Says PM wants solution within 3 months
Kohima, August 16: Nagaland Governor, R N Ravi today said that conclusion of the Indo-Naga peace process should not be delayed any further as all substantive issues between the Naga negotiators and Government of India (GoI) have been resolved.
“All the substantive issues have been resolved and there is nothing left… we (Naga negotiators and GoI) have agreed that with the GoI recognizing the unique history of Nagas the settlement is on the basis of power sharing and peaceful coexistence,” said Ravi.
He was addressing a mammoth gathering of different tribal bodies, civil societies, citizens and legislators of the State at a civic reception at NBCC Convention Centre organized by tribal hohos and civil societies.
Ravi, who is also the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks, said “the dark shadow of long unresolved Naga political issue has cast a shadow on every aspect of Naga peoples’ lives. This dark cloud must go… the shadow must go because our people deserve sunshine.”
Ravi said the rest of the country is moving forward at a fast pace and rest of India buzzing with inventions and enterprises… while the country have become a hub of starters and favourite destination for global investment.
Amidst such progress, the Governor expressed sadness “to see the people of Nagaland craving for basic necessities like a good motor-able road, assured power supply, good education, access to health care and decent employment for youths”.
“It saddens me more as Nagaland is richer in natural resources than many parts of the country while our youths are more talented than many other,” he said
“We have been attempting to resolve the issue for the last 22 years and when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came on the scene, we took a stock of the way the process (political dialogue) was being done and how the process was conducted in the past,” he said.
Ravi said sincere attempt with good intention and earnest effort were made in the past but somehow something was missing. “We found that the process was not inclusive of all Naga armed groups, Naga tribal bodies, Naga civil societies, grassroots leaders, intellectuals, civil citizens and the Naga legislators,” he said.
In this, Ravi asserted that Naga political issue belongs to the Naga people and no organization has exclusive franchise over it.
Ravi said that when PM appointed him as the interlocutor, Modi gave him a mantra that Naga political issue has to be resolved on the principle of equality and mutual respect but with due regard to the contemporary realities.
On this principle, he said, the talks and negotiation have been moving ahead and “we have achieved several landmarks in the past while almost all the Naga armed groups are part of the talks today”.
“I can confidently say that all the substantive issues have been resolved and there is nothing left. We have agreed that with the GoI recognizing the unique history of Nagas the settlement is on the basis of power sharing and peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Stating that few symbolic issues are left, Ravi said “we have offered options and have urged the Naga negotiators to explore the option rather than remaining rigid.”
“There is no political solution if we disregard the existing reality of today, so with due regard let us work out the best, most honourable and dignified solution,” he said.
Ravi also revealed that the Prime Minister after taking over for the second term and before his coming here as Governor, told him that “now we must conclude the peace process… having resolved all the issues we must do it (conclude) within 3 months time”. “We have been negotiating for the last 22 years and in the past five years we have taken quantum of steps by putting all the stakeholders and both sides trying their best and there is no reason why we cannot conclude it,” he said.
“We need to do it because the status quo as it stands today is unbearable to the Naga people,” he said while elaborating that the status quo means that the Naga have to bear the burden of multiple governments, multiple taxations and the period of gun.
“It has choked and suffocated the dreams of Naga youths because every Naga has his/her dream which is the fundamental right of the individual.
The status quo is unbearable for the Naga people and unacceptable for the GoI,” he said.
Accepting that the time is ripe for solution of Naga issue, he said “when the process has matured, delaying it is like delaying a ripe fruit. So we have to conclude and can’t delay it further.”
He also informed that the Centre and Naga negotiators have resolved the issues of integration of Naga areas by agreeing that it should be through a democratic political process.
“We know the sentiments among the neighbouring states,” he said while maintaining that we are not opposed to integration of Naga areas, in fact we have considered and accepted it happily.
“It is the legitimate right of the Naga people to pursue and achieve integration through democratic political process,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the fears of the people that the special provisions of Naga people enshrined under Article 371(A) after what happened in Jammu & Kashmir, he assured “nothing of that sort will happen with Article 371(A)”.
There is no similarity between Articles 370 and 371(A), because 370 was a temporary provision for J&K and there is nothing permanency about it and the clause 3 of the Article under what circumstances the president can delete this Article, he said.
371(A) is a product of over 3 years of negotiation between the people of Nagaland and Government of India and an agreement arrived at between them, he said, adding that is why this is a solemn commitment of the GoI to the Naga people and it is sacred.
“It is not temporary or impermanent as Article 370 is,” he affirmed, adding that any attempt to draw a parallel between the two is either because of misunderstanding or might be mischievous.
He assured the people of Nagaland that “you have absolutely nothing to worry”.
Even in our negotiation that we are doing today, Ravi said “we are trying to bring today something more than what 371(A) says and there is no question of diluting it but strengthen it”.
As the new governor of Nagaland, Ravi assured to give his best to serve the Naga people.
The Governor’s wife, Laxmi Ravi was also present during the civic reception. (Page News Service)