Oking: 3rd September, 2014
More than 80 (eighty) rounds of political negotiation have transpired since the declaration of cease-fire between the Government of India (GoI) and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) in 1997 and in one the latest formal talks held on 18th July, 2011 at New Delhi, the joint statement have clearly indicated the progress that has been made.
To make things sufficiently clear the joint statement signed by Mr. R S. Pandey, Interlocutor, Representative of the GoI and Mr. Th. Muivah, General Secretary and Chief Negotiator of the NSCN is hereby included in Toto:
“Negotiating teams of the Government of India (GoI) and the NSCN met on 18-07-11 at New Delhi. The GoI team was led by the GoI’s Representative and Interlocutor, Mr. R S Pandey and the NSCN team was led by its Chief Negotiator, General Secretary, Mr. Thuingaleng Muivah.
Sustained negotiations over the past few months have led to a set of proposals for an honorable political settlement based on the uniqueness of Naga history and situation which was recognized by the GoI in 2002, as well as the contemporary realities and a future vision consistent with the imperatives of the 21st century.
While the differences between the two parties have narrowed, some of the proposals would require further negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable solution.
By appreciating and respecting each other’s positions and difficulties both the parties are confident in working out a settlement in the shortest possible time.”
The statement underlines and emphasizes the importance of mutual respect for each other’s position and difficulties and also a lasting solution that will be based only through a negotiated political settlement.
However, the reportage that has emerged with the appointment of Shri R.N. Ravi, as the GoI’s interlocutor of the Indo-Naga Peace talks who is well known for his antagonistic approach to the Naga issue and obnoxious writings have come as a total surprise to the NSCN/GPRN. His opinionated writings have been condemned in the strongest term by the NSCN/GPRN and his appointment as the GoI Interlocutor has raised doubts in the minds of the Nagas, the real intent of the GoI.
In the political negotiation that has lasted for 17 (seventeen) years and more than 80 rounds of talks, the NSCN/GPRN and its talk team led by its Chief negotiator, Th. Muivah, they have not met any person by the name of Shri R.N. Ravi. The NSCN/GPRN is therefore flabbergasted as to who / which Naga has given a commitment to Shri. R.N. Ravi that the solution of the Indo-Naga issue will be within the framework of the Constitution of India as reported in the Media. (Morung Express ( Agencies) , “PMO Overrules MHA proposal”, New Delhi, 30, 2014; The times of India (PTI), “PMO Overrules, Home Ministry, appoints JIC Chief RN. Ravi as Naga Interlocutor”, New Delhi 29 August, 2014).
As maintained in the same reportage he seems to have been given the unguided and unguarded mandate or the, “the liberty to change the format of the talks, making negotiation time-bound and expeditious” for the Indo-Naga talks. If these media reportage is considered to be factual, the appointment of Shri RN. Ravi , a person who is not guided by conscience and who also has no respect or insight of the Naga history as observed from his write-ups, then the NSCN/GPRN is seriously doubtful of the sincerity of the GoI in appointing him as their interlocutor for the Indo-Naga peace talks.
The Nagas have come to the negotiating table after decades of fighting with the armed forces of India when the latter agreed and acknowledged that the Indo-Naga issue was not the internal “law and order issue” of India and agreed to have peace negotiation at the Prime Minister’s level and without any pre-conditions. The BJP government led by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee exercised prudence and good judgment in recognizing the “unique history and situation of the Nagas” in order to settle a permanent political solution based on that recognition. The peace-negotiation had moved forward in a positive manner and as quoted above, in spite of the difficulties involved efforts were on by both the negotiating parties to narrow down the differences in order to conclude a “mutually acceptable solution”.
It is therefore extremely important and crucial that the Indo-Naga peace talks proceed in a positive manner in order to conclude a peaceful negotiated political settlement and also in such efforts to involve broadminded and forward-thinking people who have the sincere and committed interest for India and peace.
It will do well to remember that the GoI’s 60 years of military solution to the Indo-Naga issue has not solved the issue. Turning the wheels of history back by “pre-conditions” and “strong armed methods” may have serious consequences for the Indo-Naga peace talks. And therefore, while welcoming the new government in New Delhi we hope that political wisdom will prevail upon its leadership considering the critical and significant need to end the more than 6 (six)decades of conflict between India and the Nagas.
This is the time for both the parties to prove themselves.