NSCN-IM accuses Ravi of tweaking FA truce
IMPHAL, 11th Aug: The Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim (GPRN/NSCN-IM) has said that Indo-Naga political talks is in a state of simmering tension and it has reached the tipping point all because of interlocutor RN Ravi’s vitriolic attacks on the Naga issue.
All the hard works of 23 years of Indo-Naga political talks having passed through six successive Prime Ministers are coming to nauseating end because of the mischief that keeps boiling in the hands of RN Ravi who has become more a liability than anything else.
The much hyped Framework Agreement (FA) which is the fruition of the recognition of the unique history and situation of the Naga by the Government of India (GoI) was signed in 2015 to form the basis for final settlement of Naga issue. Catastrophic as it is, FA is now undergoing castration at the hands of the very person who co-authored it with NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Th Muivah, the NSCN-IM said in a statement, adding this is the crux of the Indo-Naga political talks now.
The issue is now in the court of the Government of India and it should come out with an undertaking that FA is still alive in its original form and to be handled by somebody other than RN Ravi, who is sensitive enough to understand and respect what has been achieved during the past 23 years. Ironically, the sanctity of Naga political legitimacy comes under assault when Ravi made a tumultuous turn using slanderous terms like ‘armed gangs’ & ‘underground groups’ against the very groups he has been talking for years. The tipping point comes when he ordered the Nagaland state government to issue office memorandum requiring all state government employees to self-declare their relations with the ‘Naga underground groups’. This is the bone of contention that has cropped up as Naga people cried foul over such outmoded policy that does no longer fit into the present scheme of things to end a century old Naga political issue.
For quite sometimes Ravi was under NSCN-IM’s scanner when he twisted the Framework Agreement and misled the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the steps taken to solve the Naga issue. The fact is that Framework Agreement is outside the purview of Indian Federation/Constitution. But in his report furnished to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, RN Ravi manipulated in his own narrative that is far from the actual meaning as very unambiguously worded in layman’s language in the original copy of FA.
According to the parliamentary report 213, Chapter III Naga Peace Accord index number 3, 1 clause 3.1.4, it read “In 2015, the GoI reached an understanding with the NSCN (IM) which agreed for settlement within Indian Federation with special status. The Interlocutor informed the committee that this was a departure from their earlier position of ‘with India’, not ‘within India’ and the GoI called it Framework Agreement and signed it”. Again, clause 3.1.18 stated that “Framework Agreement was just about the recognition of uniqueness of Naga history by GoI and an understanding that inclusive settlement will be within the Indian Federation with due regards to the uniqueness of the Naga history. However, the interlocutor stated that it was implied in the agreement that some special arrangement will have to be made for the Nagas”.
For public scrutiny, the NSCN-IM also publicised RN Ravi’s modified Framework Agreement by removing ‘new’ a single word to suit his interpretation.
According to the NSCN-IM statement, Ravi craftily deleted the word ‘new’ from the original to justify his own narrative and circulated to the 14 tribe leaders, NNPGs, NTC and Nagaland GB Federation. These people are simply carried away by his manoeuvrable talking and made to believe him and portrayed the NSCN-IM on the wrong side. Today, this misplaced interpretation of “it will provide for an enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities” has become the point of conflict that delayed the process for solution. Significantly, the word ‘new’ is politically sensitive as it goes to define the meaning of peaceful co-existence of the two entities (two sovereign powers). Further, “NEW relationship” strongly indicates outside the purview of Indian Constitution. When “NEW” is removed there is room for misinterpreting it as under Indian Constitution. It is a matter of indignation for the Naga people when Ravi went for the perversity as he insulted the NSCN-IM negotiating team using un-parliamentary language in the official talk stating “this can be understood even by Class VII students that it mean acceptance of the Indian Constitution”. The worst official talk took place on January 30, 2020 at Chumukedima, Nagaland and the NSCN-IM negotiating team cannot forget the unethical deadline given by Ravi to sign the Naga agreement on or before October 31, 2019. Earlier to this in his diatribe against NSCN-IM, Ravi said NSCN-IM has ‘mischievously’ dragged the Framework Agreement and began imputing imaginary contents into it, the NSCN-IM statement said and maintained that NSCN-IM never adopted procrastinating attitude as repeatedly slandered by Ravi.
What matters is the contentious issues that has to be sorted out with mutual respect and understanding. Taking unilateral decision on the timeline is never a part of the negotiation that has travail more than 23 years. Sanctity of the talk must never be sidelined. Ravi is a person with divisive mentality and has applied it to the hilt among the Nagas. He took the unilateral decision to deviate from what was started by the pioneers of the 2nd Indo-Naga Ceasefire that has taken the peace process this far. From nowhere Ravi created NNPGs as third party/force against the bilateral talk of the GoI and the NSCN. Ravi used to harp on that issue is one, so there will be one solution. But he signed separate agreement with NNPGs and later used this group to counterweigh the NSCN-IM. Earlier, Ravi in his seeming openness told NSCN-IM negotiating team that he will not have any parallel talks with NNPGs other than to brief them on the core issues discussed and agreed between GoI and NSCN-IM.
In his first meeting with NNPGs he simply said that they have nothing, no proposal at all. There was an occasion during formal talk when we raised the issue of NNPGs whether it should be included in the final settlement. Ravi replied, “I have got written assurance from them that they would never disturb the talk between us. If they try to disturb our talk I can kick them out”. “I have asked them to board”. Now the pertinent question is, what Ravi is going to do with the ‘Agreed Position’ he signed with NNPGs. Ravi in more than one occasion proved himself as a man lacking principle that stands up to his stature as interlocutor to such high profile political dialogue as he committed breach of confidential documents by circulating the doctored Framework Agreement and Competencies to the Naga leaders that he favoured after removing a word “NEW” that virtually changed the meaning of a sentence in the Framework Agreement.