Let us deliver Peace & Solution before things get delayed and derailed
Monday, January 30, 2023
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Op-Ed

Let us deliver Peace & Solution before things get delayed and derailed

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By EMN Updated: Jan 16, 2023 10:35 pm
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M Chuba Ao

One should look at things as they stand or rather stare at you. 2022 is bygone and all eyes are on 2023. Will this year bring in the promised peace and prosperity to Nagas? Nagas are awaiting Political solution more than anyone else, We Nagas have to make up our minds.

What do we want? How do we want to achieve what we want? Or should we pursue the ongoing journey to destruction by way of promoting mutual hatred and confrontation?

The peace process has been going on for quite some time now since it started in 1997. According to the Government of India, there is nothing much to discuss and debate as all contentious issues have been discussed. As a stakeholder, the NNPG is also reportedly keen to ink the peace pact. There are issues flagged off by the NSCN-IM. Each stakeholder in such a dialogue process has their own priorities and are within their rights to raise matters at the negotiating tables. The Modi government has given due importance to all and also displayed utmost sincerity and statecraft in guiding the peace process. Prime Minister Modi ji is more than keen for a peaceful resolution of the issues. As the leader of 135 crore Indians, he has shown deep concerns for the development-starved north east region including Nagaland state and other pockets inhabited by Naga brothers.

Governor R N Ravi was shifted as our BJP government wanted to show that nothing matters more than the solution and peace for Nagas. But what has been the response from the other side?

The 1997 cease fire agreement has entered 25th year. If a cadre is waiting for good time to come, is he at fault? Many have died and several others have grown old to serve. After the 2015, I am sure, the Framework Agreement, underground cadres were waiting to take up an opportunity to serve in the ‘mainstream’. Getting over aged; and I am sure now any rehabilitation for old age or over age may become a difficult proposition.

We Nagas have to be reasonable. We have to understand that our own whims and fancies cannot decide a government policy. The government has its own set of rules and regulations; some of them required to be amended in Parliament. Honestly, we Nagas want the GoI to solve our problem, we never understood their difficulties.

Insurgency has killed many innocent civilians in the name of anti-Naga stirs and politics both underground and overground. But today, we Nagas do not want bloodshed.

The Naga civil society is very powerful. In 2017 when Nagas opposed local body elections, the 17 day strike at secretariat didn’t allow anyone to function.

Old secretariat was burnt down and even elected members, govt officials were not allowed to move around. What if such a situation revisit us on important issue like the Naga peace. Thus, my appeal to the NSCN IM is think about our Naga people their future. Last few years with PM Narendra Modi at the helms, we have seen other states in the region develop very fast. Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are showing tremendous results; but the same things cannot be told about Nagaland.

We are missing out in development, our youths are getting jobless and getting frustrated. In some regions, people are already facing the urgency to opt for tightening of belts. The days of free lunch and rampant corruption are now vanishing. But we Nagas have not able to learn many important lessons. Someone is taking Nagas and especially Nagas of Nagaland for granted and playing with our future.

The fight is on for 60-70 years and the people’s sufferings continue.

At this stage, I know the NSCN-IM and some of their associates may not be happy with me. What can an elderly person – practically left alone in personal life – think and say — I have to give my life for the people of Nagaland for peace; and yes, I am ready for it. By historical circumstances, Nagas got scattered into various states and even countries — India and Myanmar. Now it will not be fair to presume or hope that other states’ boundaries and other nation’s interests will be compromised to make us Nagas happy, or solve our problems. That’s the reality. It may be unfortunate and bitter facts, but they reflect the reality of our times. Let us take a pragmatic approach and embrace Solution for lasting peace and development.

Our generation of Naga elders owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our younger generation. Here comes the test of our Naga maturity. ‘Nagas of Nagaland’ as we generally use the term these days are all for Solution and lasting peace. Our brothers in other states also appreciate our stand. Naga groups and influential leaders in Assam and other states have more than once stated that they are all for a lasting peace in Nagaland and elsewhere. The world is no longer ready to take up arms and opt for jungle life as was the case in the 1970s and the 1980s.

Why then prolong a solution which is at our doorsteps?

There is a new fashion statement now and everybody is trying to blame the Govt of India. People say New Delhi has not taken things seriously. But Govt of India is waiting for its ‘prodigal son’ to return home. At times even unreasonable demands have been entertained. Governor Ravi was shifted. But how long the people of Nagaland state will now wait for the Solution? Are we not trying to sabotage things at our levels? How has our elected state government and elected MLAs behaved? Why so much loot and corruption when money flow was on? Where is the money going?

Every time a new agenda is thrust or created. Sovereignty, integration, and now Constitution and a separate Flag. Can a Naga himself give up Flag if he is Prime Minister or Home Minister of India? The civil society organisations can do a lot. Most of them if not all have promised to work for peace and solution. NTC, CNTC, NGBF, APAC, and all the Tribal Hohos are ready to accept Solution.

Even ENPO in Eastern Nagaland wants Solution, then what are we waiting for?

Nagas deserve peace and development more than anyone else. Our Bharatiya Janata Party guided by the spirit of Vasudeva Kutumbakam and Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas want to help all Naga brothers in our state of Nagaland and also those in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The onus is on us to grab the opportunity.

Is it wise to drag things for years and decades when they are no longer relevant under the present conditions? ‘Solution’ as we are talking is nothing concrete or a set of new mechanisms. Solution will mean continuity with the present status quo but we can ensure Peace, Mutual Tolerance and Development for All.

Our legislators in Nagaland and even the so-called Core Committee have tried their best. Maybe they should have done more, but it will be difficult for them as well to face the people of Nagaland state yet again. If a solution has not come, they cannot say ‘we are nobody’ and hence Solution is the responsibility of the Government of India alone. Facilitators means something more than what they have been stating and doing all these years. It is time the elected MLAs also are made to see the Mirror. Where has the money meant for underdeveloped people vanished? That’s only one question.

Next comes the roles of civil society. Has it done enough, or can it do more? Who can pursue our Naga leaders and ‘stakeholders’ in the peace process if the civil society opt for a passive and a rather meaningless indifferent role? Another term used for civil society is ‘pressure group’. These pressure groups cannot simply say our roles are over once we put ‘pressure’ on the Government of India. They too have certain roles to carry out.

The Govt of India and the BJP understand how ‘half the mess in Naga society’ is created by certain political ideologies.

If the Modi Government fails to deliver peace and solution to Nagas, it will take a few decades more to come to the ‘crossroads’ we are in today by the turn of the calendar year 2023. It is up to Naga people to make the year historic.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his cabinet have tried things under various names, politics affairs committee, core committee etc. even NPF tried in the name of PAM; but no results. They blame the GoI. All the civil society also blame GoI. The NSCN (IM) also blames the centre. Blame game is not a solution. Everyone should understand the problem faced by the central Govt. too.

It is a natural phenomenon that the old and aging leadership should make way for younger lots. In the BJP, the young leadership is always encouraged. It is time most of our Naga organisations should also understand the importance of youth power.

Let us deliver before things go out of our hands.

(M Chuba Ao is BJP national Vice President)

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By EMN Updated: Jan 16, 2023 10:35:00 pm