TODAY -

Peace sells but who's buying it ?
Source: The Sangai Express / Courtesy : Tehelka

Imphal, November 04 2012: After secret parleys with the Government, Th Muivah will meet other rebel outfits to push for a peace deal.

But will they let him dictate the agenda? Avalok Langer reports
.

NAGALAND IS buzzing with a sense of anticipation that a solution to the six-decade-long Indo-Naga political dispute is within reach.

The sentiment was given a boost when National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM leaders Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Swu announced in Dimapur last week that a deal could be reached as early as March next year.

However, having held talks with the Government of India (GoI) in isolation and secrecy, the biggest question is, will the solution which will, in all probability, be only for the British-created State of Nagaland that will act as a political umbrella for all Nagas and the leadership of Muivah, a Thankul Naga from Manipur, be accepted ? .

The problem stems from the fact that the NSCN(IM) has not involved the other groups in the negotiations, keeping their dialogue a secret.

What compounds the secrecy is that the allegiance to the groups is along tribal lines.

Some tribes support the IM, while others back the Naga National Council (NNC), Kitovi-Khole and so on; the IM alone doesn't have the Naga mandate.



The key players all asserting their legitimacy in the Indo-Naga political issue
The key players all asserting their legitimacy in the Indo-Naga political issue


"The NSCN(IM) leaders treat Naga sovereignty as if it is their private property.

They don't want to share power and position, not realising that no single group has a monopoly over the Naga nation," says Father Abraham Lotha, a Naga intellectual.

"The IM leadership has always said, 'We will take it to the Naga people and their decision will be ultimate.' The problem is that the IM has not taken the proceedings of any negotiations with the GoI to the Naga people.

The Naga public have not been given their due respect and place, nor have their democratic rights been respected.

What will the people decide if they don't know on what point to decide?" .

While the NSCN (IM) leaders are trying to meet other groups on their present visit, a disconnect stemming from a lack of information has left the faction sequestered.

"The biggest problem the GoI is facing is what to do with Muivah.

He may bring a solution and from what I have gathered from my sources in Delhi, it will be for Nagaland State," says Daniel*, a member of NSCN(Kitovi-Khole) .

"But given that he is from Manipur, the people will never accept his leadership.

The GoI will have to create space for him in Manipur" .

Michael*, a Naga author who has travelled extensively across all Naga areas (in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal, Nagaland and Myanmar), agrees, "In my opinion, 95 percent of Nagas will not accept Muivah's leadership.

Many victims of the IM's political anti-NNC purges are itching to get their revenge on him for killing over 3,000 Nagas in pursuit of his political ambitions" .

NSCN(IM)

The leadership is holding meetings with different groups to ensure they have popular support for the solution.

While absolute sovereignty seems out of the question, a political sovereignty that doesn't interfere with India's territorial integrity seems to be on the cards.

Having opposed Nagaland's Statehood and the Shillong Accord, the NSCN (IM) and others have pushed for sovereignty, causing misery to the local populace.

So, it becomes difficult for any group to go in for a settlement short of complete sovereignty without facing a backlash.

OVER THE years, sovereignty has progressively redefined itself as an alternative arrangement from a Jammu & Kashmir-like status to the one enjoyed by Bhutan.

So, when The Indian Express recently announced that the NSCN(IM) had accepted the Indian Constitution, there was a wave of public criticism, with the general consensus being, "Why has the NSCN(IM) fought for 40 years only to accept what Nagaland already enjoys?" The report resulted in a quick clarification from the IM, but the truth is, no one knows what the broad outlines of the solution are.

The NSCN(IM) would not only be concerned about a public backlash, but they would also be carefully calculating the reactions of other groups who are opportunistically waiting to ridicule IM and project themselves as the real deal.

Over the past few months, different groups have been making moves to secure their future.

After the June 2011 split in NSCN(K), where the chairman SS Khaplang, a Burmese Naga who had originally teamed up with Muivah and Swu when they broke away from the NNC, was 'impeached' by Kitovi Zhimomi and Gen Khole Konyak, Khaplang has seemingly shifted his focus solely onto Myanmar, making him "irrelevant" to the Indo-Naga talks.

