For over two decades, round after round, the negotiations between the Government of India and NSCN IM declared positivity and progress. As the years ran their course, the sun set on the likes of veteran leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Khole Konyak. They succumbed to the ravages of time and returned to dust. Naga people expressed great sense of sorrow and grief as the long serving leaders fell away on the wayside one after the other without fulfilling their cherished dream of an honourable and acceptable political solution.
WC feels that the recent interview of Mr. Th Muivah to a private channel was an opportunity to appreciate fellow Nagas and reveal the up-to date, practical and panoramic view of a political solution that was on the anvil if there was one. On the contrary, once again Naga history and integration issue became the oft repeated topic and ended up accusing NNPGs of being a parallel force propped up by GOI against him. At this juncture any self respecting leader would avoid uttering such nonsensical idea. WC is negotiating with the GOI with the consent and approval of Naga tribal hohos and civil societies. It is bizarre and shocking to know that the narrative of Mr. Muivah has not changed in two decades of negotiations. There is nothing to offer the Nagas except claiming there is better understanding of each other. Clearly something appears not adding up. The initial conditions set for the talks and surging claims of GoI recognising only IM, unique history and political rights of the Nagas etc. have become hollow political claims with no practical substance on the ground.
In three years, the NNPGs Working Committee (WC), on the other hand, having met all tribal hohos, GBs and civil societies, began the political negotiations with the GOI based on the agreed position signed on 17th November 2017, a part of which reads, “The Government of India recognises the historical and political right of the Nagas to self determine their future in consonance with their distinct identity…”.Any Naga with a sane mind, whether a leader or a follower, irrespective of political inclination, would understand that this is a historic document reinforcing the spirit of 1951 Naga plebiscite, relevant today as it would in hundred years. On the basis of this agreed position, the need for Naga integration became a focal point of the negotiations. After much discussions, today, the GOI has acknowledged that integration is a legitimate aspiration of the Naga people and it shall be pursued through democratic political process. This is the pragmatic approach towards having our rights restored.
WC is convinced that the future of young Naga generations is precariously at stake, Nagas cannot effort to be passive in our search for political solution. The world will not wait for a nation or a people who do not know when or how to speak up. Let those afflicted with political dementia stay in their philosophical chambers. Their interpretation of Nagaland has brought enough suffering and misery to Nagas for decades. WC believes the hour has come for the Nagas to seek a political solution that is honorable and acceptable. The GOI cannot remain blind to this reality. It is an insult to Naga history and political right to allow a person or a group to pressure cook Naga history for their own consumption, comfort and gain.
WC, having consulted wide sections of Naga society; the politicians, bureaucrats, the tribal leaders, intellectuals, student leaders, former Naga freedom fighters, constitutional legal experts etc. has had more than fifty rounds of intensive political dialogue with the GOI in nearly two years. It matters little whether Mr. Muivah call it formal or informal. There is commitment. Both entities have understood each other’s position and has touched all aspects of the Indo-Naga conflict and worked on the redressal for enduring peaceful co-existence as two entities.
Today, there is a school of thought within the core IM setup, which do not want political solution between Nagas and the GOI. For them Nagaland is a rice bowl, a huge money spinning industry fulfilling all their personal luxuries unlike their unproductive barren domiciles. They have to harp on sovereignty and immediate physical integration to stay relevant in Nagaland despite GOI’s clear position. There is a simple reason and the idea is, keep the issue boiling, stretch the political negotiations, shout sovereignty and integration, convince the politicians and play electoral politics, offer key assignments to Nagas of Nagaland within the organization, continue vigorous propaganda for solution and then tax the people of Nagaland to skin and bone. Meanwhile, from time to time call Naga tribes, appear on news channels and narrate Naga history, praise past leaders from tribe you are having meeting with, state unique history and situation of the Nagas and claim championship medal. There seems to be a policy to thwart and prolong political solution, denying Nagaland and thousands of Naga youth from pursuing their dreams through political solution. Is their peace process a visa to exploit Nagaland?
In negotiations, contemporary political realities cannot be overlooked. Over the years, frivolous terminologies such as Nagalim, supra-state, Pan Naga Hoho and so on, have destroyed the good relations between Nagas and their neighbours. This is the formula to keep the Nagas interested and Naga neighbours agitated.
The Naga people know how to appreciate the sacrifices of fellow Nagas for national cause but they also recognises the folly of national leaders. Politically conscious people like the Nagas have remained silent and patient for too long, being told each year that solution would be a Christmas gift to Nagas or would arrive in six months.
Portraying NNPGs as a ‘parallel force’ is a cover up to mask the failures of their dialogue. The NNPGs embarked on realistic approach upholding the principles and values of Naga Revolutionary movement. Thus began a systematic process placing on records every aspect of negotiations. In less than two years, 52 rounds of negotiations covered major areas such as political structure, Customary Practices and Procedures, challenges in economic frontiers and deliberations on confidence building measures through a clear understanding between the two entities. Unlike Th. Muivah, the working committee concentrated in negotiating on the issues for the brighter future of the younger generations. NNPGs never hammered on past history about the journey of Nagas to East Pakistan, China and so on.
The political dialogues started with NSCN IM alone for the reason that although a Naga, late SS Khaplang was a Myanmar Citizen. Government of India had expressed its inability to talk with a Naga who was from Burmese side. None should narrate concocted stories to the Naga people. Every time for the past two decade Th. Muvah had been reiterating that GOI has recognized the unique history of the Nagas. Why so far he could not translate the Uniqueness into reality. What is his difficulty in sharing the unique history so recognized and accepted by the government of India to the Naga society?
It is now crystal clear that Naga political process is leading to a logical conclusion between NNPGs and GOI and no one should try to fool and mislead the Naga people anymore. Instead, everyone should come forward with all the strength and courage to arrive at an honourable and acceptable solution.
Media Cell, Working Committee, NNPGs.
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