TODAY -

Raising the integration bogey, again : Slippery path ahead
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: October 16 2019 -



Centre not sharing anything on the ongoing political dialogue with the NSCN (IM) to the Government of Manipur.

Naga Hoho again raising the banner of Naga integration or bringing all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit. NSCN (IM) sticking to the demand for a separate Constitution and flag.

These are some of the issues which have been dogging the political dialogue between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India and no one seems to know how the final pact would emerge, but the latest announcement of the Naga Hoho is sure to provoke the CSOs of Manipur and the Government at Imphal as well.

Naga integration has been the call of the NSCN (IM) ever since it inked the ceasefire pact with the Government of India back in 1997 and while numerous theories did the round with regard to this particular demand, the present bone of contention between the NSCN (IM) and New Delhi seems to centre around a separate Constitution and flag and not Naga integration.

Now that the Naga Hoho has reiterated the Naga integration stand, there are distinct possibilities of this point emerging as the centre point again.

To be sure one can expect CSOs of Manipur to come out strongly against the demand of the Naga Hoho and the possibility of the focus shifting from the separate flag and Constitution demand to Naga integration cannot be ruled out at all.

The Government of India has on more than one occasion made it clear that integration is out of the question, for that would affect the States neighbouring Nagaland and this is something which not all would be willing to take a gamble on.

Any accord or final agreement that does not honour the ‘legitimate rights’ of integration, separate flag and separate constitution for the Nagas will not be acceptable, is the stand of the Naga Hoho and there is every possibility that this stand might have been influenced by the position taken up by the NSCN (IM).

The NNPGs on the other hand had earlier stated that their primary concern is the Nagas of Nagaland and the stand echoed by the Naga Hoho may be seen and understood as a bid to rubbish the stand of the NNPGs.

This is where it becomes more and more interesting.

Herein lies the question of how successful the NSCN (IM) has been in taking every section of the Nagas of Nagaland with their primary demands.

Moreover would a final agreement with the NNPGs sans the NSCN (IM) be taken as an all encompassing final pact ?

This is a question which will weigh on the minds of New Delhi and no one would want a half baked resolution.

In other words no one would want to see a repeat of the Shillong Accord of 1975, which was rejected by Thuingaleng Muivah, the late Isak Chisi Swu and the late SS Khaplang.

This is the slippery path that the Centre has to take and this includes not infringing on the interests of the neighbouring States, taking all the stakeholders along and making sure that the NSCN (IM) is not left with the impression that it has been short changed.

Strike a final deal without rubbing anyone the wrong way and this indeed will be the toughest task at hand.



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