Nagas to assert for its aspiration for Naga sovereignty and Naga integration. It is a simple matter that constitution and flag are naturally indispensable parts of sovereignty. It is also natural that the Govt. of India made its position clear to the Nagas that the issue of Naga sovereignty is not negotiable and that the Naga integration can be pursued through democratic process post solution. Of late, under the pressure of NSCN (I-M)’s demand for constitution and flag, the GoI has reacted that there can be ‘one nation, one flag and one Constitution’ as published by local papers dated 6.11.2020. It is therefore natural that today we cannot blame one for failure to achieve all our aspirations. Whatever may be the shortfall we are all collectively responsible.  Nevertheless, be it the Naga Nationalist groups or the Naga politicians or the civil organizations, we must not misguide, deceive or cheat one another with selfish intent. Lack of transparency in any business transection of any group will only widen the existing cracks. My understanding of the few political issues and its factual status which are in the limelight presently are:

1. The NSCN (I-M)’s demand for constitution: This has to be read with the FA of 2015. No matter how one may like to confuse the gullible common man, the basic agreement between NSCN (I-M) and GoI was reached with the title ‘Framework Agreement’ on 3rd August, 2015 signed by no other than Lt. Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman and Th. Muivah, Gen. Secy. of NSC of Nagaland and RN Ravi, Representative of GoI as the text was published in local papers by MIP, NSCN (I-M) dated 17.8.2020. The focal point between the two entities is ‘sharing the sovereign power’ as enshrined in the FA. The sovereign power of India lies in its Constitution, and the NSCN (I-M) has agreed to have its share from that sovereign power of India. And it is legal to assert that there cannot be two Constitutions under a sovereign nation juxtaposing to each other, except that a special provision like Art 371 (A) which can be incorporated. In other words, two sovereign Constitutions do not make one sovereign nation. Thus, the Nagas to have sharing of sovereignty of India can at 1best have special legal provision incorporated in the Constitution of India. The most credulous question is, if at all the GoI agrees to let NSCN (I-M) have its constitution, what constitution NSCN (I-M) is talking about? Is NSCN (I-M), in such a situation, contemplating to draft a new democratic constitution which is compatible under Indian democracy? If so, that is fine. Or, is NSCN (I-M) talking about the existing Socialist Yehzabo? In Part V Art 1,3 &4, the earmarked land and forests, the mineral resources and the big rivers and natural lakes will be nationalized and by Art 2, the private ownership of land will be limited in Nagaland. If this constitution is the one NSCN (I-M) is demanding to be legalized for Nagaland, it is never acceptable as it stands against the Naga democratic principles. These provisions in Yehzabo are alien to Naga way of life. It is detrimental to our Naga tradition and culture and therefore not acceptable. If the said Yehzabo is to be the constitution of the Nagas, it will be obviously the perennial source of all discords, division and even violence in the long run. 

2. The Flag: The political flag is the symbol of sovereignty of a nation. The GoI has already reacted that the nation will have only one flag. However, if at all the NSCN (I-M) is capable of convincing the GoI to permit the Nagas to have its political flag, it is well and good since the flag bears no controversy. If the desired status of the flag is not agreeable, it is not necessary to have the flag as an issue. As for using it for cultural purposes, I do believe we are at liberty to use it without seeking permission from anyone.    

 3. Piecemeal Solution: Many Nagas tend to have misapprehension that there is possibility of Nagas getting piecemeal political solution once again. This fear is usually prompted by the stubbornness and reluctance of NSCN (I-M) to have solution without constitution and flag. Yet, in my belief there will be no such piecemeal solution out of the present negotiations. I believe the NSCN (I-M) had submitted its agenda after all it has been engaged in talk with GoI for more than 20 years. We all know that the Working Committee of 7 NNPGs has urged the GoI even to set the signing date for solution. That being the situation, one needs no doubt about the agenda from both the Naga negotiating groups being compiled and comprehensively prepared by the negotiators for solution. Indeed, it is the desire of the Nagas that both the Naga negotiating groups sign the agreement without excuse. Nevertheless, in the event of a party refusing to sign the agreement, the other party which is ready may sign it and by which the political solution will emerge. I strongly believe, whichever party enters into agreement with the GoI will stand for all the Nagas and that agreement will be the inclusivesolution. I also believe that whether the agreement is signed by a single group alone, it will neither fail to embrace the earmarked Naga inhabited areas nor will it reduce the predetermined status of all communities nor can the agreement signed by both the Naga negotiators fetch better dividend. Therefore, I am hoping that once the negotiations are brought to conclusion, there will be wholesome solution for all the Nagas irrespective one party or two parties signing it. If procrastinating the process of solution is found to be the better strategy to have the enhanced political status of the Nagas, we may have to remain patient, if not, the negotiating parties may not prolong and go on postponing the solution unnecessarily like chewing cud.  

Z. Lohe


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