Imphal, November 20: Rejecting outrightly the denial of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram over ‘Supra-state body’ proposal to NSCN (IM) in place of the demand for Greater Nagalim, Editor of Seven Sisters Post Subir Bhaumik has categorically observed that ‘it is Mr Chidambaram and not us who is not telling the truth’.
In a statement, Bhaumik reiterated,”We are in possession of the 12-page “Status report” on Government of India – NSCN ((I-M) negotiations that was submitted by Naga peace interlocutor R S Pandey to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The 24th issue (out of the total 26) deals with “boundaries” and therein it is clearly said that the Nagas have been offered a supra-state body in areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh inhabited by Nagas”.
The statement of the Seven Sisters Post Editor further said, “We have been breaking big stories, very often challenging the government’s versions on key issues like insurgency. But Sujit Kumar Chakraborty, our Associate Editor, broke this huge story on the latest status of negotiations between Indian government and the Naga rebel group, NSCN (I-M). It was revealed in the story that the Indian government had rejected the NSCN’s demand for Nagalim or a greater Naga state but had indeed offered them a Supra-state body for ensuring some kind of cultural integration of the Naga areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam with the state of Nagaland. This has been projected as the “second best option” for the NSCN if not the best. We not only ran a three-part serialised story by Sujit on our front pages on 13th-14th-15th November issues but also carried as part of our package the whole gist of the “Status Report on the GOI-NSCN-IM negotiations” on our Op-ed pages”.
“Under pressure from the chief ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is said to have told Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh that the report was not correct and even described it as “mischievous”. At the risk of sounding unparliamentary, I can say it is Mr Chidambaram and notus who is not telling the truth”, Bhaumik contended The editor has also informed that the whole “Status Report” has uploaded at http://epao.net.
This will prove that the supra-state body was indeed offered to the Nagas, he added. Seven Sisters Post Correspondent Sujit Kumar Chakraborty, who broke this huge story and has since been interviewed by many TV networks, stood by his story and said he was in possession of the 12-page report entitled “The Gist of Status of Discussions and Negotiations on Various Issues Submitted by the NSCN (IM)”.
The report has three columns, issue-wise: one contains the NSCN (IM)’s position, the other detailing the Government of Indian’s position and the third column, saying “remarks”.
The report touches upon 26 issues: Security and security forces, customs, citizenship, legislature, elections, judiciary, government executive, civil service, land ownership, immigration, secular government, education, cultural affairs, language, natural resources, economy, currency and monetary policy, taxation, development and tourism, state flag and emblem, transport, international relations, postal system and stamps, protection of minorities within Nagaland, Nagaland Commission of Human Rights, Boundaries, Interim Arrangements and Guarantees for Implementation.
The 24th issue in the report talks of “Boundaries”. The NSCN view is recorded as such: “A starting point for talks can be the creation of a relationship which guarantees the distinct identity of the Nagas and Nagalim. It is the position of the NSCN that the present so-called state of Nagaland comprises only a portion of Nagaland and more realistic boundaries should be agreed upon that will enable the Naga areas to be integrated within one administrative entity.”
The Government of India’s view is recorded as such: “It was explained to them (NSCN) that under law, boundaries of state can he altered only after taking into consideration the views of the concerned state legislatures. The views of the government of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, are very clear in this regard. Therefore, it would not be possible to concede to the demand in absence of political consensus of all concerned. Therefore, the NSCN may think of “second best” if the best in their view is not possible. Possible autonomy of Naga areas without altering the boundaries of the states concerned so that in many matters, the representatives of the hill areas may administer subjects in their charge with a supra-state body for the Nagas for their cultural, social and customary practices may he discussed. This Pan-Naga supra-state body will be in recognition of the distinct identity of the Nagas.”