NSCN (IM) fires salvo, says ‘RSS elements’ meddling in peace negotiation

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Acknowledging it for the first time in public, the NSCN (IM), which has signed a Framework Agreement with the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has come out with the disclosure that the “current negotiation has been facing unwanted elements of the Indian state indiscriminately” and pointing to the Hindu Right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for meddling in the Indo-Naga peace process.


“One such anti-Naga operation is being of late mentored by the RSS elements trying to imagine a Hindu nation state. Their Bharatiya philosophy contemplates that there cannot be two bharats with India. It commits to strengthen Hindu national government and views the outcome of a possible Naga homeland as threatening the RSS Hindu dream”, said senior NSCN (IM) leader Lt Gen (Retd.) VS Atem.


File photo of Lt. Gen. (Retd.) VS Atem, member of the Collective Leadership of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Photo courtesy Morung Express)


The NSCN (IM) leader also made reference to what it termed as ‘intrusions into the Naga country” by the RSS elements “like monsters trying to devour the Naga values and culture”. Atem, who is a senior member of the NSCN (IM) Collective Leadership, was speaking at a Prayer Summit on October 25 at Dimapur.


The RSS—a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation—is widely regarded as the parent organisation of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party. Politically, the BJP has made big strides into the Northeast region, once a bastion of the Congress party.


Significantly BJP is heading governments in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and has an alliance in Nagaland. A Naga peace accord will have a bearing on all these States where the BJP is a major player. The influence of the RSS in negotiation and a possible Naga accord, which the NSCN (IM) has publicly brought to light, is therefore not surprising.


It may be mentioned that on February 26, 2018, an article ‘Nagaland’s Cycle of Slogans, Elections, and Elusive Solutions’ written by Along Longkumer, Editor, The Naga Republic and published by the Hindu Centre for Politics & Public Policy (https://www.thehinducentre.com/the-arena/current-issues/article10084035.ece) had clearly highlighted this point—the RSS factor in the Indo-Naga peace process.


“While electoral politics and national security considerations were two existential factors that were always present as far as the Indo-Naga peace process goes, the new third dimension that seeks to influence and sway the process is undoubtedly the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)”, the article had noted.


According to the Editor of The Naga Republic, “the usual hardline position taken by intelligence and security agencies in India is in consonance with the equally hawkish nationalist stand of the RSS” and that the “RSS’ influence is a matter of fact and not one of fiction anymore”.


“It is evident that the RSS has a political counter-narrative to what is happening in the region, including its own vision and idea of a Naga peace accord that appears to be greatly intolerant of the unique history and situation of the Nagas, which was acknowledged by none other than BJP’s former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee”, states Longkumer in the article.


Top NSCN IM leadership along with participants at the Prayer Summit held at Dimapur, Nagaland on October 25, 2018


Meanwhile the NSCN (IM) leader went on to allege that the “political agenda of expediting a wholesome Hindustan has more often been betrayed in the RSS operations to let the Government of India ignore the Nagas’ right”.


“Their objectives are but identical with chauvinistic conducts which treats the Naga populace to be a segment of Hindustan and so govern at their own prerogatives”, Atem said while adding that the NSCN shall never “compromise on the infrastructure of Nagas’ legitimate political institutions”.


While criticism of the RSS was part of his speech during the prayer summit, the NSCN (IM) leader also dwelt on the much talked of Framework Agreement that was signed on August. 3, 2015. According to Atem, a mechanism on shared sovereignty was the focus of the agreement and that this would be defined by working out competencies, which are crucial to Naga political rights and history.


The senior member of the Collective Leadership also disclosed that New Delhi has assured to fully respect the rights and interests of the Nagas and in the defined competencies, Naga people’s sovereignty was paramount. On this principle, he said, both negotiating parties have agreed for peaceful coexistence by respecting each other’s problems and mandates.


“A fundamental part of the competencies being negotiated so far has tremendous expression of the Naga national identity whose control over land and resources is substantiated for its independent utility only by the Nagas and the management and integrity of all resources will not be infringed upon by India”, he said.


The former Emissary to the Collective Leadership also disclosed that two crucial aspects of the competencies feature ‘Naga national flag’ and Naga constitution called ‘Yehzabo’. Naga flag carries a prerequisite symbol of the people’s identity, the Naga nation and Yehzabo will be legally integrated as a historical document representing a total function of the Naga cultural, religious, social, economic and political life, he said.


Therefore, he asserted that the final settlement would constitute a provision in the Indian structure of managing Naga affairs—an article confirming the ‘Yehzabo of Nagalim.’


The prayer summit under the theme “Submission to the will of God” witnessed a series of prayer sessions including prayer for “Forgiveness of our personal sins, Naga people’s and National sins (collectively),” “God’s intervention in the Indo-Naga political dialogue, so that a peaceful honorable solution to the Indo-Naga issue is arrived at”, “For Indian leadership: President, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, Opposition leaders and the Interlocutor”, “The Collective Leadership, its members, and Home authorities”, “Naga unity and integration.”


Section of attending the ‘Prayer Summit’ organized by Council of Nagalim Churches (CNC) of the NSCN (IM) at Agri Expo site on October 25. (Photo courtesy Morung Express )


The gathering also prayed for “All Naga national workers that God may keep them safe, strong and lead in the right path”, “For peaceful co-existence with the neighboring nations and communities”, “The present Naga Church leaders, political leaders, professionals, officers of all categories”, “The present Naga civil societies(all Hohos and organizations)”, “For the well wishers of Naga movement”, “The wellbeing of Naga people especially for the women and younger generation” and, for “The Naga political victims, the prisoners and those who lost their spouse and parents.”

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