The talks for ensuring long-term peace in the North Eastern state of Nagaland received impetus this Monday. The issue of militant separatism in Nagaland is one of the oldest continuing cases of insurgency in independent India.
The delegation of Naga National Political Groups(NNPGs) met the Home Minister of India on Monday. Amit Shah ensured a stable resumption of the political dialogue between the stakeholders in the Naga issue. The delegation was led by Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland.
The resumption of talks comes after a three-year impasse on it, and a number of incidents hurtful to both sides. Most notable was the botched-up operation of the Indian Army in Nagaland, where it mistakingly killed three innocent civilians. The Naga separatist groups had also killed a colonel of the Indian Army along with his wife and a seven-year-old boy in an ambush, earlier this year.
The main contention in the dialogue is the controversial ‘three demands’ put by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah(NSCN-IM) for ensuring peace. NSCN(IM) along with seven other NNPGs is adamant on the issue as well.
The demands consist of the inclusion of the Yehzabo or the separate Naga constitution into the Indian constitution. Naga-dominated regions of Assam, Manipur, & Arunanchal Pradesh into the Nagalim, or the ‘greater Nagaland’ is the second demand. Finally, the creation of the Autonomous Territorial Council in Manipur & Arunanchal Pradesh effectively for administration over the 1.2 million-strong Naga community in the region.
It is important to note that both sides now accuse each other of betrayal & fomenting dissent among their internal factions. The trust deficit is evident from the seeming inconsistency in the Government’s stand on the issue.
While the previous interlocutor the Nagaland, R.N. Ravi, had in principle agreed to all the three demands, his successor A.K.Mishra has backtracked from the same.
The problem pervades the murky waters of politics due to the lack of connection between the communities both within and outside the state. An attempt toward resolution of the issue will require a people-to-people connection to speed up the process. The distinction between the social differences & political divisions needs to be understood.
The speech of Temzen Imna Along, the education minister of Nagaland, in this regard, went viral on social media a few months ago.
He talked about the need for Indians to understand each other in order to establish mutual respect.
The fatigue of suffering and the siege of the deadlock may open, perhaps, with popular involvement this time.