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Indo-Naga issue: TNR for separate Naga flag


Dimapur, September 15: Newly formed Naga organization calling itself ‘The Naga Rising’ has come out in support of a separate Naga flag and constitution towards achieving an honourable solution to the Indo-Naga problem.
“Nagas should be allowed to keep and use their flag,” said the 10-member TNR in a statement issued today.
“As is with the tri-colour, which is a symbol of unity among Indians, the Naga flag continues to invoke pride and resolve among its people.
“The Naga flag is a powerful rallying point and has demonstrated its capacity to bring the Naga communities together. It is our identity and expression of who we are and it should be allowed to be used freely and willingly,” it stated.
To support its position, TNA highlighted ‘contemporary realities of one country two flags’ citing the Tibet flag used by the Tibetan government in exile based in Dharamshala, India; the Sámi flag in Norway, Māori flag in New Zealand and Aboriginal flag of Australia.
TNR also argued that even a Rotary Club, Red Cross society or a political party in India fly their separate flags at functions they conduct. “In fact, political parties in India fly their flags outside their party office especially during campaigning across the length and breadth of the country,” it said.
But in the next line TNR rejected its own argument by stating that the Naga position or status is ‘political’ in nature and should not be compared to an NGO, registered society or a political party registered under the Election Commission of India.
TNR was also of the view that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which reportedly controls the BJP in power at the centre, can understand better the emotion behind the Naga case. “Perhaps, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will understand better the emotion behind the Naga case as it has hailed the use of its own saffron flag. It is no secret that the RSS was never in favour of the tricolor. It preferred the ochre or saffron flag, which it used to salute at their headquarters in Nagpur. According to the RSS, the saffron flag represents “history, tradition and the supreme sacrifices made for the nation” and that it is the “embodiment of all basic elements of our nationhood.” The Nagas are also saying the same thing.”
TNR further came out with some kind of formulation to be arrived to allow the peaceful co-existence of the Indian and Naga flags. “The other thing that can be agreed upon is to have a list of flag days set aside to celebrate certain historical events important for the Nagas,” it said under ‘principles and protocols to fly the Naga flag’.
“Likewise, certain principles and protocols can be mutually agreed upon such as the Naga flag being flown in a way that respects the status of India. And when there is a single flagpole, the Indian tri-colour should fly above the Naga flag to respect its status as the guardian power,” it suggested.
On separate Naga constitution, TNR said there is already a provision in the Indian constitution for Nagaland State under Article 371 (A). “But since the upcoming peace accord is expected to go into more details involving sharing of sovereign powers, pan-Naga body, autonomy provisions etc. there is nothing wrong in allowing for a different document.”
According to TNR, a separate Naga constitution will define the new set of arrangement between India and the Nagas, and will help in providing clarity and purpose to implement the provision of the accord without any dispute and misunderstanding.
“Even political parties like the ruling BJP and Indian National Congress have their own constitution but if India is so sensitive, the Nagas may opt for another term, Basic Law or Yehzabo.
“However, this separate constitution or basic law or Yehzabo cannot be fully derived from the Indian constitution alone but a product of the proposed Indo-Naga peace accord. If at all a peace accord is to be signed with the Naga representatives, it makes more sense to have it documented in a separate Naga constitution since bringing it under the Indian constitution may disturb some of its basic features,” it stated.
Stating that without a give and take approach, negotiations are bound to fail; TNR maintained that Naga political groups have shown pragmatism in their approach with India; and as the bigger entity, India must show tolerance and open-mindedness to accommodate a solution that respects the uniqueness of Naga history and situation.
“India’s great power status will not in any way get diminished by giving recognition to the Naga flag or a separate constitution. …The respective tricolor and Naga flag flying together will be a powerful symbol of reconciliation and a commitment to a shared future, which should be one of the outcomes of the peace accord between India and the Nagas,” it added.
TNR had earlier urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately appoint a ‘Group of Naga Interlocutors’ to work alongside GoI’s interlocutor RN Ravi to mediate for early conclusion of the Indo-Naga peace talks and to help avoid the risk of negotiations breaking down. GoI is yet to respond to their suggestion. (Page News Service)