Thursday, February 25, 2021
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Nagas walking on thin ice

I come from a generation that has walked through the raw blood of violence firsthand and witnessed the merciless inhuman atrocities committed by the Indian Army in the extreme against the helpless Naga civilians in the mid-fifties…treated even worse than animals. Therefore when someone, however big or small, casually goes about their responsibility from a safe protected sanctuary, indifferently regretting the collateral damage of the civilian population that their decision will impact…then I have less respect for such human beings without a God given conscience.
As senior citizens we have advocated restraint no matter what the provocation. We have also very unambiguously affirmed like the rest that the Nagas are completely tired and fed up of the excruciating burden of “out of control multiple greed tax” for over half a century imposed with AK 47 by the ‘National Workers’…who have made it their life’s purpose to enjoy the luxuries of affluence in the name of sovereignty at the cost of crippling the economy of the common man called ‘the stakeholders’ in this prolonged Indo-Naga imbroglio. Indeed, the best of us desperately want an early solution….but not at the cost of deliberately and heartlessly putting the common man in harm’s way all over again for no fault of theirs…without exhausting the search for a better acceptable alternative.
Mr. Interlocutor is not completely wrong when he predetermined that the Nagas are incapable of a united voice. But while the voice of a unanimous united voice may not be feasible, he too would surely appreciate that in a Democracy the voice of the majority counts…and the voice of the majority can still be legitimately salvaged even at this stage…if the stakeholders are given the opportunity to be heard with harsh reality being put on the table. It would be criminally wrong for GoI to impatiently take an aggressive action all over again based on the so-called emotionally reckless ‘mandate’ of all the 14 Tribal Apex Hohos of Nagaland present on that fateful day of 18th October 2019 at Hotel Japfu. The simple truth is that a decision such as this will lead to bloodshed without doubt…if the agreement is enacted only with one party without the other. It needs to also be remembered that a painful course of action such as this has a direct ramification with the intimate destiny of the stakeholders. Each President of the respective Tribal Hohos present in this meeting on the 18th October 2019 therefore had an obligation to first seek for the endorsement of his constituent…and the Interlocutor was certainly aware that this was not the scenario here. Each individual “President” of the Apex Tribal Hohos of Nagaland was therefore representing himself because he had not consulted his own Tribesman on the subject. When bullets starts flying with all the stakeholders in the middle of the crossfire that will surely happen…between the Indian Army against the Faction who refuse to sign the final agreement…as explicitly explained and confirmed by the Interlocutor…can these ‘brave’ Presidents of Tribal Hohos guarantee that their civilian population will not get hurt in the shootout and that they will hold themselves accountable should someone get killed…because killing is a foregone conclusion here? I would seriously doubt it! They will probably be the first to run for cover when the cloud bursts!
The Senior Citizens made it clear that for the very first time, I repeat…for the very first time, the GoI, NSCN (IM), 7NNPG Working Group has come out openly and shared the contents of the “Framework Agreement”/”Preamble” and the “Competency Clauses”. Be it the GoI or the Factions, the subject has not been honestly shared with the stakeholders who had been kept in the dark thus far. The stakeholders have had no opportunity to evaluate the sense and nonsense in it all. Mr. Interlocutor clarified in no uncertain terms that the Agreement so signed with the Factions would be an Agreement specifically between the GoI and the Factions concerned…and that the GoI will have to find a way to have the stakeholders on board as well. Does the GoI hope to bring the stakeholders on board by putting them in the middle of crossfire being contemplated should one Faction or the other refuses to sign the agreement? The non-existent level of honest transparency is palpable even in this sector. It is because of such insincerity that the more sensible stakeholders are suggesting for some time relaxation so that the Nagas can come to terms and become a party to the final solution by their wilful participation and endorsement in the proceeding…whether the stakeholders actually sign the document of agreement or not. This necessarily means that the GoI must consider giving an opportunity to the Nagas to enable each Tribe to have a thorough discourse and come back with the decision of the majority on which the GoI can initiate further course of action as deemed fit in an absolutely legitimate way…that even the International Community would acknowledge as a fair deal. After all what does it cost the GoI for a short time extension beyond 31st October 2019 other than gain from it by adopting a legitimate course?
Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd); 3rd Mile Thilixu Village; Dimapur

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