Nagaland legislators discuss Naga political issue
Kohima, Feb. 17 (EMN): As many as 10 legislators from both the ruling and opposition expressed their concerns on Naga political issue which was the major topic of discussion on day-three of the ongoing Assembly session on Tuesday, in Kohima.
While giving suggestions, many members in the House appealed to do way with party affiliations and come together in unison even as they expedite the ongoing Naga political issue as facilitators.
Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang, said that Naga political issue is not about “who is right but about what is right for the Nagas”, while reminding that “as elected representatives of the people, and facilitators,” all the elected members in the House have a big role to play in bridging the gap and differences between the Naga negotiating groups.
However, such bridging could start only when they ‘stop to take sides and stop playing the role of a judge by determining who is right but rather striving towards what is best and right for the Nagas,’ he reminded the House.
Zeliang also maintained that the Political Affairs Mission (PAM) of the NPF has time and again reiterated its stand that there should be “One solution, one accord.”
“During the course of PAM consultation with various CSOs and the Naga Negotiating groups, we understood that everyone was in line with this and willing to wholeheartedly support one solution,” he claimed.
Referring to the resolution adopted by the PDA government on October 15, 2020, he reminded that the ruling government must take the lead as they have also taken a similar stand which is, “One solution for one people”.
Stating that some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes and that mistakes are meant “for learning, not repeating,” Zeliang said, it is time they learn from it and bring out a tenable solution. “From the 9-Point Naga-Akbar Hyderi Accord in July 1947 to the 16th Point Agreement on July 26, 1960, and further the November 11, 1975, Shillong Accord, saying none of them had managed to bring about lasting peace and tenable solution to our land.
“The main cause of disagreement in all these stemmed from the fact that while the signatories were visionary Naga leaders, the leaders from the underground were not taken into confidence at the time of signing the Agreement. And this resulted in the present day imbroglio and peace continues to elude us till date,” Zeliang added.
He continued that many governments have come and gone at the Centre and that “no positive step taken in black and white by any prime minister toward Naga political solution like Narendra Modi in signing the Framework Agreement”.
He maintained that Naga people by and large “are confused because of the contradiction statement between interlocutor, RN Ravi and NSCN (IM) on blaming each other for changing the goal post of Framework Agreement”. He therefore, reminded that 59 members to rise up beyond political colours and apprise the Government of India (GOI) to work out a formula with political will power to bring out a “concrete proposal in black and white and place before the Naga negotiating group for sustainable Agreement which should be acceptable, honourable and inclusive”.
He also acknowledged Narasimha Rao, former prime minister, who declared that “Naga issue is a political issue.” He added that AB Vajpayee, who came to Kohima, had declared “Naga history is unique and solution will be according to unique history of the Nagas.” He went on to add that Narendra Modi, the present prime minister under “whose political will power Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, followed with an Agreed Position signed on November 17, 2017”.
Toyang Chang initiated and opened the floor of the House for discussion on matters relating to the Naga political issue and stated that if one retrospect on the Naga conflict for the past 60 years, “it has only resulted in fear, chaos, confusion, mistrust, economic imbalance etc. More so, our society seems to be emotionally disoriented and have hence lost direction”.
“The Naga identity on one hand and the need for change and paving a new path on the other has led to a dilemma. Today the fact of the matter is that the Naga voice is divided along two ideologies i.e. the need to fight till the end for the so called Naga cause or to embrace change,” he said, adding, “It is a challenging time for all of us and it is high time that we prepare a road map and take the right decision”.
“The common people feel that we should be realistic and pragmatic in our approach and learn to evolve with changing time,” he said, stating that the world suffers not because of the violence of bad people but silence of good people, with the responsibilities bestowed upon the legislators by people. “It’s time we unite and voice out in unison to achieve our goal,” Chang added.
Stating that the House has on several occasions passed resolutions for Integration of all contiguous Naga inhabited areas into a single unit, MLA Chotisuh Sazo asked to reiterate on the same resolution.
“Nagaland state has evolved out of political agreement. So, let us reiterate that the Government of India should honour and implement what has been agreed in the past,” he appealed.
The deputy chief minister, Y Patton, stated that significant steps in the recent past has given an “impetus to the peace process by PDA government under the leadership of Neiphiu Rio, and that on October 15, 2020, the state government convened a consultative meeting with the representatives of all the tribal hohos, civil society organisations, political parties, former parliamentarians and various public leaders.
Patton has also made an appeal to all the negotiating parties to show an “even higher level of determination, sincerity and commitment for overcoming all the hurdles peacefully, and in the most harmonious manner, that may still be there on the path towards the final solution, and make what has been cherished by our people for very long, reality without any further delay whatsoever”.
Imkong L Imchen
Stating that Naga political issue is a constant movement and more older than the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, Imkong L Imchen said that “Nagas are a distinct race in the human history,” while dwelling on the history of the Naga journey from the era of 1929 Simon Commission to the rounds of talk which continued after prime minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the signing of the Framework Agreement, which is a “cornerstone of the political conflicts.”
