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Framework Agreement ought to be made transparent

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, JULY 18: It was one of those unsolved puzzles of our time.
Why ‘secrecy’ was maintained over the competencies of 2015 and the essential context of the Framework Agreement signed between NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and Interlocutor RN Ravi would always beg a convincing answer.
As things were held close to the chest of only a few, the common people in Nagaland, the media and also the rest of India were only in guessing games.
So, some arrows might have been shot in darkness.
The July 16 statement of the Nagaland parliamentary panel headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said: “The Parliamentary Committee appeals to the negotiating parties to refer to the competencies as reflected in the Framework Agreement of 3rd August 2015 signed between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM to arrive at a mutually acceptable definition of competencies to resolve this contentious issue at the earliest, and bring about a final solution that is honourable, acceptable and inclusive.”
This essentially drives home the point that making the Competencies open in public would help expedite the peace process.
Moreover, we are to appreciate that bringing it see the light of the day is now perhaps also a moral obligation for both the Government of India and the NSCN-IM.
On the other hand, the Agreed Position inked between the Government of India and the umbrella organisation, NNPG, were more transparent. Even the competencies worked out in November 2017 vis-à-vis the Agreed Position was shared with public, media and also reported and at times debated.
The NNPG calls their Status Paper ‘very transparent’.
The introductory lines of the Status Papers say: “New ideas, new thinking and new outlook into the future led to radical changes in the socio-political and socio-economic frontiers.”
The NSCN-IM has been the first set of negotiators. But even after the Framework Agreement was signed in August 2015, there still were delays.
If these ‘delays’ were deliberate on anyone’s part, these have only backfired.
Right from the beginning, PM Modi particularly did not want to go down the memory lane as having done nothing on the Naga issue just as Dr Manmohan Singh’s ten years have been.
So once influential NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chishi Swu expired in 2016, the Centre wanted to deal with a prominent Naga rebel leader from ‘Nagaland State’.
“The need for an inclusive approach and to pave the way for the future of the coming generations was a thought process that the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) had mooted”, says the Status Paper.
Ultimately on November 17, 2017 an Agreed Position was inked between NNPG and the Centre.
Of course, RN Ravi was the architect of this move and N Kitovi Zhimomi has now emerged as a principal stakeholder.
Interestingly, key NNPG leaders have told this Scribe in the past that “during the informal
and official rounds of negotiations with the Working Committee of NNPG, the Government of India never uttered a word about the Framework Agreement with NSCN-IM. No details of the FA were given and there was no condition laid down by the Government of India.”
Hence, NNPG convener Kitovi and also others said, “Matters had to be taken on a clean slate, that made the NNPG to work out an anchor point to be across the table with the Government of India.”
In fact, it is in this context, the Status Paper, says categorically: “The whole spectrum of constitutional and legal position of India from 1951 to 2017 has to be reviewed and the position of Nagas had to be accepted by the Government of India.”