The wedge amongst the Nagas Politics of peace
The politics of peace, to repeat a line which The Sangai Express has been referring to quite often of late and it is should be obvious that this politics of peace has today driven a wedge amongst different groups of people who otherwise identify themselves as Nagas. The wedge or rather the division is today no longer seen only between the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs but also amongst the people who either side claim to represent. So even as the Zeliangrong Baudi (Assam, Manipur, Nagaland), Zeliangrong Youth Front (Assam, Manipur, Nagaland), Zeliangrong Students’ Union (Assam, Manipur, Nagaland) and the Zeliangrong Baudi (Manipur) proclaimed some time back that they stand with the Agreed Position inked between the Government of India and the Working Committee of the NNPGs, the Rongmei Naga People’s Organisation (RNPO) and the Rongmei Naga Council, Manipur (RNCM) have come forward to negate the claim of the Zeliangrong bodies and even went to the extent of asserting that Zeliangrong bodies no longer represent the Inpui, Liangmai, Rongmei and Zeme people. This line of thinking falls in line with the earlier proclamation of the NSCN (IM) giving recognition to the different tribes or groups which together earlier made up the Zeliangrong community. It was this stand which the Zeliangrong Baudi (Manipur) stood strongly against with its then president the late Athuan Abonmai coming out strongly against the decree of the NSCN (IM). Manipur is witness to what happened thereafter and this should more than underline the point that the difference is more than skin deep. Clearly the politics of peace has begun to take its toll and in the process the NNPGs and quite a few personalities from Nagaland have made it clear that they do not want anything much to do with the people who identify themselves as Nagas from Manipur. Such a stand could have come as a sort of a dampener to the Lim or Greater Lim stand of the NSCN (IM) and one wonders how things will progress. Even if the final pact is signed with the NNPGs leaving out the NSCN (IM), can this be taken to mean that the Naga issue has been resolved ? Tough to say how things will pan out, but clearly the politics of peace must have started rankling the rank and file of the NSCN (IM) and this is what is not desirable.
The stand of the people of Manipur, particularly the Meiteis, has always been clear. Any deal inked should stay confined within the boundary of Nagaland and not spill over into the neighbouring States, particularly Manipur, is the stand. This comes close to what the NNPGs has been maintaining for some time now. Clearly the pressure on the NSCN (IM) is evident. How things unfold is best left to the realm of imagination or speculation, but what is clear is that pressure is being mounted to corner the group, which was at one point of time known as the dominant Naga group. In Thuingaleng Muivah the NSCN has an inspiring leader, but it should be noted that things have not exactly been going according to the script that the outfit may have thought of earlier. In roping in the NNPGs, former Interlocutor and Governor of Nagaland RN Ravi seems to have succeeded in something significant, that is let the internal differences in the Naga society come out on its own in all its ugliness. So far the differences seem to be an exercise in shadow boxing, especially on the pages of the newspapers and one hopes that it does not spill onto the streets. One can still remember the days that followed after the Shillong Accord was signed in 1975 and when the NSCN split into the NSCN (IM) and the NSCN (K) in 1988. What however is clear is that the people, who the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs claim to represent want a solution, an honourable solution but the point is, something which is honourable to one may not exactly be honourable to the other and hereby hangs a tale.