Verbal spat : Reading the minutes
Politics behind war of words
The politics behind the war of words between the NSCN (IM) and Interlocutor to the peace talks RN Ravi is interesting and so many things may be read into this. The probability of different groups of people having different takes on the verbal duel may be directly linked to the extremely ‘secretive nature’ in which the peace process has been going on since 1997, made more ‘secret’ by the highly ‘classified’ Framework Agreement of August 3, 2015. Now nearly five years down the line since the Framework Agreement was signed and one can see radical stands adopted by RN Ravi and the NSCN (IM). Flag, Constitution, Naga Integration are points which New Delhi has rejected, or so reports coming in from the National capital had indicated and to illustrate the stand of where the Centre stands on the ‘major demands’ raised by the NSCN (IM), RN Ravi reportedly disclosed that the Government of India may well sign the final Naga pact sans the NSCN (IM). How well this will go down with the Naga people, on either side of the border divide between Nagaland and Manipur can only be imagined, but it is against this that the NSCN (IM) on March 2 came out with a lengthy statement asserting its stand and debunking what RN Ravi had to say earlier. The Sangai Express was not in a position to minutely edit the lengthy statement that came at the last minute, not once but twice, with a ‘correction’ from a news agency based at Nagaland running into more than 2500 words ! Readers must have had a hard time understanding what the NSCN (IM) wanted to say and whether the verbal duel is just another round of sparring before any final deal is inked !
From what the NSCN (IM) has had to say, it may be inferred that the Framework Agreement has not been laid down in black and white. “Both parties have mutually agreed that within this Framework Agreement the details and execution plan will be worked out and implemented,” is the line the NSCN (IM) has maintained and elaborated that ‘integration of Naga areas and the statutory Pan Naga Hoho, have been agreed upon” and expressed surprise that these issues have been projected as contentious, referring to what RN Ravi had to say in his recent interview to a Nagaland based newspaper which was widely carried by Imphal based newspapers a day later as well. To give weight to their line of thinking, the outfit maintained that both parties have mutually agreed that the political power of a Government including legislative, executive and judiciary will be with a Naga Government and the agreement will cover all Naga areas. The line ‘agreement will cover all Naga areas’ implies Naga integration and this is the interpretation of the NSCN (IM) that the Framework Agreement entails Naga integration. Not the case of The Sangai Express to say which side of the story is more plausible, for RN Ravi is a man representing the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) is an outfit engaged with the Government of India and which has already inked an agreement back in 2015. This is perhaps what will make the supposedly last few steps towards the final deal all that more interesting.