Will the Naga issue be stuck in neutral gear
It’as quite an interesting development cropping up between the NSCN-IM and Indian government cease fire peace talks. At one side is the most effective underground organization operating in the entire northeast, one of the oldest with a huge support system from the masses, civil societies, churches under the ‘ Nagaland for Christ’ banner and not to mention, international ties with several countries of Asia and Europe. NSCN (IM) supremo , Th Muivah lovingly and respectfully referred to as Ava-kharar (senior most leader) is not getting any younger, as he is the last of the trio who chiseled the formation of the Naga movement for independence.
One wonders about the so called ‘Framework agreement’ and most says that its just a ‘frame’ and one can put various demands inside, negotiations can go on with the GoI and its different administrative branches. Now, Th Muivah would certainly like to see something fruitful out of the ceasefire negotiations during his lifetime and perhaps all fingers are crossed that it should happen anytime soon. Perhaps, it was very timely that the different factions inclusive of NSCN- Neopao Konyak/Kitovi, NSCN-Reformation extended cease fire till 27 April 2020. NSCN/ K-Khango has also arrived to a fresh cease fire with effect from April 15th,this year with the Ministry of Home Affairs executed by its joint secretary, Satyendra Garg.
The last press communique from the NSCN-IM states in a poetic sense that the hills were cleared by them, the weeds rooted out and paddy is planted, at such time when the rice is to be harvested and enjoy, other stakeholders come in at this timing to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
However with that particular pointed finger, the same statement said that all Nagas need to unite and have their own separate constitution as they will never be under the Union of India, hence with the seeming outlook of , ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ the Ministry of Information and Publication of the NSCN (IM) in their last statement said that despite having differences and factionalism, the Naga national agenda and cry for ‘Kuknalim’ (Long live the land/people) must triumph. The statement also echoed that this time is the ‘last bus’ and all should jump aboard.
At such a crucial timing, the Centre as per a news report has seemed to refuse to give in to the demands which are placed within the Framework agreement and the matter for a separate flag and constitution has been rejected. Above this, the peace-talk would not conclude beyond this year and be no more renewed. Now, what happens next if this is the truth of the present scenario at all .
When a militant groups enters into a ceasefire, the first step would be to keep a balance where if the talks fail, the militant group can take up arms again. Most people know how many weapons are shown in the homecoming ceremonies or how many are actually retained by the militants. Their camps must still be operational, the pseudo-government’s aside from the Home department must have a well-tuned Finance department so that the various administrations of the organization, its demands- must be met. The NSCN (IM) is one of the oldest in the northeast and Avakharar is also getting old. Sometimes, there is enormous pride for this man born in Somdal, Ukhrul and his ability to bring the other communities of Nagaland under his administrative power. The Ao, Angami, Lotha and the unified Sema tribes though unified is led by Th Muivah. He and Khaplang trained the Meitei insurgents in the first place and one has to give credit to the ability of a man, that also having the clout to go out against the Union of India with all its military and financial might.
Now, if the outcome cannot be within the frame of the Framework, we would all like to know who is framing who since 1997? After all these years, Governor RN Ravi has stated that the present progress of the final talks is akin to a started car being stuck in neutral gear.
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha sittings, the National Investigation Agency urged the House that in view of the internal security threats and the operative bases of militants being housed in other countries, the NIA should be given powers to operate in other bordering countries of Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh etc. and for the main purpose of protecting India from terrorist threats. We now have as a national security advisor to the Prime Minister, established strategist and a ‘James Bond’ of India namely Ajit Kumar Doval, a man who has done it all in terms of Intelligence and negotiations, infiltration and credited for dismantling the Mizo movement for Independence, the Khalisthan movement. Doval has been credited for founding the Joint Task Force on Intelligence, Multi Agency Centre and had a decade of experience at the IB. With the recent terror attacks in Indian soil, the national security policy has gone from defense to defense offensive as per the Uri and Balakot strike, this man has been there and done that- it will be very interesting if one can be able to pick his mind regarding the NSCN (IM) ceasefire talks. Now, all eyes are on the finalisation of the shared sovereignty matter but many wrinkles still need to be ironed out. Will the Centre agree to giving a separate constitution and a different flag is the question?