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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Imkong cautions against repetition of past agreements

Monday, 23 October 2017 12:09
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Asks NSCN (IM) to be careful before inking agreement

Kohima, October 22: A senior Minister today cautioned that the impending agreement to be signed between Naga undergrounds and Union Government should not be repetition of the past agreements and be at the mercy of the Court.

Speaking to media persons, student activist turned Politician, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Imkong L Imchen said final agreement, which is going to be signed should not repeat the past and be at the mercy of the Court. He was referring to Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India, which gives special privileges to the Naga people but often interpreted by the Court. 

Imchen was also former Home Minister. 

"What is going to be signed should not be at the mercy of the Court," he said. He said third party should not be allowed to interpret the agreed points as it is going to be a political agreement. 

Particularly, he said, National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) should be careful before inking the agreement. 

"The Naga underground leaders who are engaged in the political negotiation with Government of India may not be knowing how a real government is functioning. The Naga People's Convention have negotiated 16 Point Agreement with the Government of India with Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India. These two dimensions-371(A) and 16 Point Agreement are of two in-one. The ironic status today of these two dimensions is both of them were unilaterally made out of context by Government of India," Imchen said.

He said though people talk so much about the 16 Point Agreement and Article 371(A) which is justified also, the Union Government has already done away with both for all practical purposes surreptitiously. "Therefore even today, the Naga negotiating parties should be alert and level headed while conducting the difficult negotiation with the Government of India so that we don't regret in future," he added. 

The Minister said 16 Point Agreement was political agreement and that it should be executed politically and not at the mercy of the court. But he regretted that the Centre has been trying to interpret the agreement through the Court. "The 16 Point Agreement and Article 371(A) should be implemented in letter and spirit," he insisted. Some Clauses of the agreement has been unilaterally abrogated by the Centre and some never implemented which has created apprehension in the minds of the negotiating parties in the current talks, he said.

He said 16 Point Agreement was negotiated by politicians and not by lawyers but the Centre has been interpreting the agreement through court which is not acceptable by the people adding that it is a political language and not the court. 

"Diamond cuts diamond," he added. 

He said if agreements are not implemented then it becomes redundant adding that Article 371(A) has lived at the mercy of the court. 

Imchen cautioned that the Centre might systematically do away with what is going to be signed like that of the past agreements and asked, particularly, the NSCN (IM) to be aware of the inherent dynamics and difficulties. He repeated that Article 371(A) is now only in the papers for all practical purposes and it does not exist. He said NSCN (IM) should know the competency of the Government of India and the state government before signing the final agreement. 

Reacting to a demand for an "honourable and acceptable" solution, including from the state political parties, the minister said agreement was signed to start political negotiation without pre-condition and therefore insisting for "honourable and acceptable" solution is a condition to the talks.

"There are political parties in the state who have been giving conditioned support to the ongoing political talk like promising to support the political settlement if it is (i) honourable, (ii) acceptable to all sections of the people. Politically I am from NPF party. The NPF party has also been giving our support to the ongoing political talk with these two conditions. I also strongly support the NPF party stand even though I really don't understand what is the actual definition of (i) honourable, (ii) acceptable and therefore I call it "conditioned support", he said. 

He said some of his colleagues do not like his language but he is still firm that as a political party they should be clear in their political approach and stand but not in such a ambiguous position like conditioned support. 

"In a way the state politicians, including myself, have misled the Naga under-grounders for having the double tongue, double talk and double standard but never straight nor honest while dealing with the Naga underground personnel/leaders. We always talk goodness of Naga undergrounders in their presence and talk differently in their absence because we dare not speaking the truth," the minister said. 

Imchen said negotiation is not an easy task adding that putting condition has rather made difficult to the negotiating parties. He said before putting the "honourable and acceptable" condition people should first define it. But he said so far no one has ever defined "honourable and acceptable" solution.

He said the then Prime Minister Narishma Rao had announced that negotiation with the NSCN (IM) would be without pre-condition. "Let us talk without conditions. We are supporting the talks conditionally", he said

On solution for Nagas of Nagaland, as demanded by a section of people, the Minister said Nagas of Nagaland have the right to demand for their inclusion in the current political talks adding that they should be taken into confidence. But he said when non-Nagas are also included in the current talks why not all Nagas. 

"Let us widen our scope and take help from every corner, including all Nagas," he added. He also insisted that NSCN (K) be asked to join the negotiation.

"It is assumed that the Naga political issue is about to be concluded, perhaps this could be made possible because of the sincerity and cooperation exhibited by both the negotiating parties besides getting support from various quarters. The engagement of the Naga undergrounds factions besides the NSCN (IM) in the negotiation process is also a positive development. I for one strongly feel that it is time for all Nagas to sink our petty differences and contribute our best understanding and wisdom so that the Naga political issue could be brought about to a negotiated settlement this time round," Imchen said. 

For this the minister was of the view that general elections in the state slated for February next should not be held and let it be lapsed by March 15, thereby necessitating the Union Government to promulgate President's Rule in place of popular government in view of the impending political settlement. 

"Such steps taken will avoid the unnecessary social discord as well as Constitutional propriety, besides helping in the political talks in its processes," he said.

In 1998 also Naga organisations like by the Naga Hoho called for a deferment of state general election to give impetus to the Naga talks but the Centre went ahead with the elections where Congress participated. (Page News Service)


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