Naga Republic News
In what will be seen as a strong condemnation of the manner in which the two decade long Indo-Naga peace process has been handled by the Government of India, a key finding based on interaction with cross section of the Naga public has exposed what many people had all along suspected—Delhi’s attempt to prolong negotiations and further divide the Naga people.
In a lengthy statement put out recently by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), some key concerns and issues raised by the public was presented. It may be mentioned that the FNR had conducted a series of ‘open public interaction’ across Dimapur, Kohima and New Delhi during April and May 2018.
While the discussion focused on Naga Reconciliation, the public interactions gave voice to a diverse range of related issues confronting the Naga people, which the FNR brought out as a public document titled ‘FNR reflection on the public interactions’.
According to the FNR, during the public interactions, it was pointed out that the Government of India has so far opted for trying to ‘manage and control’ the Naga people rather than trying to genuinely resolve the Naga political issue.
Present key players running the political and security establishment in Delhi include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval (File Photo)
It may be mentioned that during these public interactions, several people expressed that the Government of India should deal with the Naga people more honestly and sincerely. According to some, the establishment in Delhi was approaching the Naga issue for their own national security interest. “They have achieved 80% of their objective and Nagas are not aware of it”, was what one participant put it.
The FNR document likewise states that “in the current peace processes it is the Government of India and other stakeholders who have benefited more from the ceasefire, while the Naga position and strength has been destabilized and weakened”.
It was disclosed that during the series of public interactions, questions of identity politics, language, borders, tribalism, factionalism and sectarianism were raised.
“Identity politics and conflicts of interests among Nagas are seen to be arising out of perceived and real differences which were formalized when Naga-Land was divided into different administrative states”, the FNR document points out while adding that “these divisions have fragmented Naga consciousness and Naga identity into territorial identities”.
It is also pointed out that “the creation of Nagaland State was intended and designed to divide the Nagas” and that “Nagaland statehood was not accepted by everyone except by the political elite and few educated individuals”.
“These imposed and boxed identities”, according to the FNR document, have “generated suspicion, fear, mistrust that have caused further divisions, thereby leading to regional and sub-regional consciousness”.
It was also stated in the FNR document that “Naga civil society was strongest around 1997, but more than 20 years later in 2018, it is at its lowest ebb, riddled by confusion and division”.
That the ‘Naga struggle was degenerating’ was something that was clearly brought out during the public interactions. “The Naga struggle is currently admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)”, the FNR quoted. It was felt that in order not to make the situation worse, “Nagas need to examine ourselves and our struggle since we all have contributed to its degenerated state”.
According to the FNR, during the interactions, it was pointed out that the lower rung leaders and cadres have no clue of what they are fighting for. “Leaders of the Naga political groups and civil society organizations need to reach out to the public and repair the broken relationships. Naga political groups need to be asked to publicly and clearly state their position on the Naga issue”.
The Naga public also expressed the view that “the roots of the violence are in external aggression and political subjugation”. It was also acknowledged that the Naga struggle for the right to freely exercise their self-determination and chart their destiny in consonance with their historical and political rights is one of the longest active political conflicts in the world.
At the same time, the public interactions brought out the need for all parties to the conflict “to muster all political will, creativity, and courage to be discerning, draw on their inner wisdom and be far-sighted in peacefully addressing the issues of conflict so that it may have a positive impact at home, in Asia, the world and humanity at large”.
Symbol of the Indian State. The photo shows President Ram Nath Kovind arriving in Kohima on his first visit to Nagaland as President of India. (File Photo)
It was also mentioned that the FNR was asked during the interactions whether the Government of India “needs to admit, acknowledge and apologize to Nagas for human rights violations and atrocities”. Likewise it was felt that “Naga civil society needs to start addressing acts of violence, human rights violations and injustice by Naga political groups”.