Wither Naga Accord? Extension of AFSPA Raises Concerns
Having worked out the basics of by the deadline of 31 October 2019 given by the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, progress on a final Naga accord is eagerly awaited. Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a press release on 31-October, 2019 clarifying that settlement arrived at with Naga groups will be finalized after consulting all stakeholders including States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Apart from the States consultations are ongoing with two Naga negotiating groups- NSCN (I-M) and Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs)
Government of India’s position is, “One Peace Process, One Solution” NSCN-IM demands for a separate flag and constitution appears to be the bone of contention.
Centre reportedly decided to accept demands of the NSCN-IM, but with certain pre-conditions for a separate Constitution and Flag having restricted applicability. Centre agreed to the conditions keeping the greater interest of maintaining peace and harmony in the entire region in mind claim officially unconfirmed reports. Nagas can use their ‘flag’ in pan-Naga Hohos, sports and special events of the Nagas.
Another aspect is regional territorial councils that are acceptable to the Nagas as well as other States in the North East, possibly consultations are ongoing. Extension of special provision under Article 371 (A) to all Naga inhabited areas and in Manipur, Article 371 (C) is likely to be under deliberation. Nagas are demanding separate Regional Territorial Council (RTC) of Manipur and Regional Territorial Council of Arunachal Pradesh.
Integration of armed cadres of the NSCN IM and other groups is another contentious issue that will require sustained consultations.
Extension of Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 in Nagaland by six more months has however raised concerns. Naga Hoho (NH) has questioned what was the necessity to impose “this most unwanted law” when the state has been declared peaceful?
In a press release, NH general secretary, K Elu Ndang, said AFSPA must be repealed if the government of India truly honoured the peace process and a peaceful solution to the “Indo-Naga” political talks.
Meanwhile the people of Nagaland are awaiting a final accord that will end the decades old insurgency and bring peace and stability.