Within 48 hours nine Naga orgs. want elections deferred
Dimapur, Jan. 8 (EMN): In the matter of mere 48 hours it would appear that most of the major Naga organisations had come to some sort of a collective agreement to pressurise Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defer the forthcoming assembly elections in Nagaland.
The trigger was first pulled on Sun. when four Nagaland-based organisations including the Nagaland Tribes Council, the Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation, the Central Nagaland Tribes Council and the Nagaland GB Federation announced their respective call to the prime minister to defer the elections in the state.
Four more Naga organisations on Mon. issued copies of their respective representation to Modi repeating calls to the prime minister to reschedule the elections and ensure ‘solution’ to the Indo-Naga talks before conducting polls in the state.
“Apparently, the Naga peace Accord is now at its final stage and likely to culminate in a very short time basing on the fact that the Centre’s Interlocutor and the NSCN/GPRN had earlier issued a joint statement that they were closer than ‘ever before to the final settlement and hope to conclude it sooner than later’. RN Ravi, Interlocutor, had also categorically said on 6th July, 2017 during his interaction with Naga Civil societies and media fraternity at Kohima, Nagaland that ‘we are close to a solution and we wanted to have one more round of consultation with the Naga civil society.’
“Most importantly, the 19th Session of 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on 15th December, 2017 has formally adopted resolution on the Naga political issue and urged the government of India (GoI) to take ‘emergent and extraordinary steps’ for ushering in an ‘honourable and acceptable solution’ to the issue before the general elections scheduled in March 2018, besides urging Election Commission of India (ECI) not to announce election schedule until the GoI arrived at a solution. In the same manner, the Ex-Parliamentarians, NSCN/GPRN, six Naga National political groups (NNPGs), tribe Hohos and Naga civil societies are all in support of solution before elections,” the Naga Hoho representation to Modi read.
According to the Naga Hoho: “We understand that timely conduct of elections as per the constitutional provision is a necessity, however, the same can be delayed for a short period for the greater national interest and, particularly, in the interest of the law and order situation in the state of Nagaland. While it is noted that the Supreme Court of India has reiterated the supremacy of the Election Commission to decide upon the time-frame for elections, yet, at the same time the Supreme Court of India has also observed that there may be certain circumstances which may warrant a delay in the holding of Elections.
“In view of the exceptional situation prevailing in the state of Nagaland as a result of the ongoing negotiations of the Naga peace Accord, the notification for conducting elections at this juncture is fraught with complications. It is the unanimous view of the Naga people that the political solution/ Naga peace Accord is more important than elections and therefore it has become imperative that the elections to the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland be deferred for peace and tranquillity.
Naga Mothers’ Association
The Naga Mothers’ Association made available to the media its letter to Modi in which the organisation echoed the call to postpone the elections to the Nagaland state assembly.
“The aspirations of Naga women for peace and a solution to the prolonged Naga political issue lies at the heart and home of every Naga mother, wife, sister and daughter who have lost thousands of our loved ones to the Naga cause of freedom…for years we have seen and followed the ongoing peace talks and at this stage in our political history it is imperative that due chance must be given for the ongoing peace dialogue with different political groups to take its course and the electoral process be postponed for some time, till the peace talk is resolved,” the NMA statement read.
The NMA also objected to the recent declaration of Nagaland as a disturbed area. “Since 1958, the Nagas have suffered inhuman atrocities and violations of human rights under the immunity of Armed Forces and impunity of the AFSPA. We urge your esteem office to reconsider the imposition of this draconian law in the midst of the peace process and prove that the government of India truly speaks the language of peace.
“That, the NMA shares our deep concern for the necessity to consider a ceasefire again between the NSCN K and the government of India to bring about lasting peace,” it read.
Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation
The Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) issued a copy of its representation submitted to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
“…we take this opportunity to apprise to your kind knowledge that, in view of the final stage of negotiations for arriving at an honourable solution to the Naga political issue and other important matters pertaining to eastern Nagaland, the ENPO held a public level crucial consultative meet on 21st December 2017 and whereby, after day long agitated deliberations on the issue, it unanimously resolved to urge the govt. of India to amicably resolve the protracted Naga political issue, acceptable, honorable and beneficial to all as desired by the Naga public in general before declaration of election to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, 2018.
“…as such, declaring and holding of election without solving the vexed Naga political problem would only invite misunderstanding and misgivings among the people. May we therefore, appeal the Union Home Minister, GoI to take up the matter to a higher level deliberations (sic) and give chance to the Naga people to live peacefully,” it read.
Additionally, two more Nagaland-based organisations issued separate statements informing of their respective support to the calls made by various Naga organisations to defer elections.
Indigenous Minority Tribes of Nagaland
A conglomeration of the ‘indigenous aboriginal recognized tribes of Nagaland’ consisting of the Kuki, the Kachari, the Garo, and the Mikir / Karbi forming the Indigenous Minority Tribes of Nagaland (IMTN) on Mon. stated that it had appealed to the govt. of India “to defer the upcoming state assembly (sic) to be held in early 2018 in order to expedite and have smooth negotiations for a final solution encompassing all state holder (sic).”
The organisation declared in the statement: “IMTN is apprehensive that if an election is held at this crucial juncture when a serious negotiations and discussions are being carried out with both the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and NSCN (IM), it may distract and hamper the ongoing political negotiations.
“IMTN appeal to the GOI to postpone the forthcoming election in Nagaland keeping in mind the sentiment of the larger stakeholders whose dreams and aim is to see that the long decade old Naga political movement is amicably settled taking all state holders on board, so that a better future is created for all the people away from the era of insecurity and destructions of both human as well as properties for almost 70 years”.
Western Sumi Hoho
“The Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) firmly supports the stand of the CNTC and various other organisations on the postponement of the state assembly elections, and hence appealed (sic) to the govt. of India to postpone it so that a final solution on the vexed Naga political issue would be arrived at the earliest without any hindrance,” stated a press release from the WSH.
Holding of the state assembly elections ‘at this crucial moment when a solution is at the door’, it stated, would be a missed golden opportunity for the Nagas. “The Western Sumi Hoho feels that if the govt. of India is truly sincere in resolving the decades old Naga imbroglio, then it would give it more importance in working out solution and will never let all those efforts and sacrifices of the civil societies go in waste rather than conducting elections.
“The hoho, therefore urges the govt. of India, the interlocutor of the Naga peace talks and the Election Commission of India that this matter be taken up as people’s foremost wish. Conducting elections in the state at this present moment will only create chaos, confusion, disorder and more divisions which will jeopardize the ongoing peace talks. Elections will come and elections will go but such opportune moment may never come again so the hoho appeals every right thinking Nagas to stand united in this issue,” the statement read.