The Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) categorically said that “the Naga national flag symbolises Naga political identity. It is not negotiable”, in the editorial of its latest news bulletin “Nagalim Voice”. It is unthinkable for NSCN-IM to accept the Naga national flag as a cultural flag as hinted by the Government of India.
Since 1997, the Central Government has held more than 85 rounds of negotiations with the NSCN-IM and other Naga groups. However, the NSCN-IM’s insistence on a separate Naga flag and Constitution have become a big hurdle in the way of resolving the Naga issue.
The former interlocutor and then Governor of Nagaland, R.N. Ravi had rejected these demands repeatedly.
The editorial of the May issue of Nagalim Voice, referring to the Framework Agreement signed on August 3, 2015, expressed: “Today, NSCN is watching how Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to handle Framework Agreement with NSCN and Naga people that he himself took so much pride in and credit for. When the high profile Framework Agreement was signed, Modi went histrionic as he called up all political leaders who matter to announce that he has solved the longest running insurgency movement in Southeast Asia. The world at large was, however, not impressed and waited to see how he would match his words with action acceptable to the Naga people.”
The editorial further read: “What is of concern to NSCN in particular, and to the Nagas in general is the habitual betraying of the Government of India after signing agreement after agreement.”
“Such was the depravity on the part of Government of India that every good thing gained during the 25 years of Indo-Naga political talks is facing the risk of going down the drain. The unfortunate development is tantamount to political blackmail,” the editorial said.
The Nagalim Voice said that NSCN cannot allow defilement to take place for the fourth time and this is the crux of the issue. “Everything is clear before the world,” the Naga outfit said.
“How could Naga people tread such hollow ground after more than six decades of blood, sweat, and tears. In spite of threat and pressure, NSCN will never lend itself to committing an act of abomination before God and treason before the Naga people,” the Nagalim Voice stated.
After Ravi was transferred to the gubernatorial post of Tamil Nadu last year, former Special Director of the Intelligence Bureau A.K. Mishra was appointed for Naga peace talks. There was an open difference of opinion between the NSCN-IM and Ravi leading to the deadlock in the peace process that culminated in his transfer to Tamil Nadu.
Mishra, during his first visit to Nagaland in September last year, also discussed the Naga issue with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the Convener of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the northeast unit of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Mishra, in his second week-long visit from April 18, met Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, leaders of the NSCN-IM, Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), core committee on Naga political issues as well as the Naga civil society and discussed the matter.
Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton, who is also a BJP leader, recently in a public meeting in Wokha district, categorically said that the Centre should resolve the Naga issue by August 15 this year.
“If the Naga political issue is not settled now, the long pending issue would take another 100 years to settle,” said Patton, who is a member of all the important committees, including the Core Committee on Naga political issues.
During an Assembly session last month, all legislators across party lines strongly urged the Centre to settle the issue at the earliest as Assembly elections are due early next year. Participating in the discussion, Rio urged the negotiating parties to settle the issue, and that if a settlement cannot be reached, there should be a fresh mandate by the people on how to pursue the Naga political issue.
Noting that 17 resolutions on the Naga political issue have been passed in the Assembly since 1964, he said: “But if a solution is not arrived at, and insurgency activities continue, the future of the younger generation remains at stake.”