Pieces of the Naga Puzzle
What started as one and for a common cause broke into pieces over time with each Naga political group claiming to have the mandate of the people and projecting itself as the main stakeholder of the Naga political issue. The more the Naga political groups (NPGs) projected themselves as the “legitimate” one, the more they fell apart. This divide immensely impacted Naga society, polarising and confusing the public. The scenario appeared to have confused the government of India as well and it could be one of the reasons for signing of two agreements — Framework Agreement with the NSCN (IM) in 2015 and Agreed Position with the WC-NNPG, a conglomeration of several insurgency groups, two years later — for one issue. While it is understandable that the GoI couldn’t sideline any group to achieve the ultimate goal of a permanent solution, a more ideal scenario would have been a joint agreement with all groups as there will be but one solution. Having said that, one thing is very clear- division is not the right approach for a lasting settlement of any issue. This is clearly manifested in the way the Naga issue is heading today. When more than a dozen groups fight differently as rival units, public doesn’t speak the same language and the Centre promises different things to different groups, all towards one goal of resolving an issue, confusion and delay are inevitable. Hence, the need for finding a way to fit these puzzle pieces for an amicable conclusion arose, and the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) stepped in to facilitate this much-needed task. It is commendable.
The effort of the FNR to reconcile various Naga political groups resulted in the signing of the “Covenant of Reconciliation” in 2009 with a few groups resolving to work together in the spirit of love, nonviolence, peace and respect to resolve outstanding issues among themselves. It was like a beacon of hope for the people, who were caught in the crossfire, as fratricidal strife turned bloody. It, no doubt, was instrumental in the cessation of bloodshed among the NPGs. After more than a decade, the FNR has once again brought it back; this time the NSCN (IM) and WC-NNPG have resolved to honour it through a “joint accordant”. It is to be seen if this move will result in a positive outcome but it surely brings hope at a time when confusion looms large over the fate of the Naga political issue. The resolution to refrain from war of words and requesting individuals and organisations to abstain from rhetoric, assumptions and divisive agenda, was another welcome move. Now, they should not disappoint the public by making a mockery of the covenant. The public too should refrain from divisive policies and hate-mongering for personal gains. We should remember that it’s much easier to divide than to unite. At the end of the day, the puzzle pieces have to be fitted together to see the complete picture.