Views & Reviews
The Art 371(A) is the Anathema to NSCN (IM)
Quote: “NSCN (IM) leader Kraibo Chawang has stated that Article 371(A) is a road block to Naga political solution…..” Unquote. This statement was published in local papers on 14.10.2023. Kraibo Chawang reiterated what the NSCN (IM) stated the same as I quote, “Thus, Article 371(A) as inserted into the Part XXI of the Indian Constitution in the year 1962 or 16 Point Agreement of 1960, no longer bears any political meaning as the historic Framework Agreement signed between the Nagas as represented by NSCN and Government of India on 3rd August, 2015 has come into existence to nullify all the past acts of injustice to the Nagas and bring new solution/agreement that is honourable and acceptable”. Unquote, and dated 27.5.2023. I had already reacted to the May 27, 2023 statement and therefore my reaction is to the October 14, 2023 assertion in particular.
The inbuilt hatred and envy of NSCN (IM) against the Statehood of Nagaland is once again reiterated by NSCN (IM) leaders. The Statehood of Nagaland was created out of the 16 Points Memorandum to GoI by the then Naga peoples’ Convention (NPC) by which the Art 371(A) was enacted by Indian Parliament and incorporated it in the Constitution of India. Literally speaking, the very Art gave birth to the Statehood of Nagaland. Therefore, Nagaland State is Art 371(A) and the same Art 371(A) is Nagaland. Had there not been the Art 371(A), there would never have been the Statehood of Nagaland. In other words, had there not been Art 371(A), Nagaland would have remained as a district in Assam till today.
Whatever might have been the developmental infrastructures which are the assets of the public, the moveable/immoveable assets of the private individuals, the white collar or blue collar jobs by which people survive, and the regular funds that flow to Nagaland from Delhi are the sheer direct results of the Statehood of Nagaland. Similar assets, both immoveable and moveable so owned by those of the cadres belonging to every group of Naga National Movement are the fruits being harvested by each individual from the State exchequer. So much material benefits have been accumulated by the Nagas including the Nagas from Manipur in the name of Naga Independent movement are the fruits of the Art 371(A). Had it not been the Art 371(A), such illegal and unabated taxations from the public would have been a mere wishful thinking had Nagaland remained a District in Assam. Years of observations proved that hardly few cadres stand for the genuine Naga political cause, and the rest are pseudo only befooling and exploiting the timid indigenous Nagas of Nagaland for their economic greed. Always taking advantage of the subservience of the locals of Nagaland, the cadres from Manipur in particular have the culture of exerting their diktat upon the indigenous Nagas who virtually become the secondary citizens in their own land. The Nagas from other States would not have wielded so much power had the State Govt. of Nagaland not been in league with them. Their inseparable partnership has placed the indigenous citizens of Nagaland in dire strait. And as for the Nagas of Nagaland in particular, we are the victim of our own timidity and venality. As we declined to uphold and stand for the truth, we have been harvesting the fruit of our subservience. Sweet or bitter, this is the ground reality to speak the least.
Can NSCN (IM) give legal justification that “Art 371(A) is a road block to Naga political solution?” When NSCN (IM) entered into ceasefire with the GoI in 1997, the Statehood of Nagaland was in its 34th year. The NSCN (IM) was aware of the existence of the Art 371(A) then. If at all, the Art 371(A) stands to be the roadblock to political solution in the wisdom of NSCN (IM), why had it knowing fully entered into ceasefire and dialogue with the GoI? Is it not self-contradictory when NSCN (IM) used to claim that Framework Agreement (FA) of 2015 is outside the purview of the Constitution of India, how could any Art of the Indian Constitution be an obstacle to solution? Targeting the Art 371(A) is out of its sheer inhibition, and it implies that the FA is within the ambit of Indian Constitution as not as it claims. And the so called flag and constitution of NSCN (IM) cannot be achieved in view of the matter being made clear by GoI of its inability to allow such overlapping flag and constitution within a sovereign nation. When the FA is under the Constitution of India, any agreement at best will be as good as the existing Art 371(A) or more probably below the status of Art 371(A). What has been arrogantly promised to the Nagas cannot be fetched is perhaps their frustration.
The last Interlocutor of the GoI Mr. RN Ravi, the former Governor of Nagaland, was determined to resolve the political issue of the Nagas. The Interlocutor, therefore, brought the political negotiations with the WC, 7-NNPG and the NSCN (IM) to a close in October, 2019. The determination of Mr. RN Ravi to bring solution perhaps frightened NSCN (IM), and thus it connived with the State Govt. for the removal of the Interlocutor. Eventually, the Governor/Interlocutor was removed. Since then, the GoI had no mood to appoint another Interlocutor to succeed Mr. RN Ravi. Consequentially, the Naga negotiators placed themselves in odd position as the rest of the political parleys had to be at the level of a mere emissary without political power and much below the status of the Interlocutor as we have asked for it.
Those who were responsible for the removal of the Interlocutor Mr. RN Ravi are indeed solely responsible for the delay of the Naga political solution as his removal became the greatest setback for timely solution. Primarily NSCN (IM) is responsible for the delay or possibly the fiasco of political negotiations. Beside removal of the Interlocutor, any agenda outside the purview of the Framework Agreement is intended to have indefinite negotiation without solution.
The NSCN (IM) remains allergic to truth. What the Honourable MLA Imkong Imchen recently stated in the press dated 25.10.2023 is true and without prejudice. Yet, due to its pathological allergy, it has vehemently refuted and to the extent of character assassination of the elected leader. The pathological allergy to truth is by the inhibition of superiority complex caused by pride. Pride is the number one deadly sin in the Bible.
Let me remind the NSCN (IM) that your decline to be part of the Atlanta talk and reconciliation in 1997 was a great political blunder. Not the Art 371(A) but that terrible chicanery played on the rest of the Nagas have had immense political consequences. Secondly, the moment the GoI invited NSCN (IM) to negotiation table, the latter had the best opportunity to give a clarion call to all the Naga political groups irrespective of the acrimonious past for the sake of common interest. That was the chance to mend the differences and unite the Nagas. The positive or negative response of any group might be left to the public. On the contrary, the NSCN (IM) remained arrogant and preferred to exist as a faction in exclusion as it is bereft of magnanimity. The subsequent so called reconciliations amongst the groups became more of a damp squib despite high profile and expensive sojourns.
I am here reminding the NSCN (IM) to stop pointing finger at the particle in someone’s eye while keeping the plank in its own eyes. It is time for the negotiators, that include the GoI, to bring the negotiations to its conclusion either success or fiasco. Nagaland is tired of being the host of 26 years of negotiations. Stop using the means as the end.