Our gullible Nagas political leaders at the helms of governance are still dangerously flirting with surreal conjectures about the CAB…more worried about their immediate political survival alone while indifferently compromising the critical reality that is on the anvil to surreptitiously wipe out the entire Naga identity from within our very own backyard. The helpless fact that the Nagas are already a resource-less begging underdog minority community solely dependent on the ‘hand-outs’ of India in every sense of the word…be it in terms of financial health of the State or in terms of our population equation vis-a-vis the mainland or our religious beliefs…ought to have triggered a sensitive cord of survival within us all as Nagas and take the initiative without having to be prompted. The verdict of the entire population of Nagaland against CAB has been unambiguously registered by their dismal absence of participation in the Republic Day celebration throughout the State…now rightly being followed up by Anti-CAB state-wide bandh on February 11. If this is not enough for the present Government to practically and visibly retract from their earlier questionable stand even after a sham consultation, Our Hon’ble Chief Minister along with his entire Cabinet colleagues ought to take coaching classes from the former Chief Minister as to what may happen if the will of the people is so blatantly ignored.
The whole North Eastern States are ablaze in a sustained agitation against this camouflaged ‘Hindutva Bill’ because of the foreseeable future of eminent demographic displacement, where we eventually become a minority, serving an erstwhile immigrant majority being arbitrarily ‘conferred citizenship’ in our very own ancestral land. Our First generation elders were sensitively apprehensive of such a possibility when they submitted the ‘Megna Carta’ Memorandum to the Simon Commission in 1929. If our illiterate forbearers saw through this possible destabilizing factor in their handicapped time without being prompted, what are the so-called ‘literate Naga political leaders’ of today doing to even carry out a consultation to confirm the right and wrong about CAB? It has only sent out a wrong signal that our present leaders are visionless beings on two legs. This is a disgraceful state of affairs to say the least!
One could even charitably say CAB would not matter if Nagaland was guaranteed to become a ‘sovereign’ Nation…but this is not about to happen in the foreseeable future. The recent statement of Mr. R.N. Ravi, Interlocutor that solution is at hand is the same tomfoolery that he has been parroting ever since August 2015 just to keep the Naga anticipation and hope afloat. He is but a puppet dancing to the tune of his puppeteer capable of hollow promises. Claiming that all Factions are now involved in the talk is a stark misrepresentation of fact… with NNC Accordist group led by Madam Adino and NNC Non-Accordist Group led by Mr. Thenuosilie Keyho still out of the loop. Be that as it may, unless a miracle does happen, it is certain that the BJP Government under Mr. Narinder Modi, as the Prime Minister of India, even with a majority in Parliament, has no political will to dare settle the Indo-Naga issue during his present tenure…especially with the impending Lok Sabha election round the corner. He is already reeling under heavy barrage by the united opposition for all his past false promises and present scams. Pragmatically speaking, Mr. Prime Minister has no pressurised reason to go out of his way to initiate a drastic amendment of the Constitution of India in the Parliament for the sake of a single inconsequential Nagas Lok Sabha seat…because that is all Nagas are worth to the mainland as of now…a solitary seat in Parliament! He will not knowingly dig his own grave dealing with a potent subject such as the Indo-Naga political solution that is likely to bring the whole Opposition Political Parties including all the North Eastern States up in arms against him especially for the fact that he has kept the Framework Agreement in the dark from them all thus far. The dubious Framework Agreement shrouded in secrecy has already destroyed all sensibility within the Naga leadership circle willing to support something that they know nothing about. We now have CAB to additionally contend with. We are stumbling through one folly after another. It can only present a foreboding conclusion that Nagas are indefinitely stuck with the mainland without a real honourable solution to look forward to…once a Coalition Government comes up in the Centre after the Parliamentary election…with a possible new Interlocutor starting the whole exercise from square one all over again. Nagas have missed the bus once again with our egocentric tribalistic disunity. Under the given realistic scenario…CAB will be the final bloody nail to seal the Naga coffin for good.
The fundamental truth lies in the fact that our Almighty God has still not forsaken the Nagas. It is the Nagas who has abandoned our Almighty God with disunity and non-clarity of political vision in every conceivable way with only a focus on retaining political power to make money and more money. We have no transparency in our daily working system and the word ‘accountability’ no longer exists in the Naga lexicon to right the wrongs. Within the prevalent lax operational management norms, it would be erroneous to think that Article 371A/BEFRA/ILP will safeguard the Naga interest… Thanks to Advocate L. Moayanger Imchen, who has appropriately highlighted some of the lacunae concerning Article 371A in his recent write-up. It is a fact that the only time the Nagas tried to legally define the meaning of “ownership and transfer of land and its resources” through Legislation in the Assembly on 26th July 2010 in consonance with Article 371A, caused the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to unilaterally issue an Office Memorandum questioning the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland not being legally empowered to legislate on the subject of regulation and development of mineral oil. Nagas have yet to learn how to use the ‘legal dao’ that the Constitution has provided us. That we are on a sticky wicket even within the already defined parameter of Article 371A does not awaken the Nagas to really want to know what Article 371A means to the mainland. To them it is but a legal joke…it seems. In simple English Article 371A qualifies “transfer of land and its resources” to belong to the Nagas. ‘Below the ground or above the ground’ that the Nagas conclude to be ours has become an issue to GoI. We have still not found it necessary to take this matter to its logical legal conclusion to prove the sanctity of Article 371A. Such is the laxity of our management attitude. The weakness for power and money is determining every perspective decisions being made by our political Leaders…even at the cost of the future of the generations that are to come. So when this is our indifferent reality…there is no point in referring to Article 371A/ BEFRA/ or ILP as a protective shield against citizenship being granted to all the IBIs who are already in Nagaland in their thousands and in fact many of them already registered in the Electoral Roll even before CAB has become an Act. The fact remains that with or without CAB, we are already being overrun by IBIs controlling the vital economic lifeline that we are not even conscious about. Wokha town, as elsewhere, is a glaring example in our hand. The entire business network there is under the control of IBIs with the exception of a few nonentity local business establishments. When this is the scenario even in the absence of CAB, it will become a common feature across the board all over Nagaland when legitimacy is ultimately granted.
There is no denying that ILP could be a definitive machinery to check illegal immigrants. But as things stand even a Bangladeshi dog can casually walk through our Inner-line gate if it has money. ILP is but a pocket money resource of bureaucrats. There is no firm regulatory management system in place. So…we need to take stock of our strength and weaknesses and not simply take umbrage on the existence of rules that are not followed as a way of day to day management. Just take the example of our hypocritical ‘prohibition’ law where the enforcers are the blatant law breakers… starting from the highest level of the CMO down to the enforcing uniformed excise constable zigzagging his way home after performing an ‘excise’ duty. Such managerial laxity will be the doom of the Nagas where CAB is concerned…with or without ILP. Each irresponsible government functionary will supply the nail to nail our Naga coffin. Rather than risk our fate to irresponsible managerial system that the Chief Minister cannot enforce, CAB must be opposed with every fibre in our being. May the bandh on February 11, 2019 be a successful one to finally wake up GoN to act promptly and visibly like the governments of other North Eastern States.
Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Retd), 3rd Mile Thilixu Village; Dimapur.
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