Political Settlement: Is the State Government and the Sixty Members of the Nagaland Assembly Responsible for the Delay In Settlement of the Naga Political Problem?
The creation of Nagaland State on 1st December, 1963 was a clear indication of Government of India’s desire to solve the Naga political problem and to usher in peace and prosperity to Nagaland. Thus, the Naga people were given the power, responsibility and opportunity to govern their own affairs.
In the history of the Nagas, for the first time, a responsible and popular Government was formed by the Nagaland Nationalist Organisation (NNO) in January, 1964. Since then the successive State Government of Nagaland has set itself to the task of running responsible Government with firm determination to solve the Naga Political Problem and to bring peace and development to Nagaland.
Most immediate and supreme task for the Government of Nagaland was to put an end to hostilities and uncertainties by creating and goodwill among the people, and to restore normal conditions in the State. In the meanwhile, God gave a vision to the Baptist Church leaders to form a Peace Mission in the Third Baptist Church Convention at Wokha in 1964. The proposal to form a Peace Mission consisting of Mr. B. P. Chaliha, Mr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Mr. Shankar Rao Deo and Rev. Michael Scott in February, 1964 was approved by the NNO party in Dimapur Session in February, 1964. The Government of Nagaland, after careful consideration, agreed to the proposal and introduced a Government Resolution in the Nagaland Assembly which was passed unanimously on 13th March, 1964.
The Peace Mission as well as the Church leaders worked hard to affect a stoppage of operations. An agreement was signed for cessation of hostilities on 25th May, 1964 and a period of stoppage of operation was effected from 6th September, 1964.
The first round of Peace talks was held at Chedema on September 23, 1964 between the Government of India delegation and the Underground Naga representatives. After 9-rounds of talks in the official levels, the underground leaders wanted to have talks with the Prime Minister of India.
The NNO party and the State Government having pledged to bring peace and political settlement, declared that they will not stand in the way, and allowed the underground leaders to have direct talks with the Prime Minister. This is the reason why the underground leaders could hold six rounds of peace talks with the Prime Minister.
In a series of meetings between the Government of India and the underground leaders, the question of settlement was discussed but nothing concrete came out of the talks. When it became clear that there could be no way out in arriving at a political settlement, the Peace Mission proposed a formula whereby ‘the Naga should of their own volition decide to participate in the Indian Union; while the Government of India would consider to what extent the pattern and structure of relationship between Nagaland and the Government of India should be adapted and recast so as to satisfy the aspirations of all sections of Naga opinion’.
At once the State Government hailed the Peace Mission proposal and appeal to all concerned to seriously consider the proposal in the interest of mutual peace and existence. This proposal was supported by all the Church leaders and the entire public of Nagaland with great hope and expectation that at last a ray of hope was raised in the horizon. However, the underground leaders completely ignored the Peace Mission proposal and discarded the desire and wishes of the Naga public.
The Government of India made their position amply clear to the underground that any talks with them could only be on the basis of Nagaland’s continuance as a constituent State within the Indian Union. However, the sixth and final round of talks by the underground with the Government of India came to a deadlock because the underground did not come down from their original stand for sovereignty. Since there was no meeting ground for further negotiation, the underground left Delhi in a huff in October, 1967.
On 5th February, 1993, in the Congress Party election Rally at Dimapur Stadium, Shri. P. V. Narasimha Rao, the Prime Minister and the Congress President, announced that the Naga problem is a ‘Political Problem’; and after that an emissaries such as late Rajesh Pilot and others were assigned to contacts the NSCM (IM) leaders and the Ceasefire Agreement was signed in August,1997. And on August 3, 2015, between the Government of India Interlocutor, Shri. R. N. Ravi and the NSCM (IM), leaders signed the ‘Frame Works Agreement. On November 17, 2017, between the Government of India Interlocutor, Shri. R. N. Ravi and the NNPGS leaders Working Committee signed Agreed Position for Resolution of Naga Political Issue. The State Government and the political parties in Nagaland are not the contending party(s). The contending parties are the Government of India and the various groups of Naga national workers. Right from the year 1964, after 1st General election in Nagaland State, the political parties stands have been to work for the solution of the vexed Naga political problem and to bring the contending parties to negotiating table and declared that they would not stand on the way for solution of the problem. The Political parties have also promised in their respective Manifesto that as and when the Agreement is signed for the final solution, the elected members of the Nagaland Legislative will pave the way for the implementations of the agreement. Therefore, the question of resignation of MLAs without such agreement for final solution does not arise.
Shri. Chingwang Konyak President,
Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party