Fellow Nagas…remember…that there were over 40-50 ‘responsible intellectuals’ representing either themselves or different Naga forums, handpicked by NSCN (IM), to be present in this meeting at Hebron on 21st September 2019. Each one of them heard exactly what I heard. Correct me if I am wrong for thinking that each one of them present in that meeting owes it to the Nagas at large to honestly and responsibly place facts on the table to facilitate others to gain a fair realistic picture of our circumstance…because this is a very crucial time for Nagas to know exactly where we stand. On my part, I have publically made it known in print media what my perception has been…right or wrong…qualifying what I have heard and have also candidly stated that “I too am equally confused at this stage” of what transpired that day. It would be appropriate for at least a few present in this meeting to affirm the facts…and help the Nagas to think on an even keel. To my mind there are serious conflicting gray areas needing clarification. I ran through the first part of my narrative with a general overview but a closer analytical look at the specific issues raised therein seems necessary and therefore at the cost of seeming repetitive let’s take a hard second look of what was officially said again on 21 September 2019 by NSCN (IM):
(1) I have made it sufficiently clear that if we are talking about real “Shared Sovereignty” with the GoI, the Nagas ought not to have any direct concern about the Indian Parliament at all. Yet CC talks about having enhanced representation of Naga MPs in both Houses in the Indian Parliament. Further the CC also talks of 2/3 majority in the Indian Parliament being required to amend the ‘Competency Clauses’ which is being highlighted by NSCN (IM) to be outside the Indian Constitution as a separate “Yezabo” on the principle of unique history and therefore “Shared Sovereignty”….which also requires 2/3 majority in the Tatar Hoho (Naga Parliament) for such amendment to be effected. Common sense would dictate that the Indian Parliament cannot exercise any power or jurisdiction over any Articles/Clauses of competencies that are not a part of the Indian Constitution. Does this not qualify as a confusion needing clarification?
(2) The very concept that “the State of Nagaland will cease to exist” to be replaced by “Peoples Government of Nagaland” that will have governance covering all Naga inhabited areas, sounds rather absurd when the very subject of “Integration” is not part of the final deal. Meanwhile Nagas of Nagaland is expected to believe that due democratic process of ‘integration’ will happen in 3/4/5 years time and therefore must keep its gate open for all Nagas from everywhere else to enjoy the same benefits, rights and privileges as the Nagas of Nagaland until integration happens? Can NSCN (IM) guarantee that integration WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN IN 3/4/5 YEARS that the 16 Point Agreement had also visualised a long time ago…yet never happened? As a Naga of Nagaland, I hopefully believe that this is a sentiment commonly shared by all Nagas of Nagaland that the State of Nagaland cannot “Cease to exist” just like that without integration, just because the NSCN (IM) arbitrarily dictates it so…with the help of the GoI that has generally paid no attention or respect for the opinion of the real Naga stakeholders. Nagas of Nagaland has not shouldered the excruciating burdens of multiple ‘out of control’ taxation of the National Workers for over half a century to lose control over what little they already have. Therefore, as inhospitable as it may sound…Nagaland cannot be converted into a ‘free for all zone’ on a pretext of a loosely conjectured ‘Nationhood’ in order that all Nagas living outside the present State of Nagaland may enjoy equal privileges as the Nagas of Nagaland in anticipation of integration that is unlikely to happen…now or ever. “Integration” must precede the “People’s Government of Nagaland”, which would be more realistically acceptable….not before. In other words, one would dare say that the Nagas of Nagaland will never allow ‘the State of Nagaland to cease to exist’ without integration being confirmed first. The very idea of dual privilege being enjoyed by other Naga brothers having their “Autonomous Territorial Councils” in their own respective sectors with full financial, legislative, executive and judiciary authority and yet also have their share of infringement within the State of Nagaland ‘that will cease to exist’ is unpalatable to say the least. It also now explains why NSCN (IM) has made it their committed agenda to oppose RIIN from being implemented in Nagaland.
(3) The other very disconcerting concept of NSCN (IM) of creating another supra “Statuary” body called the PAN NAGA HOHO covering all Naga areas which, among other matters of cultural integration, will also have “advisory authority over Education and Development matters”(as per their CC) over the legally established statuary “Peoples Government of Nagaland” sounds equally atrocious! In effect it would mean that the “Peoples Government of Nagaland”, presumably a statuary government, will be subservient to Pan Naga Hoho that will be represented by all Nagas from everywhere else dictating terms in a Nagaland on issues of education and development. The CC also says that the powers and functions of “Naga Hoho will be worked out in due course by this body” cannot be acceptable to the Nagas of Nagaland. The powers and functions of Pan Naga Hoho which is being espoused to have independent financial status funded by the GoI (again as per CC of NSCN (IM) has to be made clear before the final solution is inked! Nagas of Nagaland cannot imagine or casually accept having two “Statuary” authorities functioning within the same boundary of governance sans integration in a “Non-existing State of Nagaland”.
(4) Over the years I have often unambiguously stated with all due respects to fairness that without ‘integration’ no matter what be the sacrifices made by personalities like the Ato Kilonser Mr. Th. Muivah and his kindred folks from South of the border, they would technically have no place nor acceptance within the State boundary of Nagaland. Now the picture is beginning to emerge a little clearer…with a “Statutory” Pan Naga Hoho having an independent financial authority funded by the GoI and to exercise undisclosed powers and advisory functions (to be worked out by the body in due course) over another Statutory ‘People’s Government of Nagaland’ in a non-existent State of Nagaland, governing over all Naga inhabited areas, (as their CC visualises)….not only explains as much as solving the technical snag that I had otherwise been referring to…as a crafty ploy to circumvent what otherwise is naturally unacceptable. This is a space being created and legitimised in a ‘free for all non-existent Nagaland’ to continue ‘their’ domination over the Nagas of Nagaland. The Nagas of Nagaland needs to urgently exercise their minds and decide whether this is palatable or not before the three months’ dateline is crossed!
(5) The other aspect of what is being proposed by NSCN (IM) in their CC is that Nagas will have only two political parties, barring all other Indian political parties. Fair enough on a shallow face value of it. What follows thereafter may not necessarily be really comfortable. NSCN (IM)’s CC talks about re-organising NSCN through a process to become one of the two recognised political parties allowable. One would presume that their Socialistic (Communistic) ideology in the similar pattern of China’s ‘Red Book” will become one of the parties to be imposed and recognised as a legitimate Political Party. This too doesn’t sound like good news…a ‘Communist Nagalim’ for Christ sounds rather hypocritical and out of tune.
In reiteration to my earlier shared opinion, NSCN (IM) has a lot of explaining to do concerning their concept of “Shared Sovereignty” that appears to rather be too ‘dependently entangled’ within the Indian Constitution as of now…without they wanting to openly admit it. I fully endorse the view of elder brother Niketu Iralu that it is also necessarily imperative for NSCN (IM) to ‘honestly tell the Naga people not only what they have been saying to the GoI, but also what GoI has been saying to them’…so that the Nagas of Nagaland can confidently support the solution that appears honourable to them. At the end of the day an honest approach of dealing with one another becomes a fundamental pre-requisite for any honourable solution that all Nagas can comfortably appreciate and applaud together without reservation.
Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd)
Upper Forest Colony,
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