In a rare gesture possibly unprecedented in Indian politics, MLAs from Nagaland — cutting across party lines — have voluntarily offered to resign from their seats in order to pave the way for an interim set-up that may follow a peace deal, expected to be signed with New Delhi soon.
All the 60 Nagaland MLAs—led by chief minister Neiphiu Rio under the banner of the Joint Legislators Forum of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (JLF-NLA)—are now camping in Delhi to meet senior political leaders from all parties, and are urging for the hastening of a peace deal that hasn’t attained completion despite 15 years of negotiations.
Churches as well as leading civic society organisations, such as the Naga Hoho, are planning events to drum up support for expediting the peace process, bringing about an early settlement to India’s longest-running insurgency.
Meanwhile, sources said a resolution in the form of a structure, which ties together the cultural and traditional homogeneity of the Nagas without affecting the jurisdictional and administrative authority of any neighbouring state, is in the offing.
The Naga talks, which have witnessed three interlocuters since 1997, have taken place in Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Amsterdam, New Delhi, Chiang Mai (Thailand), Bangkok, London, Osaka, Malaysia, The Hague, and Dimapur.
This selfless move by the Naga MLAs bears a close parallel to an incident involving the Japanese in the 1860s, when the country realised that it had become outdated in terms of military prowess, technology and education – among other aspects.
This realisation induced all the warlords to unite, relinquish their power, and vest it in Emperor Mutsuhito — who was, until then, just a figurehead. The smaller feudal lords soon followed suit, sacrificing their personal interests for the country.