GoI must present clear roadmap to sign and conclude talks

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/10/2019 12:58:40 PM IST

The Government of India’s (GoI) announcement of a ‘3-month deadline’ to conclude the Indo-Naga peace talks, if true, is now at its end stage with only a few weeks remaining. There is however a wide disconnect between what has been talked about—honorable and acceptable solution—and the ground reality, especially the way the proposed peace accord will be signed and implemented by the Government of India and the Naga Political Groups.

While some Naga elders have voiced out their concern on the proposed competencies, which is part of the peace agreement being worked out, The Naga Rising stands on the premise that this is also the time for our elders, intellectuals, tribe hohos and civil society take the onus on themselves and provide innovative ideas as to how to address the differences between the two Naga sides—the NSCN (IM) on the one hand and the Working Committee of the 7 NNPGs, especially when we are in the final stage for the talks to conclude, going on for 22 years with the NSCN (IM) and the last two years with the 7 NNPGs. The key question is the need for bringing all Naga National Groups as part of the peace process and address differences that exist among them

It may also be added that the mandate for political negotiation with the Government of India rests essentially with the Naga National Groups. This is a position that no Naga has questioned in the past and will not today.

The Naga Rising had written to the Prime Minister earlier through the Governor’s office with the proposal to appoint a Group of Naga Interlocutors who could mediate between the warring groups and help in facilitating convergence and conclusion of the talks.

Till date there has been no response from the Interlocutor to the idea of a Naga group playing the role of uniting the divergent Naga groups, although the Interlocutor has on record expressed concern over the prevailing division among the Nagas. Nevertheless, we continue to repose faith in the Interlocutor to take appropriate measures and to respond to the present situation when there are parallel talks going on.

Now therefore The Naga Rising wish to bring to light some of our concerns in the lead up to the October 31 supposed deadline and other related matters of public interest.

Recently it was officially notified in an order issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval has been allocated the issue of Naga talks. Likewise, it was reported that the Union Home Ministry has “rejected the demand of a separate flag and constitution for Nagaland”.

Here, two things need to be made clear to the Naga public by the Government of India. First is the nature of role being played by the Union Home Ministry, especially at this stage of the peace process when it is common knowledge that the present talks under the Narendra Modi government is under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister. So, where does the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) fit in?

Also, what is the exact role of present Interlocutor RN Ravi, also the Governor of Nagaland since with the latest PMO order, it is the NSA who has been allocated to handle the Naga talks. Will the Interlocutor now report to the NSA and not to the Prime Minister directly? Is Delhi going to downgrade the Naga case from a political one to a law and order issue?

The Naga Rising would like to state that the Indo-Naga peace talks cannot be held hostage to the security and military establishment and that the political leadership in the Government must intervene and take lead in resolving the Naga issue.

The political commitment and assurances as expressed through recognition of the ‘uniqueness of Naga history and situation’ and the ‘historical and political rights of the Nagas to self- determine their future in consonant with their distinct identity’, these must be honoured.

The other point that needs clarification is the reported deadline of October 31. On the contrary, some reports suggest that the ongoing peace talks is planned to be concluded by ‘the end of this year’. As recently as September 19, the ruling party’s (BJP) National General Secretary Ram Madhav did not mention the October 31 deadline but only gave a general time frame to conclude the Naga issue by ‘the end of this year’.

Is the reported ‘deadline’ therefore an attempt to force a solution? Will the solution within the ‘deadline’ be inclusive? If not the GoI will be contravening its own position that there is only one peace process and the Naga issue cannot be fragmented. Such a counter move will sow the seed of another cycle of violence and hostility.

While expressing the above concerns on the immediate challenges facing us, The Naga Rising wish to put on record our position that was conveyed to the Naga leadership during a close door interaction with the Emissary to the 7 NNPGs on September 19 and the public consultation meeting with the NSCN (IM) top leadership on September 21. The following points and concern were communicated to the Naga Political groups:

–We stand for conclusion of the present peace talks as the Naga public is desirous of an early solution

–We seek for convergence of the parallel negotiations taking place and a peaceful atmosphere to prevail both in the run-up to the signing of the agreement and thereafter.

In our earlier statements The Naga Rising had appealed to both the Government of India and the Naga negotiators to explore the full range of possibilities towards a peaceful agreement by exhibiting upmost flexibility and accommodation. Furthermore, India and the Nagas must look to understand each other’s needs and aspirations as the only way forward towards an honourable solution.

The Naga Rising also reiterates its earlier position taken that any solution must be mutual and agreed by both sides and it cannot be forced upon the other.

Conclusion: The Naga Rising demands that the Government of India must come out with an open and clear-cut direction on how it intends to sign and conclude the present negotiations against the backdrop of what it has already stated that “there is only one peace process…and eventually there will be only one agreement as we cannot fragment the Naga issue.”

After stating the Government of India’s position on the general contours of a possible agreement, including the 3-month time frame that was disclosed by the Interlocutor himself, RN Ravi, who is also the Governor of Nagaland, has remained silent on the future course of the peace process.

