Indo-Naga Talks: Ravi makes his move; persuades Nagaland civil societies
- Accuses NSCN (IM) of adopting ‘procrastinating attitude’ and ascribing ‘imaginary content’ to framework agreement
- Says NSCN (IM) leaders are misleading people with absurd assumptions and presumptions over what have been agreed with New Delhi
Dimapur, Oct. 18 (EMN): It would appear that all but the final move has been made on the political chessboard upon which representatives of the government of India and the different Naga groups have been plotting to checkmate one another for more than two decades now.
After the NSCN (IM) accused New Delhi of trying to nullify the ‘framework agreement’ and using a section of Naga people to hijack the outcome of talks, the government of India has now returned the fire by charging NSCN (IM) of adopting a “procrastinating attitude” as well as “imputing imaginary content” to the ‘framework agreement.”
The Centre’s interlocutor for the peace talks, RN Ravi issued a statement claiming that the public consultation held on Friday was a direct offshoot of the “unfortunate attitude” of some NSCN (IM) leaders.
“The government of India under the dynamic and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been determined and diligent to honourably conclude the Naga peace process, which has been going on for the last over 22 years. As a result, the Naga peace process, in the last five years, has become truly inclusive and reached the conclusion stage. All Naga armed groups are engaged with the government of India’s interlocutor and have worked out the draft final settlement.
“Primary stakeholders—tribal and civil society organisations from Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam were involved in the peace process and made valuable contributions through regular consultations and insightful inputs. The church leaders with their constant prayers and goodwill have immensely contributed to the cause of enduring peace.
“It is a matter of great satisfaction that agreements with NSCN (IM) on August 3, 2015 and with seven Naga armed groups under the banner of Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) on November 17, 2017 on the political parameters of the settlement were signed. A mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement,” read the statement.
However, Ravi claimed, the NSCN (IM) has adopted a procrastinating attitude ‘to delay the settlement, raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution.’ He accused the Naga group of ‘mischievously dragging in the framework agreement’ and ascribing imaginary content to it.
“Some NSCN (I-M) leaders through various media platforms are misleading the people with absurd assumptions and presumptions over what they have already agreed with the government of India,” the statement read.
Friday’s consultation meeting was attended by the apex leadership of all the 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, all the minority non-Naga tirbes of Nagaland, Nagaland GB Federation, Nagaland Tribes Council, church leaders and civil society organisations, it informed.
“The framework agreement with NSCN (IM) and the Agreed Position with the WC of NNPGs were extensively shared with the leaders, pertinent issues discussed, and doubts in competencies clarified. Political maturity and wisdom of the Naga leaders who expressed their overwhelming support in favour of a settlement without any further delay is deeply appreciated,” it stated.
According to Ravi, ‘respecting the wish of the Naga people’, New Delhi is determined to conclude the peace process without delay. “Endless negotiation under the shadow of guns is not acceptable. The government of India expects all negotiating parties to heed the will of the people and facilitate conclusion of the Naga peace process within the stipulated time.”
‘Two-and-half hour interaction was positive’
Kohima, Oct. 18 (EMN): Ravi’s consultation with the stakeholders lasted for two-and-half hours; except for IPR personnel, journalists were not allowed inside the conference hall of Hotel Japfü.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, a church leader, who did not wish to be named, said that the government of India was clear on its stand that the issue should not be prolonged any further. According to the leader, few civil societies were ‘impatient’ but there were other who maintained that ‘patience must be exercise to avoid bloodshed’.
Describing the meeting as ‘positive’, the leader said that Ravi’s presentation as well as the stance of the civil societies was clear: there should not be delay.
KT Vilie, the coordinator of the forum representing 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, said that the government of India ‘might take some action by the end of this month.’ He said that New Delhi wants to solve the Naga issue as soon as possible.
The president of the Senior Citizens Association, Nagaland, Khekiye Sema said: “We must get back to the people for better or for worse. Let there be a complete understanding of all the people in Nagaland to come forward to agree that the solution, no matter what the consequences, go ahead; if the people say that in cohesion, then it is fine.”
FNR pleads for restraint
Dimapur, Oct. 18 (EMN): Citing ‘our tense and fragile context’, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) has appealed to the Naga political groups to exercise restraint in their media statements and iron out differences through dialogue.
The forum issued a statement on Friday urging the Naga groups, particularly the NNPGs and the NSCN (IM), to avoid “media-confrontation”—reasoning that this was only harming Naga society and rendering the people more vulnerable to further division.
“Nagas are at a turning point, especially as the climate of fear, suspicion, confusion, division and uncertainty threatens to overwhelm us. Yet, we are also called to be honest, sincere, mindful and discerning as we navigate our way through the present daily challenges,” read the statement.
Asserting that the Naga national issue needs to be discussed with responsible and far-sighted contemplative engagement, the FNR urged the NNPGs and NSCN (IM) to “meet, address all outstanding differences through dialogue and explore finding common ground”.
It also stated that the FNR remains impartial and committed to Naga reconciliation on the basis of Naga historical and political rights. “We appreciate the Naga national groups for upholding their commitment to the Covenant of Naga Reconciliation. We believe that even in this difficult situation, the principle of reconciliation will be upheld in letter and spirit.”
The forum called for ‘healing leadership and visionary statesmanship’ from the Naga groups to address all differences and find common ground.