GUWAHATI, SEPTEMBER 3: The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM) has said the Nagas are ready to “fight another war” if their political rights and history are not respected and that the Naga issue will remain India’s Achilles heel if the Centre or its interlocutor is “trying to misinterpret” the prevailing situation or act clever.
The August edition of the outfit’s bi-monthly news bulletin, Nagalim Voice, carries this message in an editorial titled “Government of India Oversight: Indo Naga Political Talks” at a time when the peace talks between the Centre and the NSCN (IM), which is in ceasefire since 1997, are said to be floundering amid demands from other Naga groups to seal a final solution.
The NSCN (IM) is still firm on shared sovereignty which would include a separate flag and a separate constitution for the Nagas.
The editorial touches upon the history of the Naga conflict, the various peace measures effected by both the Centre for lasting peace, the signing of the 2015 Framework Agreement, the standoff triggered by R N Ravi, the Centre’s interlocutor for the peace talks and Nagaland Governor, and the consequences it could trigger.
The opening paragraph says since 1932 when the British first arrived in Naga areas, the Nagas have “unwaveringly maintained the right to be independent from any external power, whether it be British or otherwise”.
Attacking Ravi for “losing focus and perspective by throwing a “chance of a lifetime” to politically and respectfully end the longest armed resistance in Southeast Asia, the NSCN (IM) said he was “repeating the same mistakes of history” by not realising that insult and disrespect to the Nagas will not help resolve the Naga issue. The outfit also said that the Centre was losing its vision and focus or it is being misled by Ravi, whose “delinquency and double standards will have huge ramification for a country like India”.
“Nagas have fought long enough and they have survived all the Machiavellian policies from the adversaries. They are still ready to fight another war if their political rights and history are not respected,” it says.
However, if India is keen on solving the political conflict, it must “honour” the Framework Agreement in letter and spirit, exhibit confidence and trust on the Nagas and must stop employing militaristic approach, law and order approach and divide and rule policy.
The editorial ends with the line: “The position of Naga people is clear: respect and honour the political history and rights of the Nagas and we will respect India ten times more.”
The bulletin was released amid mounting demands by several Naga organisations for a solution to the decades-old insurgency at the earliest and also not to change the interlocutor.
The Nagaland Gaonburah Federation, an influential committee of village headmen, in a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, wanted to settle the issue at the earliest by September and not to remove Ravi.
The Working Committee of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which is also part of the peace process, too is not in favour of removing Ravi as it would push back the whole process and wants the Framework Agreement reviewed because it has “erased the golden years of Naga struggle” while preferring the use of Nagaland instead of Nagalim because it is more “inclusive”.
Peace talks observers, however, believe that the earlier efforts did not succeed because the key protagonists were sidelined. “The same mistake should not be repeated this time. Piecemeal pact will not help usher in lasting peace. It has to be inclusive,” one of them said. (Courtesy: TT)