Oking: 20th May, 2012
It is pertinent to remind all that the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) came to the negotiating table when the government of India finally took the decision to go for a political settlement on the vexed Indo-Naga political conflict after having tasted the futility of going for military solution. The then Prime Minister of India P.V.Narasimha Rao had particularly chosen NSCN as the only potential partner to initiate talks on Naga political settlement.
Eventually ceasefire was declared on 1st August.1997 between the NSCN and the Government of India (GoI) to pave the way for political negotiation based on three principles, namely:
(i) Talks to be held without pre-conditions;
(ii) Talks to be held at the highest level;
(iii) Talks to be held outside India in a third country.
Subsequent to that on July 11, 2002 the GoI recognized the “unique history and situation” of the Nagas. We consider that the decision was a conscious and realistic step taken by the GoI. We have witnessed many ups and downs in the political negotiation but reached thus far and nearing 15 years. Today, NSCN is totally surprised because after more than 14 years of political talks the GOI is showing a different color that is detrimental to solving the Naga issue on the basis of the understanding and commitment already given by the GoI, and it amounts to hitting the Nagas below the belt.
After more than 80 rounds of talks the present stage of talks indicates that it has entered into a challenging situation where crucial decisions must be taken but it appears that some elements in the government of India have started playing a divisive role. These forces are over-actively at work now and the GOI is seemingly abetting and assisting them by its inaction.
All said and done, if the government of India is still serious about Indo-Naga talks it is imperative to make it clear whether it stands by various joint agreements signed with the NSCN and the commitments of its Prime Ministers including PV. Narashimha Rao to the NSCN leadership Isak Chishi Swu and Mr. Th. Muivah when he met them in Paris on June 12, 1995. In that meeting the PM of India proposed political dialogue to resolve the political problems. In response to his proposal the Leadership of the NSCN said: “Okay, Mr. Prime Minister why don’t you talk with Khaplang Group and NNC? We will not stand in the way, but we will not be a party to it”. The Prime Minister of India replied: “Why should I talk with them, the issue is not with them. The issue is with you. You have proved yourself. The people are with you and so if we talk with you, we believe solution can be worked out. I will not talk with others……”
By the statement of Mr.Shambhu Singh a Secretary, MHA (North East.) whose statements appeared in the media stating that, “if we don’t take all three factions into account, no kind of agreement is going to succeed”. He also stated that, “…it will be a futile exercise to reach an agreement with one group.”(Vision communication, New Delhi May 1;1Morung Express May, 11 2012; Nagaland Post: May 12, 16, 2012).
As mentioned the cease-fire that came in 1997 between the GoI and the NSCN during the Congress Government, that is, at the highest level, without pre-condition and outside India in a third country and secondly, the recognition of the “unique history and situation of the Nagas” by the BJP led government in 2002 has become a hilarious affair if the GoI has to stand by the statement of Mr. Shambhu Singh.
It has become imperative to know whether Shambhu Singh is acting at the behest of the GoI or simply doing on his own to create trouble in the Indo-Naga political talks that has touched the very core issue of the political negotiation that seeks to conclude a negotiated political settlement acceptable to both India and the Nagas.
It is regrettable and unfortunate to observe that while the GoI and NSCN are seriously looking into ways and means to end the more than 60 years of conflict, Mr. Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary of MHA(North-east in-charge) is playing with the issue like a mere toy in his hand . In this context the NSCN seriously remind the GoI their commitment that all its official statement will be only from the Prime Minister, Home Minister or the GoI Chief Interlocutor. We are deeply concerned because we see that such unchecked developments will nullify all the positive steps already achieved. Timely intervention is advised that will be in the larger interest of ushering permanent peace in the region.
T T. Among Qhevihe Chishi Swu
Kilo Kilonser Convener, Steering Committee