Separate flag and separate Constitution:On the basis of history?
Despite Article 370 which gave the provisions of a separate flag and Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir being abrogated under the line that there cannot be two flags and two Constitutions in one country, the NSCN (IM) is insisting on the same, before a final deal is inked with the Government of India. This is what has been stressed in a statement issued by the information and publicity wing of the Naga armed outfit a few days back. The stand of the NSCN (IM) is all that more significant given that the ongoing political dialogue with New Delhi is reportedly at its final stage and giving it more sense of urgency is the reported instruction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Interlocutor and Governor of Nagaland RN Ravi to wrap up the dialogue within three months. The instruction was reportedly given just before RN Ravi took over as Governor of Nagaland and in effect this means that the time frame given for the negotiation to wrap up is just a little over two months now. With the Government of India yet to respond to the open statement of the NSCN (IM) or make it known to the public, it is difficult to say how the outcome would be, but it is very likely that the NSCN (IM) has put forward such a proposal in the backdrop of the ‘unique history of the Nagas,’ a tag or recognition given by the BJP Government when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. In all probability, it is on the strength of the ‘unique history of the Nagas’ that the NSCN (IM) has put forward such a proposal despite the fact that the BJP led Government has done away with the separate Constitution and flag of Jammu and Kashmir.
The history of each and every community is unique in its own way, but it is probably on the strength of the recognition given by the Government of India that the NSCN (IM) has raised such a proposition. And this is where it becomes interesting. The tag ‘unique history of the Nagas’ could have come from the fact that Nagaland was never a part of India before it was taken over by the British, much like many parts of North East India. Moreover it also stands that the immediate foreign neighbour of Nagaland is Myanmar and not Pakistan and this is one point which would not have blown over the heads of New Delhi. Moreover remember the Nagas of Nagaland and elsewhere are tribals or Scheduled Tribes which made Union Home Minister Amit Shah assure that the special provisions given to Nagaland and other North East States would not be negated. It was probably in recognition of all these attributes that the BJP led Government under Vajpayee first gave the tag ‘unique history of Nagas’ and it is probably on the strength of this tag that the NSCN (IM) has raised their demand. Still too early to say which way the wind will blow, but the NSCN (IM) has already made their stand known and while this may just be symbolic points which remain to be sorted out, as RN Ravi said, to the NSCN (IM), it means something substantial, particularly something which can make them assert their identity.