TODAY -

'Supra State Body' likely Christmas gift for the Nagas !
Source: The Sangai Express / Sujit Chakraborty / Courtesy Seven Sisters Post /

Delhi & Dimapur, November 13 2011: After more than half a century of protracted conflict , the Indian Government is close to offering a "Christmas gift" for the Naga people � a final settlement that the 1975 Shillong Accord promised to work towards, but could not deliver.

The negotiations between the Indian Government and the National Socialist Council of Nagali (Issac-Muivah faction) is now in its final stages, and Seven Sisters Post has access to all its many details .

The final settlement envisages a "special federal relationship" between India and Nagaland and creation of a "Supra-state body" for the Nagas to "preserve, protect and promote their cultural, social and customary practices" .

The offer to create a pan-Naga 'Supra State Body ', instead of the "Greater Nagalim" demanded by the NSCN , has been touted by Indian negotiators as the "second best option for the Naga people" .

The "Greater Nagalim" that would involve merger of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh with the State of Nagaland is likely to provoke huge resistance in these States.



The map of Nagalim says it all and demand for Naga integration
The map of Nagalim says it all and demand for Naga integration


So Delhi is offering to create the " Supra State Body" , to which the legal authority and decision-making power of the Naga populated areas of Manipur , Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will be formally transferred.

This, the Indian officials say, is a recognition of the "distinct identity" of the Nagas, and will surely merit a major Constitutional amendment.

"The proposed SUPRA-STATE body will oversee the cultural, traditional and other aspects of Naga life inside Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

They will also ensure that nobody interferes with the lifestyle and dignity of the Naga people.

But they will not have the power to oversee the security aspect of the Naga inhabited areas," a top Home Ministry official said.

He said law and order and police will "entirely be the call of the concerned State Governments" but the Supra-state body will advise the concerned State agencies on the implementation of different development projects in the Naga areas.

But it is not yet clear whether the three concerned States, all run by India's ruling Congress party, have been briefed about this new experiment and how they have reacted to it.

But in both Manipur and Assam, and possibly also in Arunachal Pradesh, there is likely to be considerable resistance to the "Supra State Body" proposal.

Inclusion of any part of these States in the "Supra State Body" will be seen as slicing away something they hold dear .

Congress Chief Ministers like Ibobi Singh or Tarun Gogoi will have to worry about how the Opposition in their States can play up the territory issue � specially after the kind of reactions one has seen over the land-swap deal with Bangladesh that involves a mere few thousand acres.

They may also like to seize the chance of playing saviour to their own ethnic communities that constitute the core of their State's demography � all to perpetuate their position at the helm.

The NSCN, though, has already started extensive interaction with their constituents and "fraternal organizations" to figure out their reactions to the concept of the " Supra State Body" to the Naga people � a task that is proving to be less than easy.

So if the NSCN and the Indian Government cannot agree on the exact nature of powers for this "Supra State Body" there could be an obvious delay and the intended "Christmas gift" for the Nagas may have to wait until another Christmas.

In the interest of maintaining the exclusivity of this obviously huge newsbreak, Seven Sisters Post has so far refrained from seeking reactions of the Chief Ministers of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh or the Opposition parties there.

But so far there is no indication that the three Congress Chief Ministers � of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur � have been told about the "Supra State Body" proposal to solve the Naga problem.

After this newsbreak, we anticipate their reactions but there is no point anticipating them .

We will report them once we have them.

There could be many a hurdle in implementing the " Supra State Body" proposal even if the NSCN and the Indian Government finally write it into the Accord � but if it finally comes into being, the "Supra State Body" will turn out to be a far-reaching Constitutional experiment with major implications for India's body polity.

It is an arrangement that will seek to retain the Naga-inhabited areas within the States of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh but linking them to the State of Nagaland for ensuring the cultural unity of the Nagas and giving them a sense of cohesiveness.

(Courtesy Seven Sisters Post) .


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