The office of the Government of India’s (GoI) Representative and Interlocutor for the Naga Peace Talks has come out with a press communique on October 18, 2019 outlining the broad contours of the peace process that was explained to the assembled gathering of invited leaders representing tribe, church and civil society organizations from Nagaland.
As stated in our earlier statement calling on the Government of India to “come out with an open and clear-cut direction on how it intends to sign and conclude the present negotiations”, RN Ravi has cleared some of the doubts and confusion by reiterating the government’s position that there will be only one agreement.
While The Naga Rising appreciates the sincere and determined effort of the Interlocutor to help facilitate early conclusion of the long drawn out peace process, we continue to reiterate our appeal that any solution must be mutual. We believe this is still possible within the stipulated time set out by the GoI.
We continue to appeal to both the Government of India and the Naga negotiators to explore the full range of possibilities towards an honourable solution by exhibiting upmost flexibility and accommodation. The position of the NSCN (IM) on the flag and constitution merits consideration- as highlighted by The Naga Rising earlier, yet the difficulty faced by India must also be respected at this given point in time.
On the other hand, the NSCN (IM) and the 7 NNPGs must not waste any more time and work with those mediating to find their meeting points. The goal should be to converge the parallel talks and conclude it within the stipulated time.
At this critical time Nagas must exhibit political astuteness by taking a middle path to work out a solution that is also acceptable to the Government of India. The longer we wait for a perfect solution, the more complex, improbable and uncertain things will become. We believe that at this juncture Nagas have more to gain than lose in an agreement with India.
The NSCN (IM) should not take the drastic step of deciding on ‘all or nothing’. Its decision, at this difficult time, to accept what has been mutually agreed upon-barring the flag and constitution- will demonstrate magnanimity and statesmanship on its part before the world.
Any agreement reached is, in itself, a step forward. The present agreement should be seen by the Naga people as a start, through a step by step approach towards resolving the complexity of our political issue, which will require more time and effort that can be approached through peaceful and democratic means.
The Naga Risingbelieves that starts are more important than having nothing as it will form the base to begin the process of building and healing our land.
The non-territorial arrangement (Pan-Naga Cultural Body) that is mutually agreed should be the collective focus of the Nagas because we believe our aspiration towards a shared belonging as one people and the building of a future Naga-state will begin from there. The possibilities are endless if all Nagas unite to build on it.
The Pan-Naga Body, where the Naga flag will be located and used (as per the GoI’s position), is in fact a recognition and acknowledgment of Naga identity that transcends physical boundaries or lines.
For the Nagas beyond Nagaland, this is an opportunity to self-govern themselves and politically, the best time for a solution, with BJP governments in the three crucial states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Also, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the peak of his power, The Naga Rising believes that the Government of India will convince Myanmar to agree for the Nagas beyond the international border to be part of the Pan-Naga Cultural Body.
The agreement reached now will be a step closer towards the vision of our founding fathers, who expressed their resolve ‘to be left alone’ and ‘to remain independent.’
This principle as our guiding force should allow us to unitedly approach a given political situation as the current conundrum presents itself before us. Our ability to stand together today would create room for us to take peaceful and democratic resolutions of all pending issues in their own time.
We are in a critical 8-day period of strategic time when the destiny of an entire people rests in the decision we take.
Jesus said, “For where two or three agree together, I am in your midst” (see Matt. 18:19). The Word of God also declares that, “One can chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight” (Deut. 32:30a, MEV). Yes, we are better together.
If we ALL unitedly agree to the peace offer from India, it should mark a new journey to build and heal our land. If we can do this together, it will help us set a political roadmap and a vision for the future. This is the best guarantee for our land, the people, and for our identity as a nation.
Issued in public interest
The Naga Rising
1. Along Longkumer
3. Hukavi T. Yeputhomi
5. Tsukti Longkumer
6. Moie Bonny Konyak
7. Ngukato K. Tsuipu
8. Mar Longkumer
9. Joel Naga
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