Observing the impasse to Naga Peace Talk (21 years impasse) and the latest outburst of apprehension by Naga Hoho, the only way forward now is by having practical understanding of the political theory that, ‘state can only be created by the people not given as a gift’. The same political theory applies to achieving Greater Nagaland and sooner the better; Nagas give up the full dependency on GoI to integrate its contiguous territories. No doubt Naga Nationalist view themselves negotiating as equal entity between heads of two different Nations but it is really frustrating to see Naga leaders repeatedly committing past mistakes of fully depending on GoI and remaining helpless for 21 years. GoI still appears unwilling to take risk even after 21 years of peace talk so what more evidences do people need to authenticate that central government would not give consent to integration until Nagas successfully dealt with neighboring states, in fact central govt. has conveyed difficulties on their part being opposed by neighboring states yet Naga leaders still fail to deal with neighboring states.
Furthermore studying the Naga integration issues, it is ridiculous that till today, Naga leaders have not learnt any lesson from Mao Gate Episode 2010 where Manipur Government successfully banned Mr. Th. Muivah, NSCN IM General Secretary from visiting his native Somdal village in Ukhrul district Manipur. During the said crisis, GoI after giving clearance did not oppose Manipur govt. decisions stating that law and order is a state subject even when Nagas expected GoI on account of ceasefire and peace talk to intervene on Mr. Muivah’s visit yet it never happen. When Manipur government strongly opposes top Naga Nationalist leader visit to his native village how will Manipur and its loyal citizens react to any change in Manipur State territories is the urgent question Nagas need to seriously ponder upon and act upon it instead of helplessly accusing Manipur government including other states governments of not acknowledging Nagas legitimate right to integration on account of their distinct history, in such sensitive matter loyal citizens of Manipur and other states involved will never acknowledge in thousand years as they are fully determined their states interest while Nagas are still in disarray owing to power abuse by leaders and their failure in dealing efficiently with its multiple internal challenges.
Nagas ought to realize that sticking to Plan-A that is continuously giving free history lesson on Naga unique history to Non-Naga ethnic groups is not going to put Nagas on the path to integration unless they make necessary compromise in some sensitive issues like land territorial ownership to win support of some certain ethnic groups in neighboring states. Nagas still owned huge area of unoccupied lands so giving up some area of lands and swapping of lands along with its populations in exchange for unflinching support of non Naga ethnic groups would not be a bad start moreover certain ethnic groups can never be in advantage position to achieve their political goals unless Nagas intervene, such arrangement can be a win-win situation for parties involved and steadily breaking the current impasse. Sticking to Plan-A for 21 years would not break the impasse; it’s time to come up with different plans and begin exploring options of Plan A-Z before Nagas end up with nothing by refusing to settle with something.
Apart from the recent declarations and activities of Manipur based CSOs and Manipur State Assembly resolution to protect state territorial integrity what really catches our eye is the latest statement of Manipur CM Mr. N. Biren Singh where he warn that the Government of Manipur would be compelled to take “extreme” steps if “Naga Deal” hurts Manipur’s interests, though one cannot comprehend what will be his extreme steps it still leave a bad taste to a democratic society. He also said in his interview with The Hindustan Times that while his government is in favour of a peaceful settlement of the Naga political issue, the central government must take the consent of the state assembly if the settlement involves any part of Manipur- be it cultural, administrative, economic or territorial.
While the latest outburst of warning of taking extreme steps from Manipur’s CM does not matches to be the words coming from the head of one of democratic Indian states. Rather the Manipur’s CM responded like a warlord. My point is that, the Manipur’s CM warning of taking extreme steps is unconstitutional and is a blatant violation of the provisions of Article 3 of the Indian Constitutions. To his response no Naga leaders has so far issued warning of taking any extreme steps to those who oppose Naga integration only UNC has asked fellow Nagas to be ready for any form of agitation which I believed would be a lawful democratic agitation not burning govt. offices or intimidating Non-Nagas.
To prove my point that statement of Manipur CM is unconstitutional, learned people of Manipur and other states cannot deny the constitutional provisions of Article 3, which clearly states, that the Indian Constitution empowers the parliament to alter the territories or names, etc of the states without their consent or concurrence, which unambiguously means that state central government does not require consent from any Indian states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to grant Naga integration provided central government is bold enough to do it.( my emphasis) It can form new States, and can alter the area, boundaries or names of the existing States by a law passed by simple majority. The conditions laid down for making of such law are- First, no Bill for the formation of new States or the alteration of the boundaries or the names of the existing State shall be introduced in either House of the Parliament except on the recommendation of the President. Secondly, if the Bill affects the area, boundaries or names of the States, the President is required to refer the Bill to the Legislatures of the State, so affected for expressing its views within the period specified by the President.
The President may extend the period so specified. If the State Legislature to which the Bill has been referred does not express its views within the period so specified or extended, the Bill may be introduced in the parliament even though the views of the State have not been obtained by the President. If the State Legislature expresses its view within the time so specified or extended, the Parliament is not bound to accept or act upon the views of the State Legislature. Thus, it is clear that the very existence of a State depends on the sweet will of the Central Government. (Constitutional Law of India, J.N. Pandey, CLA, P-39).
From Constitution point of view; the statement of Manipur’s CM, Manipur based CSOs warning of another riots like of 18 June Uprising including the statement of Former CM of Assam Tarun Gogoi, that no one should bypass the territorial rights of a state are all unconstitutional as it is the parliament who is the supreme authority to decide on state territorial rights not the states themselves. Citizens have legal rights to protest peacefully not to instigate riots; Central Government cannot give repeated excuses of law and order being a state subject to avoid dealing with riots at the same time make crucial decision to settle Naga Peace Talks
The above mentioned states did behave like India’s neighboring independent nations states not under the Union of India which is a direct challenge to the basic structure of the Constitution and belittle the supremacy of the Parliament.
Having pointed out the unconstitutional stand taken by state governments of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in opposing Naga integration, the huge setback for the Nagas is the lack of political consciousness among the mass of Naga populations unlike their fellow counterparts of other states who are very much participating in political arena under one umbrella in pursuing and protecting their political interest while among general Naga population certain sections exists who develop cold-feet to its own integration due to numerous factors involved, if remain unresolved will later cause unmanageable disaster.
The political drama of Naga integration appears not likely to find its end soon and the parties opposing Naga integration cannot override the provisions of the Constitution nor give twisted interpretation on any laws as they are doing right now.
In the end, fate of the divided Nagas shall be decided by their actions alone not entirely by their distinct history.
Along the way, Naga leaders ought to remember famous quote of Albert Einstein’s, which says, “Madness Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results.”
(The writer is a resident of Samziuram Village Peren, Nagaland)