Consultative meet sans NNPGs, NSCN (IM)
Taken into confidence ?
It is interesting and something to be noted. Consultative meeting convened by the Government of Nagaland to discuss the ongoing peace dialogue and the political issues that go along with the talks but the two principal parties, that is the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs, not invited to the talk. Is this an indication that it is time for the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs to pass the peace pipe so that all who have a stake in the peace process can take a puff of the pipe and it should not be savoured only by those claiming to represent the Naga people or is it an indication that the two sides cannot be expected to sit down together and grace a meeting ? Tough to say, but remember the subject to be discussed is central to what the two parties have been pursuing for years, the NSCN (IM) since 1997 after it signed the truce pact with the Government of India and the NNPGs after RN Ravi brought them on board the peace process in 2017. So what can one expect from the consultative meeting, which must be underway even as this commentary is being penned down, is the question that will be of interest to all those who have been watching the ongoing dialogue with keen interest. This question will be of interest to the people of Manipur too and remember Chief Minister of Nagaland, Nephiu Rio, in his earlier stint in the same position did not mince word in backing the demand championed by the NSCN (IM). Remember 2012 when Rio turned out to be one of the star campaigners for the NPF in the hill districts and openly backed the call for one administrative set up for the Nagas. The twist and turn of the politics of peace, one may say, but at the moment, it is not the call for the integration of all Naga inhabited areas which has become the bone of contention between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India, but a separate flag and Constitution and probably this is what the scheduled consultative meeting will focus on.
From Greater Lim or Nagalim to Pan Naga Hoho to the Framework Agreement of 2015 to separate flag and Constitution and certainly the peace process between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India has taken several twists and turns and each turn and twist has been taken seriously by the people of Manipur, the people who are committed to the idea of Manipur as a geo-political entity. Enough to let the people of Manipur question the sincerity of New Delhi and make them raise the call that Manipur too should be taken into confidence before the final pact is signed. A demand or a point which has already been laid clear before Union Home Minister Amit Shah, according to COCOMI. The stand of Manipur is clear and that is it should be taken into confidence before a final deal in inked. Nothing so far to indicate that Manipur has been kept in the loop on the developments surrounding the peace process, and this is where the announcement of NEDA convener and BJP strongman in Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma that all the North East States have been taken into confidence needs to be studied more minutely. This is where the Government of Manipur would do well to spell out whether it has received any intimation to qualify being said that it is kept in the loop. Or is it a case of communication gap ? Whatever the case may be, what Himanta Biswa Sarma has said merits a response from the State Government. Civil society organisations of Manipur may also raise this question for it was not so long back that COCOMI had raised the demand that the people of Manipur should be taken into confidence.