Naga group slams PM Modi
Counterclaim - "Indian system went out of the way to accommodate NSCN-IM"

Source: Nirendra Dev *

New Delhi, September 20 2022: The central government officials have earlier said that the issues of Naga Flag and Constitution were never raised by NSCN-IM prior to the 2015 Framework Agreement and was added on only as an 'afterthought' .

The fairness of the system and on the part of Govt of India was not only that the militant group was given 'scope' to discuss anything and everything under the sky and even "not necessarily within the frame of Indian constitution".

Sources point out it was the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, who allowed that the talks be held without any pre-condition.

The NSCN-IM was given more than 80 rounds of meetings.

Even its demand for replacing R N Ravi as interlocutor and Governor was entertained in 2020, the source said adding, "Now, the NSCN-IM says Ravi's offers were better than new emissary A K Mishra" .

The official stand is that the Government of India and that way the country and the official system went "out of the way to accommodate this group" .

On the other hand, the pro-Solution NNPG (an umbrella organisation of seven outfits) is also mounting pressure on the centre to expedite the peace process and to ink the final peace pact at the earliest.

The assembly elections are due in Nagaland by February-March 2023.During the 2018 polls, BJP and the NDPP-BJP coalition had promised 'Election for Solution' and hence the Modi-Amit Shah duo is also feeling the heat of unhappiness of Naga voters.

Moreover, the 25 years of peace process has been marred in Nagaland with huge extortion demands from various groups.

NPF leader K Azo says - "Nagas are fed up with extortion" and this issue figured prominently during the Sept 12 meeting with Shah in presence of Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and other senior officials.

The apex Naga People's Action Committee (NPAC) floated earlier this year by civil societies also favours an early solution.

Theja Therie convener NPAC says, "The NSCN-IM should read between the lines that the Naga people are fed up and hence the wish of the people ought to be respected by both the NSCN(IM) and the centre" .

Sources insisted on Monday evening that the peace talks are on track and the meeting will definitely take place on a positive note on Tuesday, Sept 21 .

But the edit of the NSCN-IM mouthorgan still says: "The unifying principle of One People One Nation symbolized by the God given Naga Nation Flag is non-negotiable in the name of Naga political solution" .

If it's Take it or Leave it moment in the peace process that began in 1997, things are really at crossroads.

The centre has ordered tightening of security in about six-seven Tangkhul Naga tribe-dominated villages in the Ukhrul district of Manipur.

The NSCN-IM top leaders including the likes of Thuingaleng Muivah and V S Atem all are Tangkhuls residing mostly in the hilly region of Manipur.

About two months back, the NNPG had accused NSCN-IM of being 'outsiders' to the present state of Nagaland and trying to dictate terms to other tribes in Nagaland.

However, on Sept 14, NSCN-IM and NNPG leaders at the instance of a social platform the Forum for Naga Reconciliation ((FNR) met at an undisclosed location near Dimapur and pledged to resolve all "outstanding issues amongst us" .

Skepticism is also like a mother.

It's only problem is that the offsprings are Ms Arrogance and Mr Stubborn.

You do not agree to 'change' even at the height of hopes.

Negativity being the most suitable groom around! .

Just as the stage is set for a crucial round of talks between the NSCN-IM and the centre on Tuesday, Sept 21, the militant organisation says PM Modi's "....beautifully framed words still remain hollow" .

In its Editorial in September issue of the organisation mouthpiece "Nagalim Voice", the NSCN (IM) said seven years ago when Modi took the initiative to supervise the high profile Framework Agreement signing ceremony on August 3, 2015 at his residence in New Delhi it did generate much hype and hopes.

"He (Modi) took pride in announcing to all political leaders who matter that he has solved the longest insurgency movement in Southeast Asia", the Editorial said.

Quoting the Prime Minister's speech, wherein he said the August 3, 2015 will be inscribed in the pages of history with golden letters, the NSCN (IM) stated, "Twnety five years of Indo-Naga political talks and 7 years of Framework Agreement (FA) is a long period of endurance and commitment exhibited by Naga people for peaceful settlement of Naga issue" .

Further quoting Modi as saying, "Six-seven decades is a prolonged time period; you must have been through numerous hardships, and the wounds must be deep", the NSCN (IM) says in its edit - "These beautifully framed words still remain hollow" .

It asserted Mr Modi cannot simply shy away from the Naga issue but has to have a relook through the prism of "Framework Agreement, his own political brainchild" .

Observers take a jaundiced view of the NSCN-IM editorial at this juncture.

Of course, one of them who still wanted to remain an optimist says, "An editorial is only a view point....and views may change.

So I am not yet ready to give up hopes that peace and solution may come" .

The mouthpiece in soft copy format was made available to local journalists and newspapers only on Sept 20, Monday - perhaps hours before the crucial meeting takes place on Tuesday.

Sources said the NSCN-IM team led by senior commander V S Atem was camping in Delhi since Sunday.

A wish list or demands were also reviewed and apparently finetuned.

Things will progress according to mutual convenience, a source said adding, more such interactions are expected in the next 48 hours.

The NSCN-IM team is in Delhi at the request of the Nagaland Core Committee comprising MLAs and Ministers.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio-led all-party panel of legislators was directed by Home Minister Amit Shah on Sept 12 to convince the NSCN-IM, which had raised the bogies of Flag and Constitution, to sign the final peace pact at the earliest.

NPF floor leader Kuzholuzo Nienu Azo, co-chairman of the all-party coalition in Nagaland, said: "Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji was very clear stating to ask them (NSCN-IM) to raise and ask for anything except a separate Naga Constitution and a Flag" .

In fact since October 2019, the formal talks were 'stalled' after the NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah raised the twin demands of a Flag and a Naga Constitution.

The centre has, however, said Naga flags could be used for social and cultural functions.

On Sept 12 during his meeting with Nagaland legislators and ministers including NDPP chief minister Neiphiu Rio and deputy CM Y Patton (of BJP); Amit Shah said, "what cannot be given, cannot be given tomorrow or even day after" .

With regard to the Flag and a separate Naga constitution, Shah was yet again categorical - "woh baat nahi karna (Please do not raise these two issues)" .

A team from NNPG is also expected to arrive in New Delhi sooner than later.

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

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