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Mishra has ‘the toughest job’: Missing links Isak Swu and NNC?

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, APRIL 18: In the midst of high profile actions as Centre’s representative AK Mishra reached Nagaland on Monday, one person is perhaps being missed – the ‘Bible Baba’ of Naga insurgency ~ late Isak Chishi Swu.
Though Thuingaleng Muivah has been the de-facto functional chief of the militant group NSCN (IM), even army officers and others among late Swu’s rivals would recall him as more of a ‘Naga philosopher’.
The former chairman of the potent militant group was the unifying factor and an umbilical cord for all concerned people with the ‘state of Nagaland’.
Swu expired in 2016 and certainly his demise makes a big difference in so many ways in the peace process.
When Swu expired, his detractors from other camps had stated that Isak Swu believed in Biblical verse (Mathew 6:33) “seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.
Swu was known for his inclinations towards theology.
Analysts believe that right from the beginning, the Modi-led Government was sincere with the talks process with the Naga groups. Prime Minister Narendra Modi particularly did not want to go down the memory lane as having done nothing just as Dr Manmohan Singh’s 10 years have been.
But the Centre also wanted to deal with a prominent Naga rebel leader from ‘Nagaland State’. Hence, efforts were made to reach out to the groups operating in Nagaland especially after Swu’s demise.
Ultimately on November 17, 2017 an Agreed Position was inked between NNPG and the Centre.
Ravi was the architect of this move and N Kitovi Zhimomi emerged as a principal stakeholder.
Kitovi like Isak Swu is a Sema Naga ~ one of the major tribes in Nagaland that has control over 9-10 Assembly segments in the 60-member Assembly.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s letter to Amit Shah was penned on April 18. It has its significance.
It does point out that Kitovi and his NNPG forum are insisting on early implementation of the pact signed in 2017.
Other than pressing problems faced by the people in general and politicians in particular, there is yet another crucial element.
Left to him, officials indicate, incumbent PM Modi wants to leave a legacy of achievements that he should deliver peace in Northeast India. Delivering peace in the next couple of months would also be rated highly internationally as elsewhere there are fighting and serious troubles from Ukraine to Sri Lanka and from Afghanistan to Myanmar.
There is yet another key facet. While the Naga movement was launched by A Zapu Phizo, an Angami Naga, in the present peace parleys his organisation NNC is hardly in the picture.
Phizo’s aging daughter Adino leads the group.
It would be prudent to reach out to this group and the leadership as well.
Moreover, the NNC represents the broad Tenyimiya sentiment ~ a cultural and linguistic block of several tribes from Kohima, Tsemeniyu, Phek and Dimapur region.
Chief Minister Rio himself belongs to the Angami tribe and is a powerful and eminent Tenyimiya face.
The Government of India has been showing faith in Rio’s leadership for more than one reason.
It would be good if the Tenyimiya factor is also appreciated in the entire game plan, maybe.
Many say leaving the NNC out of the negotiation and reaching out for an agreement would not be advisable in the long run since NNC is regarded as a ‘political institution’.
The Tenyimia comprises 10 fraternal tribes. These are Angami. Chakhesang, Rengma, Zeliangrong, Pochury, Mao, Poumai, Maram, Thangal and Inpui.
They are spread over the contiguous areas of Nagaland, Manipur and also Assam.
Reports suggest Village Elders (GB Federation) had reached out to NNC leadership earlier and got their blessings ‘indirectly’ for any measure that will bring peace. “They will not oppose anything good”, remarked a source.
Centre’s new negotiator Mishra has the toughest job at hand. Does he have anything new?
The peace talks were stalled over the emotive issues of Flag and Constitution. He is perhaps expected to make last minute wrap up efforts.
The NNPG working committee has said earlier this year, “The political negotiations are over and to ensure that provisions of the agreement in respective Naga areas are meticulously and effectively implemented in letter and spirit, all Naga National workers, upon signing the political agreement, must return to their respective ancestral Naga inhabited areas to re-strengthen and forge greater Naga historical and political identity”.

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