According to sources, he recently signed a seven-point agreement with the Myanmar Government, which ensures an unconditional ceasefire and the withdrawal of the army from all 11 Naga districts in Myanmar, which will now be policed and administered by Khaplang.

However, having secured his base in Myanmar, Khaplang will now play spoilsport on the Indian side of the border.

"Despite having announced his support for the ongoing talks and non-interference, the NSCN(K) is continuing to push into Arunachal and eastern Nagaland.

They won't allow a final solution to materialise.

They continue to provide a safe haven to Manipuri and Assamese underground groups to destabilise the region," says a source.

Having impeached Khaplang, Kitovi and Khole have been working to establish themselves as a force to reckon with.

From the start, they had broken away from the idea of integration of all Naga areas in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal and Myanmar into 'Nagalim' (greater Nagaland) and spoken only of a solution for the Nagaland State.

They have endorsed Khaplang's moves in Myanmar and are also supporting the growing demand for an alternative arrangement in Manipur.

The hope is that Muivah will get his political space in Manipur, while Khaplang remains in Myanmar and the Nagas of Nagaland create their own political structure.

They have already started the groundwork to get popular support before they propose an alternative solution to the GoI.

NSCN(K)

Khaplang has already established his writ in the Naga areas of Myanmar.

As of now, he will wait and watch, but he is eager to hold on to Tirap and Changlang in Arunachal, something that has the Arunachal Government worried.

"The different factions are too full of themselves; they suffer from opportunism and one-upmanship.

No results delivered, of course," laments Father Abraham.

"All the underground factions want to control Dimapur, the land of milk and honey.

Meanwhile, extortion is rampant; they all take money that belongs to the people" .

Twice in the past two months, members of the Joint Legislature Forum, a collective representing all 60 MLAs of Nagaland cutting across party lines, made their way to New Delhi to assert their willingness to resign and make way for an interim Government as part of the final solution.

"The 2013 election will happen because both the GoI and NSCN(IM) are not ready for a solution," says Abong*, a researcher.

"The political parties are pushing for an early solution and when it falls through, they will say, 'We did our best.

We are committed but the underground isn't ready', and thereby derive maximum mileage from the situation" .

On the other hand, having signed a ceasefire, the GoI has been playing a waiting game.

"Muivah, Swu and Khaplang are all in their late 80s.They want to secure something concrete in their lifetime so that they are immortalised and the next generation has something to build on," says a senior intelligence officer, hinting that if they die, the movement will disintegrate.

What the GoI doesn't realise is that the next generation of the Naga underground is much better trained and educated.

The NSCN(IM) has sent many of their political wonks abroad to be trained in governance.

Given that Muivah and Swu have not been in Nagaland since the 1970s, it is the next tier of leadership that has built the organisation on the ground.

Khaplang has already established a secure base in Myanmar and his next generation will be much more aggressive and violent.

While a solution draws closer, many questions remain unanswered, especially the one on sovereignty.

While Indian sovereignty is defined in terms of Westphalian and functional sovereignty, in Nagaland, sovereignty resides in the village council.

Naga democracy, similar to the Greek city States, is a direct democracy.

"If India really wants a solution, they should agree to give the Nagas sovereignty.

Since the GoI looks at sovereignty as functional sovereignty whereas among the Nagas, it is a way of life, both systems can coexist.

It is just a question of semantics and India embracing her federal structure," says Abong.

Whatever the solution and whoever implements it, an interim Government will have to be formed first.

No matter what anyone says, the NSCN(IM) cannot be discounted as they are the ones in the driver's seat; they will be a part of the interim Government.

Otherwise, the solution will not hold and the state will slip into violence.

But what happens when the newly created system goes in for elections ? .

NSCN(KK)

It is working on creating a larger political base within the State.

They strongly feel that Nagas from Nagaland should implement the political solution and integration will happen once the Nagas have established themselves.

"With the solution, a plan for disarmament is a must," says Father Abraham.

"In Nagaland, guns define power, so who will be willing to give up their arms ? But this is an issue that needs to be brought up.

When the solution comes, it will be imposed as it has not been discussed with the people and the NSCN(IM) doesn't have the complete mandate of the people.

They can't survive without arms" .

Another factor is that the groups don't trust each other, nor do they trust the GoI.

If the NSCN(IM) and NSCN(KK) disarm, the door will be open for the Khaplang faction to push in and take over.

