NAGA SETTLEMENT | Not Immediately Possible

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LOOKEAST REPORT |

Failure to agree on a special arrangement for Nagas living outside Nagaland is delaying an early settlement of the six decade old imbroglio.

LOOKEAST has learnt that the NSCN–IM is not happy with grant of educational and cultural rights that the Modi government has so far promised them. They want some political rights and substantial autonomy for Nagas in those states.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NSCN–IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah at the signing ceremony of framework agreement between the Government of India and NSCN–IM in New Delhi. NSA Ajit Doval is on the right. ©PTI

Their leader Th. Muivah is a Tangkhul Naga from Manipur and especially keen to get as much as possible for Nagas outside Nagaland in the final settlement.

 

It was a departure from their earlier position of “with India, not within India,” and that the government called it a framework agreement and signed it. This is the first time that details of the agreement signed at the residence of prime minister Narendra Modi

 

Nagas in Nagaland are covered by the provisions of Art 371 which grants them special rights.

Meanwhile, the government has provided some detail to a Parliamentary panel about a framework agreement it signed with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland–Isak–Muivah (NSCN–IM) in 2015 after it agreed on a settlement within the Indian federation with a “special status.”

RN Ravi, interlocutor for the Naga talks, told the committee that it was a departure from their earlier position of “with India, not within India,” and that the government called it a framework agreement and signed it. This is the first time that details of the agreement signed at the residence of prime minister Narendra Modi on August 3, 2015, have emerged.

 

ALSO READ | https://lookeast.in/confusion-galore-over-naga-accord/

 

The details are part of the 213th report on the security situation in the north–eastern states tabled by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The committee was also informed that the “contours” had not been spelt out in the framework agreement that was “just about the recognition of the uniqueness of the Naga history by the Government of India”, and some special arrangements will have to be made for the Nagas.

“On being asked what the special arrangement will be, the Committee was told that with respect to Nagaland — Article 371A of the Constitution makes it clear that they are special and a special status has been accorded to them. A similar kind of status, with some local variation, and some change to the Nagas in the neighbouring States can be explored,” the report said. According to the report, Mr. Ravi also informed the committee that the Nagas had now reached a common understanding with the government that “boundaries of the States will not be touched” and “some special arrangements would be made for the Nagas, wherever they are.”

 

Article 371A of the Constitution makes it clear that they are special and a special status has been accorded to them. A similar kind of status, with some local variation, and some change to the Nagas in the neighbouring States can be explored,” the report said. According to the report, Mr. Ravi also informed the committee that the Nagas had now reached a common understanding with the government that “boundaries of the States will not be touched”

 

“The Interlocutor apprised the committee about the broad status of the negotiations that boundaries of any State will neither be changed nor altered. Initially, the Nagas had stuck to the idea of unification of Naga inhabited areas, resolutely maintaining their stand of ‘no integration, no solution.’ However, they have now reached a common understanding with the Government that boundaries of States will not be touched,” the report said. The NSCN–IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim — it wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga–dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The Chief Ministers of the three States have warned against any tinkering with its boundaries.

“While briefing the committee, RN Ravi, interlocutor for Nagas, stated that the Government has been talking with the NSCN–IM for the last 20 years and their position from the very beginning has been that Nagas were exceptional, Nagas were not Indians, Nagas were sovereign and any settlement could be reached only on the basis of the fact that this is a settlement between two sovereigns “During the course of the last several years, the Government started opening out and reaching out to civil society organisations, Naga tribal bodies and other stakeholders other than the NSCN–IM,” the report said. ■

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