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In remembering Oting, we must lay emphasis on solution

Nagaland News

Unfortunately that is yet to be the public pledge

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 5: It is the solemn duty of every Naga and every Nagaland watcher to recall the Oting massacre with anguish and pain.
Nagas were waiting for a Christmas gift and peace and solution to the decade old insurgency issue. But what came was a great tragedy.
Things have come to a full circle yet again. But what has changed in the last 12 months?
Politicians battling it out with no holds barred have been a hallmark of statehood history. In 2022, there is an added flavour and twist as the demand for carving out a Frontier Nagaland has reached its crescendo.
A section of pseudo-intellectuals and ‘urban Naxals’ may try to drag ‘helpless’ Nitin Gadkari into a row from old files but the fault line was elsewhere. In fact, more than a fault line it had cropped up as statecraft.
The good old Divide and Rule!
In terms of what happened at Oting, this Journalist has stated earlier that perhaps nothing has changed much between 1995 and 2021 or even in 2022.
One needs to talk about restoring the confidence of the people in the Government apparatus vis-à-vis development and also on the use of forces in relation to the Disturbed Area Act. This is true for Nagas in the ENPO region and also in mainstream Nagaland.
The anti-incumbency mood is gradually turning into a hidden volcano. Visit the Whatsapp university for a trailer.
The Naga peace talks are at an advanced stage. But games are still on to further delay the process that began in 1997.
The ENPO politics from Delhi’s Babudom in effect had started around 2010-11 after the mandarins realized that nothing much was moving on peace parleys as the status quo suited some stakeholders, as well as players in the corridors of power in Kohima. The accidental Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in office.
Regionalist doyen Shurhozelie may in 2022 realise some of the follies of his politics but his party and the leadership did not do much to resolve the problem over the years.
They got an opportunity and a long stint in office as Nagaland voters were already disenchanted with the Congress party.
But the golden opportunity was wasted.
The NPF giants were sitting happy to have continued in power. The legacy was systematically passed onto the 2018 created and Ram Madhav-blessed NDPP. Other BJP stalwarts Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah did not interfere much in Nagaland matters. At best things used to reach NSA Ajit Doval and that had given former Governor RN Ravi, a friend of Doval from Kerala cadre days, an edge to handle things.
Had the vexed Naga issue was resolved a decade back, probably the ENPO frustration would not have been so starkas it is today.
Shurhozelie and his friend-turned-rival Neiphiu Rio never seemed to appreciate one fact ~ that solution not only meant end of extortion agony, it also would have ensured enhanced development package for the six districts of the ENPO region.
More importantly, the Disturbed Area Act and The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 could have been handled differently.
Hence the CNTC appeal in December 2021 ~ ‘AFSPA is a killer and Political Solution is a Healer’ was the most relevant thing to have happened. But that somehow did not become a general State-wide pledge.
Shenanigans of Power Politics continued. A sitting Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, was almost handed over a blank cheque ~ provided it was known who will reap the harvest.
Shurhozelie and Rio would have done well to take note that the euphoria that was followed across India in the wake of Modi’s spectacular win in 2014 and prior to that the real fruits of liberalisation of the economy had always eluded Nagaland.
Let’s leave advanced States such as Gujarat or Karnataka, even hilly states such as Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have benefited.
After the recent CSR Conclave, as I interacted with officials and corporate captains in Delhi on their return, some of them pointed out what Nagaland lacks by way of infra and even law and order is made up by the immense mineral wealth, tourism and horticulture potentials.
But the movers and shakers had other plans. Unfortunately, some of them have not changed their mindset.
In August 2022 while interacting with NPF chief Shurhozelie, I got a sense that he realises some of the lapses of yesteryears. He used a powerful phrase, “We will wake up on time.”
A new dawn begins every day, we wake up. It is a natural phenomenon.
But with regard statecraft ~ it will be the biggest lie to claim that well, give us the moon and we can replace the old chaos upside down.
The BJP in Nagaland must also own up its share of utter failure.