This creates a Catch-22 situation; there cannot be a lasting solution or peace without disarmament, but given the trust deficit, disarmament will lead to the loss of realistic deterrence and thereby cause more violence.

A committee similar to the UN committee set up in Nepal to rehabilitate and disarm the Maoists could be an option.

It is suggested that the Indian Army will absorb a few thousand cadres and a separate Naga army will stand guard, but this remains conjecture.

Over the next few months, the NSCN(IM) will have to work closely with the people of Nagaland as well as other underground groups to ensure that the solution they bring will be accepted.

And the GoI will have to convince Manipur, Nagaland and Assam to create a special status for the Naga areas within their States (the Chief Ministers of Manipur and Arunachal have already been approached) if they want the solution to hold and allow India to develop the Northeast and actively open up the region for trade with Myanmar.

AS IT stands today, sovereignty in its historical sense and the integration of all Naga-dominated areas into one political unit is not an option.

However, given the flexibility of the Indian Constitution and its Article 371 A, which gives Nagaland a special status ensuring that its land and natural resources cannot be touched by the Centre, their cultural and historical systems take precedence (many people don't go to the police or court, rather get their justice from tribal and village councils).

So, a formal recognition of Naga aspirations will go a long way without changing much on the ground.

While the Centre has reasons to be worried about the impact in J&K of giving Nagas 'sovereignty', in truth, each problem has to be dealt with on its own merits.

After years of conflict, if New Delhi wants to develop the region and prepare them for trade as a part of the Look East policy, peace and progress are the need of the hour.

* Names changed to protect identities . Avalok Langer is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.

