From bush war to politics of talks
Tongue lashing media
The politics of peace. Something far removed from the politics of bush war for here there is no guarantee that all the bullets fired will always hit the target, no matter how straight the shooter is. This is something which the NSCN (IM) must have learnt in its more than 20 years of political negotiations with the Government of India and just like the numerous bush wars it had waged earlier, it must be clear to them now that the politics of peace also calls for many fronts to be opened, from where offensives may be launched. This should perhaps explain why the NSCN (IM) has of late gone hammer and tongs against certain sections of the media, even going to the extent of taking names of not just the particular newspaper but also the name of the correspondent or reporter who filed the story which may not exactly be up to their ‘liking’. Wonder what would have happened if any newspaper based in Imphal, Dimapur or Kohima had broken such stories. The verbal offensive from the NSCN (IM) came just hours after some newspapers based in other parts of the country came out with the story under the eye catching headline, “Naga accord ‘draft’ finalised, demand for separate flag rejected”. One cannot help but just imagine how the response would have been like if any of the Imphal, Dimapur or Kohima based newspapers had broken such a story. If the past is any experience, one could have expected many of the frontier organisations to come out blazing and even going to the extent of banning or boycotting such a newspaper in the areas where its writ runs large. The Sangai Express was at the receiving end of such an offensive when it was banned sometime back in 2001 in some areas for publishing a story which it received from a wire feed. It was a story from a news agency, and never mind whether any newspaper in other parts of the country carried it or not, the axe fell on The Sangai Express and another vernacular daily published from Imphal.
The point is, as a responsible outfit in talks with the Government of India, purportedly on behalf of the Naga people, the NSCN (IM) need to show more restraint. If the report is wrong, deny it but it is unseemly when conspiracy theories are read into any report with which it may not exactly see eye to eye. The latest outburst from the outfit was also a bit surprising given that the NSCN (IM) is believed to be media savvy and had always seemed to have the media highlighting its stories in a positive light. On the other hand, the September 7 report was not the first which had come out on a similar line. Readers who have been keenly following the developments of the peace talk may remember that back on August 30, another story from newspapers based in other parts of the country had come out with a story under the heading, which screamed, “Naga pact soon as Government believes it can bypass NSCN (IM).” It was a little over 30 days later that the latest story that the draft of the final accord, which had rejected the demand for a separate flag hit the pages of the newspapers. There is a somewhat similar line to the two news stories in that both talked about how the two major demands of the NSCN (IM), a separate flag and a separate Constitution, have been brushed aside. The message rung out is also clear and this would not have missed the leadership of the NSCN (IM). The message is, the Centre believes that it can ink a final pact sans the NSCN (IM). Whether such a line of thought is practical or not is something which only time can tell.