Stage set for Naga Peace Accord as Parliament panel gives go ahead for Modi govt to ink deal

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Naga Republic News & Analysis

 

The stage is set for inking the long awaited Naga Peace Accord with a Parliamentary Committee headed by former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram 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 has ‘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”.

 

The Committee also stated 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 Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Government should continue its efforts to engage the Naga groups and finalise the Naga Peace Accord”.

 

It may be mentioned that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has members drawn from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and includes representatives of all major political parties in Parliament.

 

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its report tabled in Parliament 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”.

 

While public expectation among Naga people was that a peace accord would be signed soon before the present term of the BJP led Narendra Modi government ends in early 2019, earlier media report suggested that the accord would be signed before the Monsoon Session of Parliament, now underway.

 

According to information available with The Naga Republic, the Framework Agreement or the Naga Peace Accord has not been specifically listed in the business agenda of the government for the current Monsoon Session.

 

The Monsoon Session, 2018 of Parliament is scheduled to be held from Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, and subject to exigencies of Government Business, the Session may conclude on Friday, 10th August, 2018.

 

Of interest to note though is that Report No 213 brought out by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs related to the ‘Security situation in the Northeastern States of India’ includes a separate 2-page note on the ‘Naga Peace Accord’ (see note below).

 

The report, which ‘strongly recommends’ the signing of the Naga Peace Accord has been presented to the Rajya Sabha on July 19 and also laid on the table of the Lok Sabha on July 19.

 

While it is uncertain on whether the ‘Naga Peace Accord’ will be discussed in Parliament during the ongoing Monsoon Session, the Modi government will be in a better position to take the final step in concluding the Indo-Naga peace talks since the heavyweight Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has almost endorsed the government’s position.

 

According to The Naga Republic, this is good news for Interlocutor RN Ravi as well since he is carrying the burden of negotiations with the different Naga Political Groups. It’s a green signal for him to conclude the talks and sign an agreement.

 

“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.

 

“Going by the report, it is obvious that while reviewing the Security situation in the Northeastern States of India, the Committee has deliberated at length the progress and status of the Naga peace talks. More specifically, the Framework Agreement and proposed peace accord has been considered in depth”, observes The Naga Republic.

 

According to report, 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 Committee.

 

It is expected that Report No 213 tabled in Parliament which includes a note on the Naga Peace Accord will allow for an informed debate in Parliament. From the government’s point of view, the positive thing is that the All-Party Parliament Committee has already built a consensus across party lines, endorsing the signing of the Naga Peace Accord. It will now be much easier for the Modi led government to come out with the peace deal.

 

Meanwhile in what will be seen as revealing some of the points in peace negotiations, the Parliamentary Standing Committee in its note on the Naga Peace Accord mentions that the NSCN (IM) “subsequently dropped its long standing demand of sovereignty but continued its another persistent demand of integration of all Naga inhabited areas with the State of Nagaland to create a greater Nagaland or Nagalim”.

 

Further according to the note, “the Government reached an understanding with the NSCN (IM), which agreed for a settlement within Indian federation, with a special status”.

 

The Parliamentary Standing Committee has also observed that any final agreement will have some implications for the three states viz. Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, where Nagas are residing in certain areas.

 

As such the Committee was of the considered view that any agreement that may be finally arrived at must “allay the fears of the stakeholders in these States and the State governments must be kept abreast with the emerging dynamics of the talks”.

 

The Committee has also strongly recommended that that Ministry should prepare a detailed and generous rehabilitation-cum-settlement scheme for the cadres who will surrender as part of the agreement.

 

Also it recommends that the Government should, nevertheless, “proactively stay prepared for any kind of scenario that may emerge in the aftermath of this agreement, and keep the security forces and the intelligence agencies on the alert”.

 

Another significant observation of the Parliamentary panel is the recommendation to the Government that it should “tread carefully on the political demands of the Kuki groups and ensure a congruity between the agreement being finalized with the Nagas and the arrangement that may be made for the Kukis”.

 

See note on Naga Peace Accord by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs

 

 

 

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