It can be said that there is none who doesn’t want or talk Naga solution. In other words, every stake holder to the Naga problem wants Naga solution and talks about it always.
However the dynamics between the stakeholders, particularly NSCN(IM), NNPGs and NTC shows something else.
Recently, thousands of “Naga national workers” of the NSCN(IM) from Nagaland state gathered in Dimapur on August 26 and a coordination meeting was held making a “solemn declaration” for a “unified Nagalim”.
According to the NSCN(IM), “it was a historic moment today when nearly 7000 NSCN members from 16 regions of “Nagaland state, both civil and army” gathered at Agri Expo, Dimapur, Nagaland under the agenda, “Reaffirming of ‘One people, one nation’”.
The NSCN(IM), in a statement, said that this coordination meeting of the NSCN members from “Nagaland State” was necessitated as many divisive elements/groups are mouth louding for Naga solution only for “Nagaland state” and ready to forego the “Naga National Flag and Constitution” in the name of Naga solution. This is tantamount to selling out the “Naga National identity as stoutly defended by our forefathers”.
Significantly, this is against the national principle of “one people one nation” that was laid down by our great Naga freedom fighters, the NSCN(IM) statement asserted.
According to the NSCN (IM), in the background of “this treacherous turn of development, Naga National Workers from Nagaland state were compelled to deliberate on the situation in order to save the Naga nation”.
Chairman of the NSCN (IM) Ino Qhehezu Tuccu, in his speech said, “Nagas are one wherever they are one common goal, one issue.” He also made a pointed response to the cry of the public for the delay of Naga solution, saying, “We cannot give away our rights for the sake of Naga solution and we can never compromise the Nagas’ rights”.
Notably, at the end of the coordination meeting, the Naga national workers from Nagaland state comprising sixteen (16) regions adopted five resolutions for a “unified Nagalim”.
“We do acknowledge the inalienable political foundation laid down by the founding leaders on the basis of the Naga Plebiscite of May 16, 1951, and further, re-affirm the principle and commitment of ‘one people, one nation”, declared the first resolution.
The second resolution under the “Solemn Declaration” stated, “We reject any kind of divisive and repressive policies perpetrated upon the Nagas by the adversaries and their collaborators on the basis of the arbitrary administrative boundaries”.
“We firmly believe, profess and stand by the Framework Agreement signed on the 3rd August, 2015 for an early honourable and acceptable solution as the two sides have already agreed to work out the details on the competencies”, the third resolution reaafirmed.
The fourth resolution stated that any solution that disregards historical and political rights of the Nagas by repeating the act of another Naga peoples Convention (NPC) and imposing its will upon us is not acceptable.
Finally, the coordination meeting declared, “As necessitated by the situation, the house does reiterate its stand by the decision of the National Assembly held on 31st May, 2022, to uphold and protect Nagas unique history and National principle at any cost under the leadership of Chairman Ino Q. Tuccu, Ino Tongmeth Wangnao and General Secretary Ino Th. Muivah.”
Earlier, the NSCN IM) on August 21, 2022 also said that under no circumstances it would forego the demand for a separate flag and Yehzabo’ (constitution) to achieve a final solution to the vexed Naga political issue.
Moreover, the Government of India has also been holding a parallel peace talk on the Naga problem with Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) comprising seven organisations since 2017.
However, the final solution is yet to see the light of the day mainly because of the unwillingness of the Government of India to accept the NSCN (IM)’s persistent demand for a separate flag and constitution.
Time and again the NSCN (IM) has taken the resolute stand that it shall never deviate from the Naga national principle at any cost, NSCN (IM) said in the statement issued on August 21.
Significantly, seeking an early solution to the Naga political issue, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) drew the attention of the Government of India to the prevailing situation in Nagaland, saying the inordinate delay in finding a political solution to the Naga issue has become the bane of the miseries of the common man in the state.
“The general public in Nagaland have been the ultimate victim of the unabated and multiple illegal taxations, all kinds of suppressive and anti-people activities of the selfish authorities and the armed elements alike under the signed ceasefires during the last 25 years that have virtually destroyed everything both in public and private sectors,” the NTC said in a press statement issued by its media cell on August 29, 2022.
It said the worst victims are the educated youth and the tens of thousands of school dropouts.
The NTC said Nagaland, the second oldest state in Northeast India, has gone backward by 25 years in terms of progress and prosperity as proved by the progress of the other nine years younger states in the region which have developed to become quotable model states in the country.
Asking why this stagnation and backwardness despite being funded lavishly by the Union government, the NTC reasoned that the unscrupulous elements have transformed the state into their “private goldmines”, particularly all through these 25 years of political negotiations.
“These elements, both state authorities and armed elements, have taken undue advantages on the gullible general public and their facilities with vengeance. Thus, Nagaland was made to be the safest haven for the exploiters in India,” the NTC statement charged.
According to the NTC, they have been vocal for the deliverance of Nagaland from “total perishment” and added that it was aware that the sole remedial measure for the existing ailment of Nagaland is the Naga political solution.
It expressed apprehension that the consequences of the further delay of solution or the fiasco will be disastrous.
The Naga Tribes Council said it is “badly perturbed” by the thick cloud of uncertainties being cast over the fate of the political negotiations between the government of India and the two groups of the Naga political negotiators – NSCN (IM) and the working committee of seven Naga National Political Groups or NNPGs – despite the peace process being in its 25th year.
“And as for the WC, 7 NNPGs, the negotiation began in October, 2017 and signed the Agreed Position with the GoI on the 17.11.2017 and now it is in its 5th year. Against this backdrop, though the GoI may or may not consider it to be a serious concern, the quarter of a century ‘peace process’ has immense toll on the life of the citizens in Nagaland”, said NTC.
NTC recalled that NSCN (I-M) entered into a ceasefire pact with the government of India in 1997 followed by the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 and the armed political outfit had also already observed the Silver Jubilee year of the ceasefire in 2022.
The NTC urged the Government of India to resolve the issue at the earliest without inhibition.
More importantly, the NTC assured that the people are ever ready to have the solution and also ever prepared to handle should there be any consequences.
On the other hand, the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) have said that the Government of India must be more forthcoming to find a solution to the decades-old Naga problem, which it claimed is more important than the state election due next year.
“It is time for the Government of India to be forthcoming,” the NNPGs said on August 26 adding the narrative is being manipulated from political solution to the problem to the electoral narrative.
“GoI representatives and the inner circle of Nagaland’s elected representatives are saying one thing one day and doing the opposite the next day, which is playing havoc with the sentiments of the Naga people,” the NNPG said.
Interestingly, lauding the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts, the NNPG said that under his leadership the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015. The Working Committee of the NNPG was officially invited to begin political negotiations by signing an agreement on November 17, 2017.
All entities involved in the matter had concluded talks on October 31, 2019, it said.
However, it is said that the persistent demand of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, which has been holding talks for the solution with the Government of India for the past 25 years since 1997, for a separate flag, constitution of Nagas and integration of Naga-inhabited areas of the region has delayed the final Naga solution.
From this recent changing context of the Naga problem, it is apparent that Naga national workers of the NSCN (IM) from the Nagaland State on the one; and the NNPGs and the Naga Tribes Council (NTC) of the Nagaland State on the other have diametrically divergent dynamics to the Naga political solution.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics