Questioning truce pacts with others Politics of peace
The politics of peace or the politics of political dialogue is certainly interesting and one has seen this from close quarters ever since the NSCN (IM) inked the ceasefire agreement with the Government of India on August 1, 1997. Thereafter began the round of political dialogue with different demands and points put forth by the rebel group ranging from Greater Lim, integration of all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit, autonomy for Naga inhabited areas, pan Naga homeland or area, separate flag, separate Constitution etc etc and along the way the Centre has gone ahead and inked agreements with other armed Naga groups, which are distinct and different from the NSCN (IM). The stand of the Centre may be understood in the need to take everyone along but this is something which is not amenable to the NSCN (IM). Naga political issue is one and there can be only one solution, is the line adopted by the IM faction of the NSCN and while one can see the logic in such a stand, the question of bigger import is who or which group decides what that solution can be ? Does this mean that it is only the NSCN (IM) which represents the true voice of the Naga people and not the others ? Or better still do the other groups, notably the groups which have come together under the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), have no say in the affairs of the Naga people ? This is a question which only the people of Nagaland can answer, but then there still remains the question of how much value is given to the voice or likes of the people. The NSCN (IM) claims that it represents all the Naga people, who may be living outside the territorial understanding of the State of Nagaland and this is why one finds its presence so strongly in the Naga dominated districts of Manipur like Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel, but how far can it take these districts along while inking the final deal with the Government of India ? This is a question which has haunted Manipur for years, and this is where it becomes significant to note that to the NNPGs a political solution confined to the boundary of Nagaland is enough.
The growing voice of discontent against the move of New Delhi to engage with as many armed Naga groups as possible has obviously not gone down well with the NSCN (IM) and the statement it issued to all the media houses on September 12, 2021 questioning the motive of New Delhi in engaging with other armed groups should underline this point. It is also significant to note that the Government of India has gone ahead and signed a ceasefire pact with the Niki Sumi group of the NSCN. Early days yet, but already one can see the politics of peace beginning to impact on the peace process first inked between the NSCN (IM) and New Delhi on August 1, 1997. A peace process for over 24 years and clearly one can understand the unease over the exceptionally long years of negotiation, more particularly after the Framework Agreement was inked between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on August 3, 2015. More than six years down the line and there is nothing to show that the Framework Agreement has been able to push the political dialogue forward and it would not be surprising when the Naga intelligentsia begin to question the value of the Framework Agreement.