Memorandum to PMO of India

To
Shri. Narendra Modi
The Hon’ble Prime Minster
Government of India

Subject: Memorandum

Hon’ble Sir,

We bring Warm Greetings from the Office of Naga Students’ Federation

*1) About Naga Students’ Federation:*
The Naga Students Federation (NSF) was formed in 1947 founded on the vision and sacrifices of educated Naga youths of that time, who felt the need to have an organized body through which collective aspiration could be articulated and at the same time respond to issues confronting the students in particular and Nagas in general. It came to being at a time when there were only few Nagas who could apprehend futuristic possibilities with clear political and social acumen.
Since then, the Naga Students’ Federation has been striving for the larger interest of the Nagas-unwavering in its stand and persevering in promoting the rights of the Nagas. NSF has been standing firm without compromising on any issues, according to their correct perspectives, which are a matter of concern for the Nagas as a people, irrespective of tribes or divisive elements that may prevail from time to time.
It has always been the standpoint of the federation that Nagas in general would live under one administrative umbrella under a sovereign government and that the stand of the federation has always been integration of all Naga homeland and sovereignty in line with our motto ‘For Unified Lim and Glory of Nagas’.

*2) Brief Background of the Ongoing Peace process:*
The journey of Naga Struggle has never been an easy road. However, after a prolong military confrontation, the NSCN and GOI entered into second ceasefire on 1st August, 1997; with the initiatives for a peaceful resolution to the indo-Naga conflict. The basis of present political dialogues between the Government of India and NSCN representing the Naga people are a) without any pre-condition b) at the highest level and c) in third countries.
On June 14, 2001 in Bangkok it was re-affirmed that the ceasefire agreement is between the Government of India and NSCN as two entities without territorial limits. The process was further strengthened on 11th July, 2002, the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared recognition of the ‘unique history and situation of the Nagas’ by the GOI. This agreement is land mark in the historical and political journey of the Nagas as India accepted for the first time that Nagas were never a part of India either by conquest or by consent of the Naga people. In addition, it recognizes that, the prevailing situation in Nagalim is political in nature and not that of law and order problem of India, thus, requiring political solution. Hectic negotiations for eighteen (18) years culminated to the historic signing of Framework Agreement between the GOI and NSCN on August 3rd, 2015. Thereafter, the seven (7) NNPGs were joined the talk for an inclusive peace process on September 27th 2017.

*3) Resentment against R N Ravi’s dual role and his conduct thereafter*
R N Ravi in his dual role as the GOI interlocutor as well as the Governor of Nagaland was viewed with skepticism by the Naga people at large. However, the federation refrained from making our disagreement public hoping that he would discharge his dual duty with the highest degree of integrity which, to our utter dismay, was not to be.
R N Ravi has been indulging in rhetoric words and practices which has resulted in much chaos and confusion in the Naga society. Though his cunningly concocted attempt to divide the Naga society into ‘primary stakeholders’ and ‘secondary stakeholders’ was an utter failure, he has gone about painting a glossy picture of the same through print and electronic media.
It has come to light through various sources and media houses that the Indian interlocutor has been adopting the practice of twisting and misinterpreting the words enshrined in the historic framework agreement against agreed terms and principles to suit his political overlords. Such a practice is inimical to the unique history and legitimate rights of the Naga people. It has also become crystal clear to the Naga people that GOI is approaching the peace process from a bureaucratic lens which is leading to the misinterpretation of compentencies that has been mutually worked out so far between the entities.

*4) Deadline in the negotiation process*
The Indo-Naga peace process has been ongoing since the last 22 years making much progress. However, the recent development wherein the GOI interlocutor has been resorting to imposing a uniteral deadline of 31st October’ 19 upon the Naga negotiating team is against the universally accepted principle of a peaceful and mutually agreed negotiation. No honorable solution can be brought about if one of the teams to the negotiation starts to throw their weight around and tries to impose the same upon the opposite party. More so, the projected deadline has been responsible for much pain and has thrown the Naga society into further chaos which is totally the opposite of what the peace process seeks to achieve, i.e. permanent peace and tranquility in the Naga homeland.
The federation therefore seeks the intervention of your good office in advising the interlocutor to refrain from holding the hard earn peace process to the ransom of time.

