Year-Ender 2020: From COVID to "inconclusive" peace talks, Nagaland has witnessed it all



Nagaland became a focal point of discussion in the year 2020 for many reasons; today let's take a look at some of the key events that became a part of the larger discourse in the state-centre relationship during the last one year.


The Covid-19 pandemic reached the state of Nagaland on 22 May 2020, with its first case being detected on May 25. The positive patient was a returnee from Chennai.

Officially, Nagaland was the last of the North-Eastern states after Sikkim to report COVID-19 positive cases.

As of December 28, 2020, the total confirmed cases in Nagaland has jumped to 11, 917 with 243 active cases, 11,464 recoveries and 69 deaths.

Indo-Naga Political Talks

The year 2020 was full of ups and downs in the political circuit of Nagaland; the decade-old Naga issue became a focal point of discussion in the diplomatic and bureaucratic circle.

The issue of separate flag and constitution between the NSCN (IM) and Government of India (GOI) could not be resolved after repeated talks.

The NSCN-IM (Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland- Isak Muivah) chooses to stand its ground vis-a-vis demand for a separate flag and constitution are concerned and, claimed that these were earlier promised by the centre when the Framework Agreement was signed between the GOI and NSCN on August 3, 2015.

The outfit also accused Nagaland governor and centre's interlocutor, RN Ravi of deleting the keyword from the original document and sharing the modified version with the Naga groups.

The centre, on the other hand, has made it clear that there can be only one flag and constitution within the territory of India.

Ravi had reiterated the same thing during the 57th Nagaland statehood day on December 1.

NSCN-K Breakaway fraction offer for peace talks

An important event of 2020 was when the Niki Sumi-led faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) announced that they are willing to join the peace talks with the Government of India (GOI).

The faction wanted to join the peace accord, and revive the ceasefire with GOI by ‘revoking the earlier decision of unilateral abrogation of the ceasefire in 2015’.

Niki Sumi, the new president of NSCN-K, surrendered with 52 other cadres on December 25 in Phek district of Nagaland.

Issue of underground operatives

The Governor of Nagaland, RN Ravi had on June 16 sent a strong letter to chief minister Neiphiu Rio on the law-and-order situation in the state, prompting the state government to instruct all its employees to self-declare by August 7 whether they have family members or relatives with links to any Naga underground organisation.

The letter also got the Nagaland Police to pull out the crime report in the state during the last five years.

Naga People’s Front (NPF) boycotts sixth session of the 13th Assembly

For the first time in the history of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA), the opposition bench of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) boycotted a day’s session of the assembly in August, as a sign of protest against the government and the speaker for rejecting their proposal to hold a 3-day session to discuss urgent matters pertaining to public interest such as the ‘Indo-Naga Political Issue’, COVID-19 and Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act (SARFAESI ACT).

Ban on Dogmeat

On July 3, the Nagaland cabinet took a major decision to ban dog meat across the state in accordance with an order issued by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO).

The order by the apex animal rights organisation FIAPO had stated, "There shall be no commercial import and trading of dogs, dog market operations and sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked in the state of Nagaland”.

The decision was taken a day after FIAPO ordered Nagaland to put a complete ban on the sale of dog meat.

Following the order, the dog meat traders, who were issued the licence by the Kohima Municipal Corporation (KMC) for commercial trading, challenged the decision in the High Court, for which a decision is pending in the Kohima bench of Guahati High Court.

(Edited by Iban Mawrie and Shankar Kumar Turha)