At a time when all Nagas irrespective of tribe, region or political affiliation are eagerly awaiting a peaceful resolution to the Indo-Naga conflict, Nagaland Governor RN Ravi should not undermine and destroy the hard earned peace that has been built over many years of patient dialogue and goodwill between the Government of India and the Naga people. The painstaking political talks have been predicated on the premise that both sides could be partners for a better future.
While the media may independently verify, The Naga Rising quotes a portion of what RN Ravi told a leading newspaper in Nagaland that ”there is only one peace process…we cannot fragment the Naga issue…the ongoing peace process cannot be undermined”. Likewise in his first speech to the people of Nagaland after assuming his duty as Governor, he said the following: ”My earnest endeavour will be to help resolve it at the earliest ensuring utmost honour and dignity to the Naga people”. All these good words seem to have been forgotten.
The ‘spirit’ of the Indo-Naga peace process, which has successfully navigated the churning of Indian politics through the last few decades; the broad and sustained support it has received from several Prime Ministers and elected governments should not be forgotten. As such, Mr. Ravi’s conflict-ridden message on the eve of 58th Nagaland Statehood stands out as reckless and inappropriate.
As a nominated office, the honourable Governor should perform his constitutional role and leave political decisions to the elected leaders. A case in point is Mr. Ravi’s open criticism of what he terms as ‘endless peace process’ has been approached very differently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the signing of the Framework Agreement, PM Modi “complimented” the Naga Political Groups “for maintaining the ceasefire agreement for nearly two decades, with a sense of honour that defines the great Naga people”.
Mr. Ravi’s message and intent invalidates everything that honourable PM Modi has said. The Nagas expect that the ‘sense of honour’ as defined by the Prime Minister should be reciprocated by Mr. Ravi who also happens to be the Interlocutor, a position that should carry great responsibility and foresight.
Using his position as Nagaland Governor Mr. Ravi has been further dividing the Naga people. As someone tasked with the role of dialogue and bringing people together, Mr. Ravi should rise above vested interest and work on the larger goal of a mutually acceptable and honourable solution that has defined the Indo-Naga issue since the beginning.
History should teach us not to repeat the same mistake, especially when it comes to the Indo-Naga issue. After his appointment as Nagaland Governor in 1968, BK Nehru did everything at his command to discredit the Naga cause and the Church-led peace efforts. Mr. Nehru had led the change in government policy that ‘there will be no peace talks between the GoI and the UG Nagas’ and eventually led to the collapse of the 8 year old ceasefire in August 1972 under his watch as Governor. Disunity among the Nagas was also fully exploited to this end.
After 25 years, the Indian establishment realized that the policy of divide and rule and treating the Naga issue as a law and order problem was a failure and, the GoI entered in another ceasefire and political dialogue from 1997 onwards. The incumbent Governor should realise that the Naga problem cannot be solved by sowing division, creating ill will and use of force.
Having been appointed earlier as Naga peace talk Interlocutor, Mr. Ravi owes his present high-ranking position as Governor to the unresolved Naga issue that created much expectation from his dual responsibility. As Interlocutor his role is to solve the Indo-Naga problem that could not be resolved either through the 16-Point Agreement or the Shillong Accord. Otherwise, there is no relevance for RN Ravi as Interlocutor. If Mr. Ravi cannot handle the dual role, he might as well step down as Interlocutor and enjoy his remaining tenure as Governor.
As defined in our vision statement that was released on September 13, 2020, The Naga Rising will oppose “the indiscriminate attempt to undermine the Indo-Naga peace process and undercut the ‘historical and political rights’ of the Naga people.” Having said that, we affirm our support to a negotiated political settlement mutually agreed upon between India and the Nagas.
The Naga Rising