Curtains for world’s oldest insurgency; Naga peace deal by October end
The Centre is all set to conclude the Naga peace process by the end of this month.
Often described as the old surviving insurgency of the world, the Naga insurgents had demanded a separate homeland for the Naga’s which was to be loosely bound to the Constitution.
“All Naga armed groups are engaged with the Government of India’s Interlocutor and have worked out the draft final settlement,” Nagaland’s Governor and New Delhi Interlocutor on the Naga issue, RN Ravi, said.
There is, however, a strong possibility that the final Naga peace deal could be signed without the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), one of main players in the decade’s long insurgency in Nagaland.
In an extremely strong comment, Ravi said, “Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN (I-M) has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution on which they are fully aware of the Government of India’s position. They have mischievously dragged in the Framework Agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it.”
Except for the NSCN(IM), several factions of the insurgent group, for instance, the NSCN (U), NSCN (R) and NSCN(K) are on board with the final deal with New Delhi.
“A mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement,” Ravi said.
“Respecting the Naga people’s wishes, the Government of India is determined to conclude the Peace Process without delay. Endless negotiation under the shadow of guns is not acceptable,” he added.
Soon after being re-elected, the Narendra Modi government had decided to conclude the Naga peace deal as early as possible. During its first tenure, the Narendra Modi led NDA government had signed the “Framework Agreement” on August 3, 2015, for the peace deal with the NSCN(IM).
Subsequently, on November 17, 2017, another agreement with seven Naga armed groups under the banner of the Working Committee (WC) of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) on the political parameters of the settlement was signed.
The draft Naga peace deal doesn’t have provisions for either a separate flag or a separate constitution.
One of the original and complicated demands Naga insurgent groups, especially the NSCN(IM), for the integration of all Naga inhabited areas have resolved through negotiations, senior officials who did not want to be named said.
Ravi held a detailed discussion with the senior Naga leadership on September 18 to give the final touches to the agreement and explain what the peace deal would entail.
“All Naga tribes of Nagaland, all the minority non-Naga tribes of Nagaland, the Nagaland GB Federation, the Nagaland Tribes Council, the Church leaders and Civil Society Organizations. The Framework Agreement with the (NSCN I-M) and the Agreed Position with the Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups were extensively shared with the leaders, pertinent issues discussed and doubts on competencies clarified,” Ravi’s office said.
The Naga insurgency began in the 1950s with sovereignty as a key demand. But over the years, the rebel outfits have given up on that demand seeking more autonomy and integration of Naga inhabited areas in Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.