Final pact sans the NSCN (IM)? Uneasy peace

    13-Sep-2020
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Tough posture from both sides. Flag, Constitution and now renewing the demand for Naga integration or rather bringing all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit. This is the NSCN (IM). On the other hand is the vocal but not official stand that a final pact may be signed with the other Naga armed groups which are in talks with the Government of India minus the NSCN (IM). Look at the manner in which reports along this line have been hitting the daily newspapers which have all quoted ‘reliable sources.’ More than the news reports, there have also been ‘well researched’ articles appearing in different National newspapers but here refreshingly the articles have come from ‘either side,’ once again underlining how both sides have understood the power of the written words to form opinions. That things would come to such a situation is something which would not have been imaginable five years back when the Framework Agreement was signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on August 3, 2015. It was top secret, something like a classified information, with no one knowing the details of the August 3 pact, but in the heated exchange of words, the NSCN (IM) has gone ahead and spilled the beans, meaning they have laid bare the contents of the Framework Agreement while delivering what they believe is their rightful stand. Caught in the crossfire between the NSCN (IM) and the Centre or rather Interlocutor RN Ravi, is obviously the 23 years long peace process and the important question is whether the 23 years long journey of negotiations will end up like this or not.
The Centre is obviously riding on the shoulder of the NNPGs made up of seven armed outfits, which is reportedly agreeable to the proposal of inking the final pact sans a flag and a Constitution. Nagalim or Greater Nagaland is again another point which they have not at all pursued for in their opinion, the talk is something which concerns the Nagas of Nagaland and not the Nagas of other States such as Manipur. It is along this line of thinking or belief that the NNPGs is ready to sign a deal which concerns only Nagaland and this is again something which the people of Manipur have been demanding for long. Sign the final deal with the NNPGs sans the NSCN (IM) and their demands and it will not disturb the neighbouring States of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and the Modi Government would have achieved something significant. The important question however is whether a final pact sans the NSCN (IM) would be able to actually deliver peace. Memories of what happened after the Shillong Accord of 1975 must still be fresh in the minds of the Government of India. If the past is any indication, one can expect internecine feud to dominate Nagaland and the neighbouring States especially Manipur for this is one place where the NSCN (IM) has a strong presence. This fact would not have blown over the heads of the Government of India and in all likelihood in the long 23 years of ceasefire, the cadre strength of the NSCN (IM) must have increased manifold. Uneasy days at the moment, but one certainly hopes that no hasty decision is taken else the peace seeds sown in 1997 can lead to more unwanted developments.