By Oken Jeet Sandham
Kohima , Jan 24
The Indo-Naga political negotiation has been successfully concluded on the 31st of October 2019 at Delhi. The Government, however, could not announce the outcome of it. But the biggest surprise was they announced that the final settlement of the Naga issue would only be arrived at after consulting with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur and also after consulting with stakeholders.
Therefore, when Governor RN Ravi delivered his maiden Address to the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on January 17, 2020, we expected that some fine-tuned modalities would be highlighted in the Address for resolving the protracted Indo-Naga political issue. Surprisingly, the Address has not laid out any progress of the status of consultation with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur or stakeholders. It has been nearly three months since the conclusion of talk. The people have every right to know the progress of consultation as it will culminate in reaching a final settlement of the issue. But they are still kept in suspense.
However, if one carefully examines Governor Ravi’s remark in his Address, an early settlement to the Naga issue would depend on the unity of all the various organizations. Then the veiled warning has come, “If we fail this time, then we will be missing a golden opportunity.”
Will the Indo-Naga issue remain unresolved or will the Autonomous Councils be granted to the Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur and then what will be the arrangement for the Nagas of Assam? What will the Government do with the demand of ENPO with regard to a separate frontier Nagaland State or instead grant them an Autonomous Council? Will there be an increase of a Lok Sabha Seat in Nagaland making a total of two or will a Bi-cameral system be given to the State? News has been appearing in mass media ever since the Indo-Naga political negotiation was over that the Government would be working out to grant the aforementioned demands as part of resolving the Naga issue.
Now the question is who has been doing the consultations with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur and the stakeholders after the Indo-Naga political negotiation was over. It appears that there is no transparency in the process. One is still worried about the fate of the successfully concluded talk.
It is also interesting to see how Governor Ravi will remain as Interlocutor for the Naga talk after the successful conclusion of the talk. Technically, his job as Interlocutor for the Naga talk is over ever since the talk has been successfully concluded on the 31st of October 2019 at Delhi.
When Prime Minister Modi asked Ravi to conclude the talk within three months, he met NSCN (IM) collective leaderships. Later, he criticized them for adopting the procrastinating attitude over symbolic issues of a separate Naga Flag and constitution to prolong the issue. Whatever the case may be, after the talk has been successfully concluded, will the Government still blame NPGs if the solution to the Naga issue is not forthcoming?
Ravi, representing the Government of India, successfully signed the Framework Agreement with NSCN (IM) on August 3, 2015, in presence of Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval among others at Delhi. He also successfully brought the WC of NNPGs to the negotiating table after signing an agreement with them in 2017. Finally, he successfully concluded the negotiation with them on the 31st of October 2019 at Delhi meeting the deadline set by Modi.
Therefore, with the unparalleled experience he had after dealing with the Naga issue and meeting with various Naga civil societies, tribal hohos, and other mass-based organizations, it is generally believed that he would be able to resolve the Naga issue. Unfortunately, his maiden Address to the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly has not reflected the timeframe for the solution.