*5) NSF and other civil organizations sidelined in the present consultative process*
It is an undeniable fact that the NSF is the oldest pan Naga civil society organization formed to represent the voice of the Naga people. It is also the fact that the federation is older than even the Union of India. However, in the recent series of consultative meets, the federation has been left out as an uninvited guest thereby depriving the Naga students and youths of the opportunity to express their aspirations and desires from the impending solution to the protracted Indo-Naga political issue. We must admit that our sentiments have been deeply hurt by the non-invitation by Shri. R N Ravi, the GOI interlocutor to the Peace talk and current Governor of Nagaland. NSF is not against any organization or individuals invited for consultation, however, as the main stakeholder representing the voices of those who will inherit ‘the solution, it is unimaginable for the consultation process to be a mandated one without the NSF.

*6) Economic packages alone is no solution at all*
The sacrifices of many Nagas whether they are dead or still alive, is not a struggle for Naga identity alone; it is also a struggle for self determination, a struggle against the imposition of alien culture and values upon us, a struggle against the ‘divide and rule’ policy of the forces determined to keep us subjugated.
It is in this background that the NSF made its standpoint crystal clear that Economic packages or monetary assistance cannot purchase the rights of the Naga people. Rather, the GOI should not hesitate from allowing the Naga people to retain their legitimate rights.
Further, the Naga people have come a long way by denouncing the 16th Point Agreement or the Shillong Accord and that any sort of agreement that is going to be signed between the GOI and Naga negotiators should not be mere reaffirmation or expansion of 16 Point Agreements.

*7) Conclusion*
In the backdrop of the above given history and position, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) hereby demands your good office that:
1) The Unique Naga Identity be recognized through the Naga National flag which is dear to the hearts and minds of the Naga people.
2) The Government of India (GOI) to honor the 3rd August Framework Agreement both in letter and in spirit as it was signed by both the entities in the presence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
3) Solution to the protracted indo-Naga political issue should be inclusive, honorable and acceptable basing on the uniqueness of Naga History.
4) GOI should focus on ‘mutually negotiated solution’ instead of ‘imposed solution’.
5) GOI should desist from provoking the situation by sending Indian Armies to Naga homeland and issuing statement of threat.

The Naga Students Federation takes our stand to make it succinctly and explicitly clear that the federation for all times to come continue to pursue the Pan Naga youth aspiration of integration and sovereignty through a democratic process. The Federation shall continue to stand by its own identity and principles laid down by its founding fathers in the larger interest of the Nagas.
We pray that the right wisdom will prevail and will bring lasting peace and progress to the Naga people.

Copy to:
1) Eno. Antonio Guterres Secretary General, United Nations (UN), New York
2) Ralph Bunche, Secretary General, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ Organization (UNPO), Brussells, Belgium
3) Dr. Frans Welman, Secretary, Naga International Support Centre (NISC) Amsterdam
4) Guard File
Sd/- President, Naga Students’ Federation
Sd/- President, Anal Lenruwl Tangpi (ALT)
Sd/- President, Angami Students’ Union (ASU)
Sd/- President, Ao Kaketshir Mungdang (AKM)
Sd/- President, All Zeliangrong Students’ Union (AZSU)
Sd/- President, Chakhesang Students’ Union (CSU)
Sd/- President, Lotha Students’ Union (LSU)
Sd/- President, Lamkang Kurchuknao Kunpun (LKK)
Sd/- President, Mao Students’ Union (MSU)
Sd/- President, Maram Students’ Union (MKS)
Sd/- President, Maring Students’ Union (MSU)
Sd/- President, Mongsang Naga Students’ Union (STS)
Sd/- President, Moyon Naga Students’ Union (TTBR)
Sd/- President, Poumai Naga Tsiidoumai Me (PNTM)
Sd/- President, Pochury Students’ Union (PSU)
Sd/- President, Rengma Students’ Union (RSU)
Sd/- President, Sumi Kiphimi kuqhakulu (SKK)
Sd/- President, Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS)
Sd/- President, All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM)
Sd/- President, All Nagaland College Students’ Union

Treading cautiously on the final Naga peace agreement

 

*The Hindu*

M.P. Nathanael
OCTOBER 24, 2019 00:05 IST

The Centre should not be rigid in its stance
Around the time that the Centre announced the abrogation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under Article 370, there was a flutter of anxiety, bordering on panic, in the North-Eastern States, particularly in Nagaland, which enjoys certain special privileges under Article 371(A) of the Constitution. The State’s Governor, R.N. Ravi, assuaged the angst through assurances that there would be no tampering with Article 371(A).
Given that J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik had given a similar assurance to the denizens of that State when former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met him two days before the constitutional change was announced, the Naga people are justifiably sceptical about the statements of their Governor that Article 371(A) is a “solemn commitment to the people of Nagaland…” and that they “don’t have to worry at all.”

