NSCN-IM fumes over delay in FA implementation
IMPHAL, 2nd Aug: On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the signing of Framework Agreement (FA) with the Government of India (GoI), Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim (GPRN/NSCN-IM) said “something unthinkable emanating from Kohima Raj Bhawan has taken over the scene while FA remains in cold storage for the past five years”.
The NSCN-IM signed FA with GoI at New Delhi on August 3, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. RN Ravi was given the honour to sign on behalf of the GoI and from the NSCN-IM side it was appended by chairman (late) Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Th Muivah.
Ironically, after five years while the FA has been put in cold storage, something unthinkable emanating from the Raj Bhawan in Kohima has taken over the scene. But the ulterior motive behind such move has forced the Nagas to point fingers against RN Ravi, India’s interlocutor to Indo-Naga political talks. As seen in the verbal tone of RN Ravi, he has upped the ante against the Naga political groups as he brazenly used slanderous terminology like ‘armed gangs’, ‘underground groups’. But what has directly pricked the consciousness of the Naga people at large is when Ravi went for the profiling. He made the Nagaland state government to issue Office Memorandum on July 7, 2020 to all the administrative heads of departments seeking information from employees about their relations with the Naga underground groups, NSCN-IM said in a statement adding that every Naga families are connected with the Naga political groups in one way or the other.
What has driven the Naga people far away from Ravi is his deceptive manner of handling the FA as he deceitfully went beyond the call of interlocutor to indulge himself in playing divisive game among the Nagas to dismantle the very foundation of FA. This has, therefore, created a huge trust deficit on the GoI. The way forward with regard to the fate of FA is now faced with deep ambivalence. But the GoI must undo the environment of mistrust being built over the time because it should not take recourse to unethical means to circumvent any conceived obstacles. What has been mutually agreed upon should be honoured in letter and spirit and that is the only way forward, the NSCN-IM statement issued by its ministry of information and publicity said.
The NSCN-IM also recalled series of events and dialogues which led to the signing of FA agreement after the declaration of the second Indo-Naga ceasefire on August 1, 1997.
Despite the failure of the Indo-Naga peace talks that took place after the first Indo-Naga ceasefire in 1964, the fire of Naga political struggle has been kept burning. There was intense military operation to suppress the Naga political movement. When NSCN took over the banner in 1980, the struggle was taken to a greater height both in military strength and international campaign. Finally, Indian Army generals admitted the futility of attempting to subdue the Naga political struggle by military means. This prompted the GoI to take the move for political talks with NSCN-IM. So, after more than thirty years, the GoI under the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao picked up the thread as he established contact with NSCN-IM leaders abroad. He met NSCN leaders in Paris (France) with the words ‘We invited you for political talks because people are with you. The issue is with you and you have proved yourselves’.
NSCN-IM, however, took the stand that it will enter into political negotiation with the GoI only after GoI recognised the Naga issue as political and not as India’s ‘Internal Law and Order Issue’. The second-Indo-Naga ceasefire was thus declared on August 1, 1997 and it was agreed that the political dialogue shall be at the highest level, i.e. Prime Minister level, without pre-condition and outside India in a third country. As per agreement, several rounds of talks were held in third countries like Paris (France), New York (USA), The Hague (Netherlands), Bangkok and Chiangmai (Thailand), Zurich (Geneva), Osaka (Japan), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Vienna (Austria) and Milan (Italy).
The turning point of Indo-Naga political talks came in 2002 when the Joint Communique of Amsterdam, July 11, 2002 was signed to give GoI’s official recognition to the unique history and situation of the Nagas. Henceforth, the Indo-Naga political talks found a strong foothold as talks were deeply planted from the realistic point of view.
A time came when the GoI invited NSCN-IM leadership chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary and chief negotiator Th Muivah to come to Delhi to facilitate more frequency of interactions. So, in December 2002 they came to New Delhi.
It was in the year 2010 during the interlocutorship of RS Pandey when the Indo-Naga political negotiations gained new momentum. To push forward for an honourable political settlement, GoI submitted its first comprehensive official response to the NSCN-IM in New Delhi. The proposal was made that political dialogue should move forward on the principle of ‘Shared Sovereignty’.
After undergoing several rounds of talks it gave birth to the signing of the much hyped Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 at the official residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was a defining moment as it was arranged as a high profile political programme where all the dignitaries who matters from both sides were present. The world was made to witness as it was live telecast on different TV channels.
The concluding remark of FA said: ‘It is a matter of great satisfaction that dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN has successfully concluded and we are confident it will provide for an enduring new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities.
The two sides agreed that within this Framework Agreement details and execution plan will be worked out and implemented shortly’, the NSCN-IM statement concluded.