However with the signing of the Framework Agreement spearheaded by prime minister Narendra Modi, “so many for and against opinions emerged within the Naga society”.
He said ‘arrogances, uncompromising and rigidity cannot bring out any change and that diplomacy, leadership while understanding of ground reality and being accommodative is the need of the hour’.
As such, the senior legislator has reminded the institution and decision of the House should be taken into a “proper perspective” while focusing on the plight of the people and listening to them.
Maintaining that the government of India has declared a solution for the Nagas, Pohwang Konyak called for a united effort in the Assembly towards the Naga political issue.
Mentioning that almost all the Naga political groups are into a ceasefire with the Central government, he reminded the House to expedite the Naga political issue.
Temjen Imma Along
Temjen Imma Along maintained that the yearning of the ‘Nagas to embrace a peaceful solution at the earliest is resounding in every nook and corner of the state,’ even as the government of the day has been ‘quite positive to facilitate the solution’.
However, he expressed concern that the Nagas of late have been ‘struggling among themselves and not with GOI anymore,’ adding that “We are afraid of our own people”.
Stating that most of the organisations have become ‘diplomatic and rhetoric” in many ways towards political issues be it the people, NGOs or NNPGs, he called upon all the members of the House to come and sit together and head together with GOI for a solution. “Our people need a political solution without vindication, delay and bloodshed,” he said.
Referring to the past, MLA Yitachu said Nagas have only been longing for an identity and peaceful life down the line since 1832 . “We are not challenging anybody, nor trying to create a new history or identity,” he said, adding that “solution should be based on such history”.
He opined that the elected members should face what confront them at the moment and do the needful without any prejudice specially while talking about the Naga issue. “We need to hear the common concern by not blaming each other or taking the issue through a secret mission,” Yitachu said.
He reiterated that the stand of the NPF is consistent with the history and identity of Nagas which he voiced to be secured and protected for the younger generation. The legislator added, saying that the elected members must take a proactive role in taking the issue “forward to the right place”.
Maintaining that the Naga issue concerns the “life and future” of the people, Y Vikheho Swu told the fellow members of the House that it was time to give a little “different approach to the issue,” adding that all the ‘Naga political groups have a relationship with their foundation and connection with all the Nagas”.
“We have come to a time to come to look and support what will be the right for the Nagas,” he said, adding, “Naga political issues needs a human touch and understanding”.
Stating that Nagas have overcome struggles, he implored upon the House with all the senior legislators and elders to come together so that they can accord a “meaningful conclusion to the Naga issue”. “We need to reconstruct the Joint Legislators Forum (JLF) so that we can contribute a meaningful contribution at this defining moment of the history of the Indo-Naga political issue,” he said.
Y Vikheho Swu
Stating that Naga political issue is “concerning with the life and future of the Nagas,” Y Vikheho Swu said it was time the leaders from the House give a “different approach to the issue.”
Maintaining that the “Naga political groups have a relationship with their foundation and a connection with all the Nagas,” he said that time has come to support “what will be the right for the Nagas.”
“The Naga political issue needs a human touch and support,” he said, while imploring upon the House and senior legislators and elders to “come together and accord a “meaningful conclusion to the Naga issue”.
“We need to reconstitute the JLF so that we can contribute meaningful contribution at this defining moment of our history to the Indo-Naga political issue,” Swu said.
G Kaito Aye
G Kaito Aye asked the legislators not to dwell on the past but start pursuing a brighter future for the Naga solution and approach the negotiating groups to sort out what is best for the Nagas. Emphasizing that present problems should be addressed instead of the past’s, he advised the House to bury the hatchet, pursue for the Naga solution and “give hope for our people”.
Appealing to continue with the JLF’s endeavour of bringing about ‘One Agreement, One Solution,’ he reminded his colleagues not to capitalise the Naga issue or make it their own issue but as a common issue with all the stakeholders. As such, Aye felt the need for GOI to respect the peace process.
He sought to continue with the initiative of JLF to reaffirm and rededicate themselves to pursue the issue without any reservation.
Appreciating the coming together of the leader of the House and leader of Opposition to a “consensus press conference,” MLA Chumben Murry said their agreed stand should become the unequivocal stand on the august House cutting across party lines.
However, he said that the legislators have been “a little half hearted” in facilitating the peace process while enough of ice breaking meetings and sharing of minds have taken place. As such, he also urged to go to the “fields and do what needs to be done at the ground level”.
Drafting committee formed
Meanwhile, a drafting committee for Naga political was formed with two legislators each from NDPP, BJP and NPF with an Independent member of the House after the prolonged discussion.
Speaker of the House, Sharingain Longkumer, has announced the names of the committee members which included Tongpang Ozukum from Independent; Jacob Zhimomi and S Pangnyu Phom from BJP; Neiba Kronu and Toshi Wungtung from NDPP; Chotisuh Sazo and Imkong L Imchen from NPF.