Significance of Aug to NSCN (IM):
From 1997 to 2019
To the Nagas, correction, the NSCN (IM), the month of August will definitely be significant, especially after the outfit entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India. It was on August 1, 1997 that the ceasefire agreement was signed and it was on August 3, 2015 that the Framework Agreement was inked between the said outfit and New Delhi. And as things stand today it is in August, 2019 that talks have gained traction that the political negotiations between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India is at its final stage with Interlocutor RN Ravi announcing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would want to wrap up the political process within three months. Again it is during this month that the NSCN (IM) has raised the demand that they want a new Interlocutor for in RN Ravi they now see him more as the Governor of Nagaland rather than an Interlocutor. Central to the stand of the NSCN (IM) is the agreement that the talk would be held at the Prime Minister’s level and a Governor is definitely a step down from the level of the Prime Minister’s Office. Whether the approach of the NSCN (IM) would find favour with New Delhi or not is a different matter but appointing a new Interlocutor at this stage, when the peace process is at its final stage, may not exactly go well with the progress of the ongoing peace talk. On the other hand it could also mean another approach adopted by the NSCN (IM) to hasten the peace process and stick to the three months deadline reportedly set by the Prime Minister. Interesting days ahead, no doubt, but it also stands that New Delhi has to take into consideration many points before inking any final deal with the NSCN (IM) and prominent amongst this is the stand adopted by the civil society organisations of Manipur.
Take others into confidence before the final deal is inked. This is the stand of the United Committee, Manipur and following this is the proclamation of the CCSK that any final deal arrived at should not compromise with the interests of Manipur in any way. On the other hand, there is nothing much to suggest that the NSCN (IM) and its frontal organisations have watered down their Lim demand and this is where New Delhi will have to walk the tight rope. Ink a final deal, but in the process do not upset the neighbouring States. This is the call that New Delhi will have to respect. Difficult to say which way the wind will blow, but it stands that if the month of August is crucial to the NSCN (IM), then the month of June is equally significant to the people of Manipur and the various CSOs of the State. If the ceasefire agreement was inked on August 1, 1997 then the Bangkok Declaration came on June 14, 2001 followed by the people’s uprising on June 18, 2001 in which 18 people were killed. The line that ignited the massive protest of June 18 was ‘ceasefire without territorial limits.’ It was the BJP led Government at New Delhi which signed the Bangkok Declaration back then and now again it is the BJP led Government which has signed the Framework Agreement. And now is August, which has been a month of significance to the NSCN (IM) and a look at what the CSOs of Manipur have had to say in the past few days should tell the reality ahead of the final pact.