avalok@tehelka.com
.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




SPORTS - 05, NOV 2012
LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • 13 August @HichamYaicham Pat #1 :: Gallery
  • 75th Manipur Independence Day observation
  • Goal of ensuring every child is born HIV-free
  • An Ode to Youth :: Poem
  • International Youth Day & my Environment
  • Moirang INA Martyrs Memorial campaign #2
  • Tricolour - Some significant facts
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Indomitable spirit showcased by forefathers
  • Smuggling drugs via Manipur & drug cartels
  • 13 August observed by CSOs :: Gallery
  • 13 August observed @ Bengaluru :: Gallery
  • The good news in a bad world
  • 3rd National Lok Adalat for year, 2022
  • Organ Donation: Seven common questions
  • To Love You :: Poem
  • Jhulon Festival: Nupee Pala #1 :: Gallery
  • Read all about 13th August day significance
  • Report released : 'One District, One Crop'
  • Comment on ADC Bill
  • 'BHEEM' - Breastfeeding to Harness...
  • Moirang INA Martyrs Memorial campaign #1
  • 'Har Ghar Tiranga' with Ex-Serviceman
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • HAC members under Govt, public scrutiny
  • Tearing apart the idea of Manipur?
  • Houses @ Thalon, Tamenglong #1 :: Gallery
  • Cattle crossing Sekmai River :: Gallery
  • Resilient students: KEDO boys crack HSLC
  • Why people impacted by climate disasters...
  • 1000 Cr disbursed to farmers in Meghalaya
  • India Innovation Centre for Graphene
  • Employees doubling up as social media warrior
  • Only the unfortunate get caught?
  • 1st session: 12th Manipur Assembly
  • The beauty in random acts of kindness
  • Beauty :: Poem
  • 'Survival of Meetei Vs privilege of few'
  • Briefing on National Lok Adalat at Lamphel
  • Economic blockade is temporarily suspended
  • Fissures grow as indigenes stare at future
  • Raising the ST banner again
  • Leima Jagoi @Thangjing Haraoba :: Gallery
  • The ATSUM blockade
  • World's Indigenous Peoples Day at Leibi
  • World Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • 'Denounce agreement signed with State Govt'
  • Integrated crop management in Manipur
  • Fuel outlets, traders feasting on blockade
  • Omitting blockade: Clever play of words
  • Martial Art @Shirui Festival 2022 :: Gallery
  • Local coordinated action firewall HIV response
  • Mahua of MP on sale
  • Drug Awareness campaign at Ningthoukhong
  • The emptied :: Poem
  • The other younger version in you
  • Economic blockade, acts of arson tension
  • Busting drug manufacturing unit
  • Kangla Nongpok Torban #1 :: Gallery
  • Understanding Hill Areas Committee & ADC Bill
  • 'Release the arrested Tribal student leaders'
  • Unloved :: Poem
  • Eco-system & its economic evaluation #2
  • Neem for hair care during monsoon
  • Shutting down internet to quell protests
  • Suspending mobile data services
  • Pi Thadoi performed @JNMDA #1 :: Gallery
  • WABA | World Breastfeeding Week 2022
  • Figuring out real value of thing is key to living
  • "Tribe" in India: shrouded in uncertainty #3
  • We cannot #endAIDS if we depend on North
  • NDA to get its nominee into Upa Rashtrapati
  • Indo-Naga Talks (2012-) :: News Timeline
  • Tarao Harvest Fest @ Chandel #5 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 August : Govt of Manipur
  • Conversion of Jhum fields for sedentary agri
  • National Aquifer Mapping Programme
  • NEP : Preparing for a knowledge economy
  • Govt move to put curb on new villages
  • HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021
  • Media protest against NIA [4 Aug] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 August : Govt of Manipur
  • The untold story of Koubru Mountain
  • UNAIDS data paint a grim picture of HIV
  • 'Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan' at MU
  • Water approach to solving water scarcity
  • Environmental Activist Anish #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 August : Govt of Manipur
  • First rain :: Poem
  • Eco-system & its economic evaluation #1
  • My first colour film roll
  • House debates ADC Bill after protest threat
  • Ideas from the man from Ukhrul AC
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #2 : Gallery
  • Online class : Interpretation
  • Acid test for Amit Shah & Neiphiu Rio
  • Nonage :: Poem
  • HIV care is essential, but not enough...
  • Fish based integrated farming system #2
  • The memories of my business school
  • Govt desperate to reopen IMFL sale outlets
  • Prohibition in force since 1991!
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar border) #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 August : Govt of Manipur
  • Post for Project Associate at MU
  • "Tribe" in India: shrouded in uncertainty #2
  • Why is status of daughters not changing...
  • Animal Farm (In the Context of Imphal City)
  • ..with a pinch of salt & enjoy the humour
  • Sportspersons shine as state grapples ...
  • Call for ADC Bill, NRC: Studying the whys
  • Seasonal food items @ Ema Keithel : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 July : Govt of Manipur
  • How will children living with HIV grow up ...
  • Trafficking laws: to curb modern slavery
  • Pieces :: Poem
  • Drinkwell: Making safe water accessible
  • Tokyo to Birmingham: Hailing the Golden Girl
  • Infrastructure must to fuel Act East Policy
  • Aribam Syam Sharma :: Biography
  • Mirabai Chanu: gold @ Commonwealth Game
  • Petitions to Assembly for public grievances
  • Impact of science on society deliberated
  • 'Reinvent Northeast' initiative launched
  • Skin fasting for refreshed skin
  • NDPP-BJP Alliance for Nagaland Elections
  • Survey report of Tupul landslide