However we must give him the benefit of doubt with the hope that a clear roadmap is presented to conclude the talks along with some form of power and responsibility sharing arrangement among the Naga Political Groups. This will ensure a smooth and peaceful transfer of power and competencies based on the political arrangement being worked out.

The Prime Minister’s message to the international community at UN General Assembly on September 27 was “Harmony and Peace.” We hope the Prime Minister has the same message for the Nagas in finding a solution to the Indo-Naga peace talks.

*The Naga Rising: Along Longkumer, Vitho Zao, Hukavi T. Yeputhomi, Amai Chingkhu, Tsukti Longkumer, Moie Bonny Konyak, Ngukato K. Tsuipu, Mar Longkumer, Joel Naga, Khriezodilhou Yhome*

Naga Hoho reminds GoI to keep its commitments

Naga Hoho reminds GoI to keep its commitments

October 13, 2019;

Dimapur, October 12: While appreciating the negotiators and the Government of India for the commitment to hammer out honourable settlement, the Naga Hoho has reminded the Government of India to keep its commitments and that, the Naga people have waited with patience for the last 22 years which is long enough.
It said every Naga soul is longing to witness the post settlement era of peace and development, yet then, “we cannot afford to succumb to inducements of economic packages and divide and rule policy of Government of India.”
“The Government of India’s three month deadline to solve the vexed Indo- Naga Political imbroglio in the form of an imposed settlement is unacceptable to the Nagas when the core issues which have landed the decades old political peace process into a deadlock are yet to be resolved amicably,” a press release issued by Naga Hoho president, H K Zhimomi and general secretary, K Elu Ndang stated.
It said if the Government of India decides to impose its “take it or leave it” or “carrot and stick” policies on the Nagas, the approach would only vitiate the existing peaceful environment and negate all the sincere efforts put in by both Indian and Nagaleaders during the last many years in the quest for a lasting honourable solution.
The Hoho also affirmed that any Accord that does not honour the Nagas’ legitimate rights for integration, separate Naga flag and constitution is neither honourable nor acceptable to the Nagas who have shed much precious blood and tears for this long cherished Naga dream.
It reminded the Government of India leaders not to divide Nagas further with a piecemeal settlement in tacit understanding and collusion with a few groups backed by some public leaders with vested, parochial interests as it will only result in more conflicts and bloodshed among the Nagas.
The Hoho further appealed to all the Naga negotiating parties to find common grounds, accommodate one another in the larger interests of the whole Naga family and put in concerted efforts to arrive at an inclusive, acceptable and honourable settlement with the Government of India.

Source from Nagaland page.

Naga Flag & constitution not compromised: NNPGs

Today, 13 October 2019 ;

Naga flag & constitution not compromised: NNPGs

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, OCT 12

Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) has reiterated that it has not compromised with the aspiration of the Naga people on separate Naga national Flag and Constitution adding these were an integral part of the ongoing negotiation.

Highly placed source in the WC of NNPGs informed Nagaland Post that the committee held a marathon meeting with government of India’s Representative and Interlocutor to Naga Peace Talks, R. N. Ravi on Saturday in New Delhi, where it reiterated the desire of Nagas for separate Naga national flag and constitution.

The source said both the negotiating parties arrived at a mutual understanding that since the issue could not be resolved at the present juncture, it would be would be pursued through democratic political process post-solution.

Keeping in mind the Naga people’s desire and support for early solution the source said the negotiating parties have resolved to conclude the talk at the earliest.

Meanwhile, in a bid for concluding the ongoing peace process and fulfil the three-month timeframe, the government of India’s Representative and Interlocutor to Naga Peace Talks R.N. Ravi has called for a consultative meeting with Primary Stakeholders, church leaders and civil society organisations on October 18, 2:30 p.m. at Japfu Hotel, Kohima.

Reliable sources have confirmed that invitation for the meeting was sent to Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), Nagaland GB Federation (NGBF), United Naga Council (UNC) and 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland.

It maybe be mentioned that WC of NNPGs through its convenor, N Kitovi Zhimomi, in an exclusive interview to Nagaland Post on October 6, asserted that the committee was ready to conclude the talk.

NNPGs had also made it clear that the solution to Naga peace talk should not be kept on hold as there was “no problem between Government of India and Nagas of Nagaland”.

Seven groups of NNPGs which entered the Naga Peace Process at the later part of 2017 signed an agreement with government of India on November 17, 2017, which the former termed as “agreed position” or “preamble”.

Governor of Nagaland, who is also the Interlocutor, is in Delhi held both formal and informal meetings with leaders of NSCN (I-M) and WC of NNPGs leaders within this week. All negotiating parties were likely to hold another round of meeting, separately, next week.

With the three-month time-frame expiring within couple of weeks, government of India and the negotiating parties were keen to iron out issues or loose ends before inking the final agreement.

Source from Nagaland Post.