Naga Republic News & Analysis
With the clock ticking away and the end of the present tenure of the Narendra Modi Government only weeks away, the all important Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has urged the Modi government to conclude the Naga talks for an ‘early agreement’.
Responding to the Action Taken Report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that was based on panel’s earlier observation strongly recommending that the Government of India should finalise the Naga Peace Accord, the Standing Committee has once again “urged the government to conclude the negotiations and reach an agreement early with NSCN (IM) and other groups”.
The Nagaland GBs Federation along with tribal hohos and civil society groups had taken out a public rally in Kohima on Feb 8 demanding ‘solution before the parliamentary election’
The latest report on ‘security situation in the Northeastern States of India’ was presented to Rajya Sabha on February 7, 2019 and also laid on the table of Lok Sabha the same day.
Time is clearly running out for the Modi government on the Naga issue as the current budget session of Parliament, which concludes on 13th February is the last one before the next Lok Sabha elections.
This crucial proposal from the all party Parliamentary Panel comes against the backdrop of public mobilization by the mass based Nagaland GBs Federation calling for ‘solution to the Indo-Naga political issue before the upcoming parliamentary election’.
The Nagaland G.B Federation along with Tribal Hohos and civil societies took out a rally in the State capital Kohima on February 8 seeking solution to the long pending Naga political issue. The rally also came out in strong condemnation of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
This latest public mobilization under the initiative of the influential village chiefs also seeks to send a representation to the Prime Minister of India making an appeal for solution to Naga political issue as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It was also decided that all Naga people shall observe prayer day on Sunday the 10th of February in all Churches across Nagaland for the above two issues of Naga political solution and scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Earlier, indicating that a solution may still be possible within the tenure of Prime Minister Modi, the Government of India Interlocutor RN Ravi publicly stated on January 19 that a proposed accord with Naga armed groups is expected to be concluded soon.
“It’s nearing conclusion with all. In fact, there is nobody left out. Everyone is part of it. There are eight armed groups which are now talking to Government of India. NSCN (I-M) plus seven others, they are all part of it. There is no one left out,” Ravi, who is also Deputy National Security Adviser, told the media.
Meanwhile, responding to the Naga political issue, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India in its Action Taken Report stated that “talks with NSCN (IM) and other groups are continuing and efforts to reach a final settlement are going on”.
The Government of India further stated that “negotiations with NSCN (IM) are at an advanced stage” and that final settlement with NSCN (IM) will keep interests of States of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in mind”.
“There will be consultation with these States before arriving at the final settlement”, the MHA stated in its response to the Standing Committee’s observation on the sensitive nature of the Naga peace process and the likely impact it will have in neighboring States.
Earlier, The Naga Republic had reported on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing giving the go ahead to the Government of India to finalize the Naga peace talks at the earliest.
The all important Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had ‘strongly recommended’ that the Government of India should “conclude the peace talks, at the earliest, based on a broad understanding over the most contentious issues”.
In its latest report, the Committee has once again spelled out the need to conclude negotiations for an ‘early’ settlement.
The Committee has been observing all along that the signing of the final Naga Peace Accord can bring long lasting peace to the State (Nagaland) that was once the hotspot of insurgency for the North Eastern Region”.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee in its earlier observation also wondered “why there is a delay in concluding the peace talks when all other stakeholders other than the government appear to be eager to conclude it”.
Delay in concluding talks on the Naga Accord is making the Naga groups “restless”, the Parliamentary Standing Committee warned the government as it said that it could “harm whatever progress” achieved so far in this direction.
“The committee apprehends that the Naga groups and tribal bodies are becoming restless due to the delay in concluding the talks”, the Committee stated while also recommending that the Government of India should “tread carefully on the issues sensitive to the Nagas and not let vested interests highjack the peace narrative”.
Public expectation among the Naga people was that a peace accord would be signed before the present term of the Modi government ends in early 2019. There is now growing despair that Prime Minister Modi will not be able to fulfill his assurances made on several occasions to resolve the Naga issue.
Prime Minister Narendra during his election campaign in Tuensang district where he mentioned that the Naga problem will be solved
While it is uncertain on whether the ‘Naga Peace Accord’ will be even discussed in Parliament during the ongoing Budget Session, which concludes on February 13, the Modi government, if it fails to take a decision, will lose out on a real opportunity to resolve the decade’s long issue.
It will have only itself to blame since the heavyweight Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has almost endorsed the government’s position.
“The strong recommendation given by the All-Party Parliament Committee to conclude the Naga peace talks should be seen as meaningful Parliamentary support for the present negotiation and a political agreement”, observes The Naga Republic.
Mention should be made that representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, including the Home Secretary, the Director, Intelligence Bureau, the Interlocutor of the Government on the Naga Peace talks and other senior officers concerned, deposed extensively before the Standing Committee.
It may be mentioned that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs is headed by former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and includes members from different political parties and drawn from both Houses of Parliament.