  • August Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • COVID-19 Status 29 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Propose: Dada Saheb Phalka to Aribam Syam
  • Indigenous peoples lead to #endAIDS
  • World Hepatitis Day
  • 'Education abroad' by Stars of Northeast
  • Tigers, their survival is in our hands
  • Condition of road testifies cash-strapped state
  • Give more teeth to IMC call
  • Phuba Thapham, Senapati Dist. #2 : Gallery
  • Pu Neilienthang Telien : IAS MN-2013
  • Fish based integrated farming system #1
  • Lies :: Poem
  • Gaidinliu Vihar inaugurated at Tamenglong
  • Chatham Saw Mill - Asia's oldest & largest
  • Rosy surrender policy enticing armed outfit
  • Need to look beyond the academics
  • Pi- Thadoi :: A synopsis of the Play
  • COVID-19 Status 27 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Fixture for Durand Cup Trophies 2022
  • "Tribe" in India: shrouded in uncertainty #1
  • VUCA Plus in Manipur
  • Ukhrul observed Bijili Mahotsav & Ujala Diwas
  • CM unveils the Durand Cup Trophies
  • Performance of Government schools
  • Peaceful session in Assembly as tension...
  • Leima Jagoi by Transgender #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Marangching: could it be a wake-up call ?
  • AIDS: turning adversities into stepping stones
  • Fr. Joseph Kachiramattam: a Positive Aura
  • Dairy farming: A means of sustainable income
  • Spotlight back on Lhoukhosei Zou
  • Law makers must to curb drug scourge
  • Basanta Raas @ Govindajee Temple : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga American Foundation: 2023 Conference
  • Where fish are no longer forced to climb tree
  • Wholesale & retail price for 19 items revised
  • Tourism potentials of border pillars
  • The Fathomless Pain :: Poem
  • The poser: 'Kyam Pharaba Ngashidi'
  • Modern devices must to tackle drug menace
  • Pathetic Imphal-Jiribam Road #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Poppy/ganja plantation and Christianity
  • People living with HIV demand medicine
  • Apple benefit for skin
  • President Droupadi Murmu is the first tribal
  • Yearning for justice as encounters declines
  • The freebies put up for all to see
  • Meghachandra Kongbam & Manipuri Cinema
  • COVID-19 Status 23 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #3: Gallery
  • The flesh profiteth nothing
  • 5 days Skill Training through Photography
  • Career through Skill Development
  • Don Bosco University adds new courses
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Legend of Lord Koubru & Liangmai princess
  • Pandemic talks resume amidst corporate ...
  • Nationwide hackathon for developers
  • The elasticity of love
  • Raj Bhavan to Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • Laying siege on highways to air grievances
  • Kabui Jagoi @Nongshaba #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Bhavamochani- Image of Manipuri dance form
  • Rooftop rainwater harvesting for water supply
  • Remains :: Poem
  • 'Let thy food be thy medicine'
  • What is the stand of Imphal ?
  • Used vehicles flooding into state inevitable
  • 13th Foundation Day EEVFAM #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Predicament of NH-202 construction in Ukhrul
  • Weeding out Congress Grass from Imphal
  • 'Out Of The Box' concludes in Agartala
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphelpat
  • Making a beeline for private schools
  • ..State to justify double engine narrative
  • Environmental Activist Anish #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Overpopulation, an Asset or a Curse
  • NPF re-organization of Peren Division
  • Rev Joseph Mittathany Vision for Manipur
  • Chanakya IAS Academy launches at Jorhat
  • Announced on Jul 6, actualised on Jul 18
  • Loktak clean-up: Scapegoating soft targets
  • Tribute to Meira Paibis 2004 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 July : Govt of Manipur
  • The fourth wave of pandemic
  • Unparliamentary expressions not words
  • Kharchi Monsoon Festival of Tripura
  • MicroEnsure : Democratizing Insurance
  • Lessons to learn from Mizoram
  • Frauds feasting on pathetic higher education
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba @Konung :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Epidemiology of breast cancer in Manipur
  • Solidarity Meet in support of Sri Lanka
  • Plastic mulching for vegetable production
  • The savour of one desire :: Poem
  • IM under scanner of Nagaland politicians
  • Call of 'Nagas of Nagaland'
  • Shang-gi Chaminnaba @Andro #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Memorandum to PM : Enlist Meetei in ST
  • The Abandoned Village :: Poem
  • 94th ICAR Foundation day at CCpur
  • Demography as a Career Choice
  • Routine childhood immunization back on track
  • Anti-Repression Day #1 :: Gallery
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lam Thokpa #5 :: Gallery
  • Late Most Rev. Joseph Mittathany
  • 13th Foundation Day EEVFAM #1 : Gallery
  • Kang Chingba at Konung #3 : Gallery
  • Kang Khichri @Bamon Leikai :: Gallery
  • HSLC 2022 : List Of Top 25 Rank Holders
  • HSLC Result 2022 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC Result 2022 : Subject Topper
  • HSLC Result 2022 : Compartmental
  • HSLC Result 2022 : Full Listing
  • HSLC Result 2022 : pass % : Private
  • HSLC Result 2022 : pass %: Aided
  • HSLC Result 2022 : pass %: Govt
  • Environmental Activist Anish Ahmed
  • Landslide at Tupul [Jun 30] #2 : Gallery
  • Landslide at Tupul [Jun 30] #1 : Gallery
  • 21st Great June Uprising #2 : Gallery
  • Padmashree Award Moirangthem Muktamani
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download