Separate flag, Constitution
For reasons best known to the concerned officials in the government and the signatories on behalf of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), the Framework Agreement, which was signed with much fanfare in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, has remained under wraps. Was there something in the agreement that was hindering its disclosure? Perhaps it was a clause regarding a separate flag and Constitution for Nagaland? Could the Centre have strategised that the final agreement for Nagaland would only be announced after the decision on J&K, so that the latter could serve as a precedent event and render reversal of any aspects of the Naga agreement — including clauses on its flag and Constitution — impossible?

Herein lies the crux of the matter. While the Nagas maintain that “the Naga national flag is the symbol of the recognised Naga entity… the Constitution of the Nagas is the book form of the recognised sovereignty,” the Centre has conveyed its firm stand that the matter stands rejected.
Meanwhile, akin to actions taken in J&K, leaves of all government officials including police personnel have been cancelled and the State put on alert. While the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), an umbrella organisation of seven insurgent groups, has consented to be a signatory to the agreement for the time being, it has asserted that the Naga Constitution, must be drafted by a committee of distinguished personalities from every Naga tribe. Though the NNPG does not distance itself from the final agreement, it holds the view that such a Constitution could be drafted subsequently. Currently, to meet the deadline of October 31, the agreement seems to be getting pushed forward, with the Centre hopeful that the talks slated for October 24 will be decisive and final.

However, with the NSCN (I-M) obdurate in its stand of having a separate flag and Constitution, the situation could take a turn for the worse. In a reference to the armed outfit of NSCN (I-M), the Centre has categorically stated that talks at gunpoint are not acceptable and has directed all armed outfits including the NSCN (I-M) to decide upon a date for surrender of all arms in their possession. While the other outfits like NSCN (Khaplang), NSCN (Unification) and NSCN (Reformation) may readily agree to surrender their arms, the NSCN (I-M) may not give up as easily, unless of course the prospect of governmental berths being offered in the Nagaland Assembly might be allurement enough for it to do so.

The Centre also could do well to step back from its rigid position of forcing an agreement that a major political stakeholder is not willing to ink. The government will have to tread cautiously in tackling the situation lest a variant of the pre-1997 militancy returns to the State. That would be a retrograde development, especially given the last 22 years of hard-fought peace.

M.P. Nathanael is a retired Inspector General of Police, CRPF

NMA objects to ‘policy of exclusion’

 

DIMAPUR, OCT 23
Affirming its commitment towards an ‘inclusive and just peace’ that respects Naga aspirations and long years of struggle, the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) has raised objection to what it described as “the policy of exclusion” of civil society organisations like Naga Hoho, NMA, NSF and NPMHR by the State agencies and the Interlocutor for the Naga Peace talks. In a press release, NMA asserted that as women and mothers they have suffered as victims of the conflict, but also made their contributions to peace making and peace building.

As regards, NMA has appealed to Naga leaders and brothers from different Naga political groups to come together in peace and speak for a solution that brings sustainable peace to the Nagas and their children. Naga mothers also appealed to the state government to “impartially” play its role of facilitators for peace by taking all Nagas forward. Further, NMA urged the Interlocutor to “abstain from selective division” of Nagas. It reminded that Naga women’s voices must also be counted in the process of peace building. NMA maintained that Nagas cannot afford another period of violence. “Let there be no more bloodshed and peace be brought through mutual respect and understanding,” NMA underscored.

Source from Nagaland Post.

An empty accord won’t usher in Naga peace

 

By Bharat Bhushan a senior journalist based in New Delhi.

24th Oct 2019

The Modi government, reluctant to learn anything from the Nehru regime, may be headed towards a similar misadventure.

Are those who do not learn from history condemned to repeat it? It would certainly seem so in the case of the proposed Naga settlement that the Narendra Modi government hopes to reach with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs). The main insurgent group with whom the government has been negotiating for 22 years is likely to stay out of the agreement.

India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, did something similar.

In July 1960, the Nehru government signed an agreement with the Naga Peoples’ Convention instead of the underground insurgents led by Angami Zapu Phizo. Known as the 16-Point Agreement, it led to the merger of the Naga Hills District of Assam and the Tuensang Frontier Division of NEFA into a single administrative unit, the present state of Nagaland. The Naga Peoples’ Convention was initially organised to facilitate dialogue between the armed insurgents and Delhi. However, the facilitators themselves became the main party to the agreement. That did not resolve the Naga insurgency.

The Modi government, reluctant to learn anything from the Nehru regime, may be headed towards a similar misadventure.

