Gujral Govt could have handled Naga peace process 'better', says Jamir
Source: Nirendra Dev *

Dimapur, September 03 2022: S C Jamir as Chief Minister of Nagaland in 1997 had declined to oblige the then Prime Minister I K Gujral's request and said the first announcement of ceasefire between Indian armed forces and NSCN-IM should be announced by centre.

"It was a sort of informal request.

Late I K Gujral was a longtime friend from Indira Gandhi days.

He called me and asked to make the announcement of ceasefire in July 1997.I said, No," Jamir told this journalist.

He said - "My argument was I do not know details of what all have been discussed and agreed upon between the underground and the Government of India.

So, I told him I say something today and tomorrow they deny; I will be crucified" .

Later, of course Gujral understood Jamir-s point of view and the then Prime Minister made the occouncement in Parliament.

Subsequently Jamir announced and endorsed it at a press conference at Kohima and also announced it through All India Radio, Kohima.

Answering questions, Jamir maintained the then United Front government in the centre "did not do their homework and perhaps did not know how to handle things" .

Even the ground rules sent to the state government for implementation was not properly "signed" .

"Later it was done hurriedly," he recalled answering questions whether the UF regime supported from outside by Congress and CPI-M could have handled the ceasefire and Peace talks matters better.

In fact, the timing was very odd as some international pressure was being built up and I K Gujral government had landed into troubles for differences between DMK and Congress and Gujral himself on the role of LTTE for assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

The then Home Minister Indrajit Gupta of CPI was a senior parliamentarian but lacked experience in administration.

Subsequently, the then Home Secretary Padmanabhaih handled most matters related to Naga peace talks and the senior bureaucrat also managed a post retirement job as Interlocutor for himself under the Vajpayee government.

Mr Jamir said the ceasefire was actually an initiative of the underground leaders and so when it was agreed upon, the Government of India should have handled the entire thing from a position of 'strength' .

In this context, he said the negotiations were being held in foreign countries just because the NSCN-IM leaders insisted about the same.

"Often the Government of India believed and acted innocently on many matters," Jamir opined.

On another matter, Jamir recalled he had told the then Prime Minister (of BJP) Atal Bihari Vajpayee; "....sir, so many rounds of talks took place abroad, but nothing is there.

We are still at dark on what is being discussed" .

To this remark, Jamir said, "Late Shri Vajpayee told me....what to tell you --- Nothing is there" .

"Vajpayee had his poetic style...both of us smiled.

Then I told him, if nothing is there..why should you all allow the talks continue," Jamir recalled.

"Vajpayee understood my point...but he said Mr Jamir, as long as they want to talk...we also said okay, let us talk" .

Jamir further said it was "good" that in 2002 and early 2003, the NSCN-IM agreed to finally come to Delhi to carry forward the dialogue process.

Answering questions, Jamir said all these years and through many rounds of discussions nothing much was progressing.

"One side kept on talking about Naga sovereignty and Nagalim, that is integration.

So, after about 20 years, both NSCN-IM and the centre brought relevant points for the Framework Agreement in 2015," he said.

The former Chief Minister said the agreement was important because it was told later that even Isak Chishi Swu, who was in the ICU, also endorsed the FA.

He said now there is nothing much to be discussed and hence a Solution should be inked at the earliest between Govt of India and two parties, the NSCN-IM and also the NNPG.

* The sender of this news can be contacted at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com .

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