Pan Naga Council
Peace in Nagaland?
The historic Peace Accord
with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), signed on 3 August 2015 has been a long time coming. In fact it look 18 years of negotiations to get this far.All peace loving people hail the agreement with this great achievement costing so much blood, sweat and tears and approximately 300,000 Naga lives.
But the question remains as it does not seem to be a conclusive Accord but a framework agreement which serves as ground for further negotiations and so details of the agreement, celebrated in grand manner, have not, yet, been released. These negotiations revolve around the very important point of working towards a mutually acceptable kind of federal relationship which could mean two nations with their constitutions overlapping. Furthermore it was suggested that a Pan-Naga Council could be formed across the state lines of Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal and Assam. Since India has no legal jurisdiction over Nagaland of Myanmar these Naga Peoples are not part of this Peace Accord. Yet, in 1953, it was decided by Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India and U NU of then Burma, now Myanmar, to draw the border between the two countries which effectively separated the Nagas.
Though celebrated as a milestone in the history of this long-term and often times bloody conflict one should keep in mind that the conllict began in Great Britain which handed the land of the Nagas over to the then emerging Union of India; this very much to the wishes and perception of the Nagas who did not want to be ruled by aliens with different culture, language, religions and more. In fact historically India and Nagaland had had no contact and if at all very little in common. Since the inception of India much historical water passed under the bridge after Prime Minister Nehru laid the foundation for the conflict by invading Nagaland and occupying it since 1954.
So, to take this Peace Accord seriously and to jumpstart future negotiations it would be good if the GOI shows signs and thus has good faith in this Peace Accord. Signs like:
1. Release all Naga political prisoners, including the most prominent one named Ningkhaa Shimray who was arrested and undergoing trial for waging war against the state of India and procuring arms for the purpose. He was under the command of the NSCN leadership, hence if taken seriously; the leadership who signed the Peace Accord is as accountable.
2. Talking Peace and signing an agreement to that effect should result in all troops to be withdrawn and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act abolished.
3. To genuinely take care of the well being of the Naga Peoples the Pan Naga Council has to have full power; the power which now rests with the states in which Naga Peoples live. Otherwise this accord is nothing more than a variation of the Shillong accord.
4. The Pan Naga Council has to be duly elected by the Naga People.
5. The ban against Nagas entering their homeland should be lifted. The most prominent Nagas affected by this ban are Luingam and Peingam Luithui whose Indian passports were impounded making them stateless. Luithui is the co-founder of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights and the one laying the groundwork for the ceasefire and subsequent Peace talks; talks which, after 18 years, led to this Peace Accord.
6. Remove restrictions for foreigners to visit Nagaland because with peace in the land there is nothing to hide.
7. Serious talks towards a permanent settlement of the conflict in relation to the uniqueness and situation of the Nagas should not only be recognized but also put in practice.
Any further delay in making the contents of the Accord public could result in losing the good will and support for the Accord.
Vol. 48, No. 8, Aug 30 - Sep 5, 2015