Three major hurdles have emerged: the Naga insurgents do not want to be a part of the “Indian Union”; they want a separate flag and a separate Constitution. The roots of these differences lie in an agreement reached in 2015 which has become different to sustain after the developments in Jammu and Kashmir after August 5.

After 18 years of prolonged negotiations with the largest armed insurgent group, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) or NSCN(IM), a “Framework Agreement” was signed with them on August 3, 2015. It was precipitated by the ill-health of Isak Chishi Swu, chairman of the NSCN(IM), who was fighting for life in the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital in Delhi. An agreement to guide future negotiations was hastily put together and Swu’s signature appended to it from his hospital bed. As a Sema Naga from Nagaland, Swu’s agreement indicated the wider acceptance of the peace process since Thuingaleng Muivah is from Manipur. The agreement was projected as historic and lent legitimacy to subsequent negotiations.
Perhaps it was the hasty drafting of the Framework Agreement that has led to the present impasse. Celebrating “better mutual understanding” between the two sides, the agreement notes that after “due appreciation of the imperatives of the contemporary realities and regard for future vision” they agreed to end violent confrontation to “usher in comprehensive progress in consonance with the genius of the Naga people”.

Further, recognising that in democracies sovereignty lies with the people, the two sides committed themselves to respecting the peoples’ wishes “for sharing the sovereign power as defined in competencies [referring to subjects in Union, State and Concurrent Lists of the Indian Constitution]”.

This was followed by the statement that, “it is matter of great satisfaction that dialogue between the Government of India and NSCN has successfully concluded and we are confident it will provide for an enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities (emphasis added)”. This phrase is the nub of dispute now.

The use of the term “two entities” had created confusion earlier in a ceasefire agreement signed in June 14, 2001. Since then the standing instruction to Indian negotiators was to never use the term which suggests that India and Nagaland are two separate entities. It is difficult to understand why then it was used again in 2015.

By the term “two entities” the Indian side probably meant the two signatories to the agreement, India and the NSCN (IM). However, it is being interpreted by the Nagas to mean that India and the Nagas are different sovereign entities. And as two different entities they have decided to forge a new relationship by sharing sovereign power, they believe that they have a right to retain their own flag and Constitution.

Similarly by an “inclusive” relationship Delhi means inclusion of other Naga groups in negotiations. This was used to justify dealing with the NNPGs. The NSCN(IM) insists that “inclusive” means applicability of the agreement to all Nagas whether living in Nagaland or in contiguous states. Their fear is that the settlement could be with the state of Nagaland alone as the NNPGs are based there.
After removing the separate flag and Constitution of J&K, the Modi government cannot concede them to the Nagas. Since the Prime Minister himself has apparently set a deadline to conclude the peace agreement by October 31, the attempt is to either bring the NSCN(IM) to heel or sign the agreement with those who were never a part of the 22-year-old negotiation but are eager to assume political power in Nagaland.

However, instead of trying to force a separate and meaningless “peace”, the Modi government can still avoid repeating Nehru’s mistake.

To begin with, it can admit that the framework agreement had been drafted in ambiguous language. Since that cannot now be undone, the government can suggest to the NSCN(IM) leadership that it take the draft final agreement of power sharing, which is indeed unique, to the Naga people through public consultations.

The people may well conclude that the power sharing they can achieve through this agreement is sustainable, pragmatic and satisfies their political aspirations even without a separate flag and a Constitution. That may give the NSCN(IM) leadership the opportunity to sign the agreement citing the people’s wishes.

If the people say that they are willing to convert the flag into a state insignia or emblem and that the peace agreement itself, incorporated in the Indian Constitution, can be called “Yehzabo” or the Naga Constitution, then that could be considered favourably. Then the “Naga Constitution” would become an
Article of the Indian Constitution.

However, setting artificial deadlines and not allowing time for the NSCN(IM) to hold public consultation on the flag and Constitution would be unwise.
Thuingaleng Muivah who has led the Naga peace negotiations with great patience and commitment is already 85 years old. Should these peace talks fail, it will take a few more decades for another visionary Naga leader to emerge.

Crucial day for Naga Talks

KOHIMA | Oct 24, 2019:

The crucial talks between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM is scheduled to be held today as people of Nagaland await with bated breath the outcome of the much-awaited Naga talks. Sources informed that the formal talks will take place in the afternoon at 2 pm.

It was informed that a 15-member delegation from the NSCN-IM will attend the talks led by Ato Kilonser TH.Muivah, NSCN-IM general secretary. It is expected that today’s talk will shape the final outcome of the Nagas.

The Council of Nagalim Churches had on October 23 held fasting and prayers for the positive outcomes of the talks.

