Nagaland Governor shoots down NSCN’s demand for separate flag, Constitution
The Governor’s assertion comes in response to demand by NSCN-IM for a separate flag and Constitution for Nagas in order to sign the a final agreement on the Naga political issue.
Nagaland Governor and Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks, RN Ravi on Monday said the government of India is absolutely clear that there shall be only one national flag and Constitution in India.
“Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies. They are trying to confuse and mislead the people,” he said in his message to the people of the state on the eve of Nagaland’s 58th statehood day. His message drew condemnation from the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), the largest Naga rebel group.
The governor’s reference to the flag and constitution comes against the backdrop of the demand of a separate Naga flag and Constitution by the NSCN (IM) which has been holding talks with the government of India for the past 23 years.
Maintaining that India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is supreme, Ravi stated that the Centre has never ever talked, much less negotiated with anyone on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.
“Any misadventure to disintegrate this great nation shall not be tolerated,” he said, while pointing out that ‘the right decision taken today will determine our future and the destiny of our coming generations’.
He mentioned that with common understanding having been reached on all the issues on the table and conclusion of talks on October 31, 2019, the people of Nagaland are anxiously waiting for a new dawn. However, he went on to allege that there are some people who are standing as “a roadblock” to the aspirations of the people of Nagaland.
“I urge these people to see the writings on the wall, to come out of their make-believe echo-chamber and listen to the voice of the people and in a true democratic spirit respect their wishes,” the governor said.
Ravi said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dynamic and visionary leadership, fundamental anomalies and distortions in the ongoing peace process have been corrected by making it truly inclusive.
Stating that Nagaland state is an abiding testimony to the triumph of the politics of peace over the politics of bloodshed, he maintained Naga political issue belonged to the Naga people and no single entity should claim the sole franchise over it.
“Nagas have existed and survived through centuries through their customary and traditional institutions. The traditional village institutions and the tribal bodies are the primary stakeholders in the Naga political issue. Their freely expressed wishes and decisions are paramount in any settlement. They have clearly expressed their mind. They demand conclusion of the endless peace process without any further delay,” Ravi said.
He said disrespecting the primary stakeholders was an insult to the people of Nagaland, therefore, any attempt to intimidate or threaten them will invite the wrath of the people and full might of the laws of the land, he added.
The governor paid tributes to the leaders of the Naga Peoples’ Convention, martyrs and countless Nagas whose blood, toil, sweat and sacrifices he said had led to the birth of the 16th state of the Indian Union with extraordinary constitutional safeguards for their unique identity and interests.
The NSCN-IM issued a statement condemning governor Ravi’s stand on the peace talks.
“Naga people are fully aware of the divisive, extraordinary involvement of Nagaland state Governor RN Ravi behind this commemoration program in order to justify his all out efforts to protect the 16 Points Agreement at all costs,” the statement said.
The group made it clear that the history of Naga political struggle and the ongoing political talk is a living testimony that the present Nagaland state was the brainchild of a few treacherous Nagas that showed up in the name of Naga People’s Convention hijacking the Naga issue without the concern of the bona fide “freedom fighters”.
“The Convention without the consent, support and participation of the Naga people arrived at an agreement called the 16 Points Agreement that was responsible for the creation of Nagaland as the 16th state of the Indian Union. This fragmented the Indian-occupied Naga territories by placing them into different administrative units of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh,” the NSCN-IM said.
It stated that the Naga people would never allow another political hijacking to take place.