Nagaland govt organised ‘consultation’ make organisations wary

 

Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 2

Two days after the Chief Minister of Nagaland declared that an NLA resolution passed on the Naga political issue has been “unanimously endorsed” by the Naga civil society, some organisations claimed that they had not signed their nod to the resolution.

“We are not a signatory to the NLA resolution,” stated the Sumi Hoho, alongside the Western Sumi Hoho today. The 9th session of the current Nagaland Legislative Assembly passed a 5-point resolution on the Naga political issue on July 27. On July 31, the Nagaland Legislators’ Forum (NLF) brought it to Naga civil society organisations for “consultation.” However, they were “unexpectedly” asked to “endorse” the resolution.

“It is not that we are against the points but we cannot immediately take a decision on such matters without consensus from our people,” said representatives of the SH and WSH. “We were put in an awkward situation.” For them, it was important to have stated that any solution should be “inclusive” of all political groups, with consultations going “down to the roots.”

The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) did not endorse the resolution either as its “role is to facilitate reconciliation and it is up to the tribal hohos to endorse such a resolution, or not,” said a representative of the FNR.

Civil society members present at the meeting on July 31 noted that as in a consultation, there was no “back-and-forth” of opinion—time was given to tribal hoho leaders to speak, after which the resolution was introduced and was asked to be “endorsed” by a show of hands without taking note of opinions expressed.

The Eastern Naga Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO), and its affiliates, for instance, stood by their stance of “unity before solution,” among other things, but this was not introduced into the resolution nor made a mention of (ENPO gave its endorsement to the resolution nonetheless). Some expressed how the resolution was not shown to them, nor the content discussed.

No actual consultation happened, thus, bringing to question why such a resolution was passed, or needed to be endorsed after it was passed in the Assembly. As is usually the case with government “consultations,” a pre decided agenda with an unclear motive was brought to the table for approval within two hours.

“Do they represent the Government of India or the NSCN (IM)?” asked an observer, further wondering “who will they submit these resolutions to?” The points made in the resolution have been reiterated before by Naga civil bodies separately and independently.

“Having taken oath under the constitution of India, making a resolution on the Naga political issue is crossing the line,” noted a leader present at the meeting. If they wanted to play the role of “facilitator” to the Indo-Naga talks, there are “other ways” to do so, he said, finding this “taking of consent” business a “bit confusing.” This made some organisations wary. The next day, they were even more confused by the Chief Minister’s statement in the newspaper claiming ‘unanimous endorsement.’ No NGO was present at the press conference when this was declared.

Similar resolutions on the Naga political issue have been adopted by past governments in Nagaland. The reiteration of this resolution, however, has made sceptics out of organisations that worry that such “consultations” will be used as “final consent” to a settlement whose modalities remain largely unknown to the people. The resolution was passed soon after the arrival of the Parliamentary Working Committee on the Naga Political Issue of the Nagaland State Government from Delhi. The NLF claims that the consultation is part of a continuing dialogue on the Indo-Naga peace process that would bring on board Naga people from outside Nagaland as well.

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