It may be mentioned that various civil society organisations and students’ unions have expressed their disappointment over the non-inclusion of their organisations in the political talks. These included the influential Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) , Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers’ Association, Naga Students Federation and the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights.

The NSF had on Wednesday shot a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in this regarding demanding that the unique Naga identity be recognized through the Naga national flag.

Security situation in Nagaland has been beefed up; Security forces, State Police, District Administration etc are all on high alert. Earlier, the state government had cancelled leave of all police personnel fearing law and order break down in the state.

The state govt had also earlier issued a notice asking all district administrators to be stationed in their respective postings and to remains alert for any kind of situation.

Source:-
https://thenortheasttoday.com/crucial-day-for-nagaland-naga-talks-at-2-pm/

Naga Flag and Constitution in our Identity

 

Everything has its own name and identity. Every nation has its own Flag and Constitution. We recognize and acknowledge different entities through their distinct culture and identity. What is the Naga identity as a Nation without a Naga Flag and Constitution? A flag is a national symbol. A national flag represents and symbolizes a country. It will be difficult to name a country without its flag and a constitution. Every country has got a specific flag as their national symbol. The Constitution is the fundamental blueprint of a country; it helps the government operate and also protect the rights of the people in the country. It explains their obligations. For Nagas, the people have a unique history with the Naga National Flag and Constitution as our identity and that is the reason why our Naga national movement continues to live on and it is why the Government of India recognized our unique history.

Naga National Flag (Zhie-ralha) and Constitution (Yehzabo) is our identity and also our road to sovereignty. The Naga Flag was first hoisted on 22 March 1956 at Parashen, near Sendenyu village, Rengma Region, Nagaland, when the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) was formed. Unless we get our own Identity there is no reason for the Nagas or for any Naga negotiator to accept any kind of economic package. Nothing less than the Naga Flag and Constitution should be accepted by any Naga negotiator or by the common people. We Nagas have our National Flag and Constitution, and if the GOI is sincere and committed to their Framework Agreement in recognition of Naga unique history, they should also recognise the Naga flag and constitution.

Both Nagas and non-Nagas have talked extensively about the Naga integration, and some Nagas presume that a Naga Flag and Constitution without integration is meaningless. However, what would you prefer – Naga integration under the Constitution of India or a Naga Flag and Constitution outside the Indian Constitution? Obviously, its always better to have our own Naga Flag and Constitution with integration outside the Constitution of India – which means having our own national identity. Our Naga flag and constitution is our identity – the symbol of our Naga nationality. Economic packages and Naga integration cannot be our Naga identity.

Naga integration without Naga Flag and Constitution

Accepting Naga Integration without Naga Flag and constitution could lead to the Naga national movement dying a natural death. Naga integration without Naga Flag and Constitution would be the same as the present state of Nagaland or like forming a state with same commumity or like the state of Mizoram where all the Mizos live together under one unit under the Constitution of India (their national identity is lost). A temporary Naga physical integration is insignificant without the Naga Flag and Constitution. Accepting Naga integration within the Constitution of India as a Naga political solution will be a suicidal step for the Nagas and a big blunder for the GOI as well.

Naga Flag and Constitution without Naga integration

The present artificial political boundary is not a serious problem or threat as Nagas want to live unitedly under one administrative unit. Nagas can always come together when our national identity represented by the Naga Flag and Constitution is duly recognized by GOI. The reason why GOI is always apprehensive of bringing the Nagas under one administrative unit is because that could unite the Nagas and pave the way for Naga sovereignty one day. Which is why GOI always strives to divide the Naga using various means and will continue to mislead and break up the unity of the Nagas so as to weaken and smother the Naga National Movement (NNM), but it is also the responsibility of our Naga people to stand strong regardless of the adverse weather they may encounter.

In conclusion, our Naga leaders and the common people should clearly understand and know that no Nation has ever negotiated for its Flag and Constitution after the Peace Settlement, and one needs to understand that it will be unfeasible to negotiate further for our rights to self-determination democratically when our Naga National Flag and Constitution is compromised by the present peace talks. It is also important for the Nagas to remember that it took years to come around to creating a Framework Agreement and to reach the present stage of negotiation because our leaders never compromised on the idea of sovereignty (Naga National Flag and Constitution), otherwise the Indo-Naga strife could have ended within a few years simply by accepting some economic packages or integration of Naga people under the Constitution of India. Our Naga national workers have had peace talks for the last 22 years, and we should be ready to continue to support the peace talks for another 22 years if the present talks could not bring about an honorable Naga Political Solution.