EDITORIAL | When can we expect an early solution to Naga Political Issue?
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK:
If there is one thing that binds the Naga people in the Northeast now more than ever, it is the Naga Peace Accord, as we have already witnessed the eagerness of the people to see this decade-old issue honourably put to rest.
Irrespective of political parties, social organisations, sub-tribes and religions, the Naga Political Talks is perhaps one of the most pertinent issues that pique the interest of the public.
Recently, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio and Opposition leader TR Zeliang had jointly appealed to the Centre and various organisations for an early solution to the Naga political issue.
They gave the joint statement after the two leaders met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on October 20.
What is the Naga Peace Accord?
It is an accord signed on August 3, 2015, by the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) to end the insurgency.
The government’s interlocutor for the peace talks, R. N. Ravi, signed it on behalf of the Government of India, and Lt. Isak Chishi Swu, chairman and Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary signed on behalf of the NSCN in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The “historic” agreement, as termed by PM Modi, was a culmination of over 80 rounds of talks between the government and various stakeholders.
It would have been a perfect Christmas gift for the Naga people had the ultimate solution come up, especially after a series of talks between two sides. But it looks like they will not be reaching a solution soon.
The demand of the NSCN (IM) for a separate flag and constitution seems unlikely as the Government of India is hesitant to grant this wish even as it maintains that talks are on to ensure that both sides reach an “honourable” solution.
The Centre’s interlocutor and Nagaland Governor RN Ravi had frequently hinted that the NSCN (IM)’s demand for separate flag and constitution would not be fulfilled and alleged the outfit of “procrastinating” the process to delay the settlement.
As expected, his statement garnered criticisms from several quarters and demands for changing the interlocutor surfaced.
When announced that Ravi would be appointed as the governor of Nagaland on July 20, 2019, the people of Nagaland were reportedly overjoyed as they hoped that with his joining, their aspiration for an early solution would materialise. However, it was not as easy as many had figured it would be.
Every time the delegations meet, the meetings were always inconclusive, another deadlock in the entire process.
But despite all the hindrances, people remain optimistic. The underlying currents of uncertainty will not sweep away their hopes and aspirations for a peaceful solution to the decades-old insurgency problem in the state.
It’s better not to keep them waiting, which is why the government needs to act fast since the current period is a transition phase.
In the meantime, the government needs to prevent any backlash by engaging with other people and tribes from other states.