TODAY -

On and off ceasefire agreements : Politics of peace talks
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 30 2015 -

Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh, SS Khaplang and Wangtin Konyak
Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh, SS Khaplang and Wangtin Konyak :: Pix - TSE



The politics of peace.

If not handled with care and concern, it can be as testing and dicey as the very purpose of engaging anyone to a peace talk.

Perhaps no one knows this better than the Naga rebel group, which today has splintered into different groups or factions.

The peace process may be directly linked to the fracturing of the rebel group/s or it may be a case of internal differences cropping up when a peace talk is underway with the Government of India.

The history of the armed movement, post 1975, should underline the point that is sought to be made here.

After the Shillong Accord was signed between Delhi and the NNC back in 1975, not everyone within the outfit was ready to take it lying down and the NSCN was born from the confrontations amongst the cadres of the oldest insurgent outfit in the North East region.

From the ashes of the internecine killings was born the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980 with Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chisi Swu at the helm.

They were ably aided by SS Khaplang who held sway over Eastern Nagaland which lie in Myanmar.

The three however could not go on living together and in 1988 the NSCN was split into the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN and the Khaplang led NSCN.

What followed after the vertical split was something of a nightmare for the Naga people, with both sides going on the offensive and gunning each other.

All this must have come as a reprieve to the Indian soldiers. It was at the height of the clashes that the IM faction of the NSCN went ahead and inked the truce pact with the Government of India in 1997.

A political negotiation followed suit and Manipur still remembers those days in 2001 when the clause, ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ was inserted in the peace pact between the outfit and New Delhi.

Imphal burned for days and numerous lives were lost but that did not stop the NSCN (K) from going ahead with the ceasefire agreement with the Government of India.

A semblance of normalcy returned to Manipur only after the phrase ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ was dropped.

A lot of water has flowed down the Imphal river after this and while the negotiation between the IM group and New Delhi has been going on amid much speculations, the Khaplang faction and New Delhi have decided to abrogate the ceasefire agreement.

The Naga outfit announced this some time back but it was only on April 27 or 28, 2015 that the Government of India formally announced that the truce pact with the Khaplang group has been scraped.

Cease ceasefire with one group but ink a new deal with another.

This is the line that has been taken up, if one takes the new ceasefire agreement inked with the NSCN (R) into consideration.

The NSCN (R) is a breakaway group, formed after Wangtin Konyak and Tikhak were expelled from the NSCN (K) some time back.

The picture is clear.

Carry on the peace dialogue with the IM group, the NSCN (R) and the Khole-Kitovi group and call off the deal with the NSCN (K).

Difficult to say which way the wind will blow, but equally difficult to think that a comprehensive agreement can be inked alone with the IM group taken along with the NSCN (R) and NSCN (K-K) without the Khaplang faction.

The situation says that the advantage is with Delhi but this is a point which is likely to blow over the heads of the leaders of the different factions of the Naga rebel groups. Surely the politics of peace can be as dicey as the politics of violence.



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