By Oken Jeet Sandham
It did not take time for the “Framework Agreement” signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) turning into controversial one simply because both sides failed to make the contents public. However, the parties in agreement seemed to be struggling to justify that it was only a “Framework” for the contents to be incorporated.
Whatever explanation made in the wake of their “Framework Agreement” had hardly convinced the masses. However, the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh during the “Framework Agreement” signing ceremony made many feeling somewhat influenced, though they should have organized such significant event a historic one by inviting at least former Prime Ministers, Interlocutors.
Some political pundits, of course, were skeptical on the nature and the timing of the “Framework Agreement.” Their main skepticisms were not altogether wrong as their thinking was any Agreement with Delhi for the settlement of the long drawn out Naga political issue should be a transparent one. In fact, by not inviting former Prime Ministers, Interlocutors at the signing ceremony had shown that transparency was lacking in the Agreement.
The only succor coming in soon after the signing of the “Framework Agreement” was from the statements of Prime Minister Modi and the Interlocutor RN Ravi.
Modi lauded the courage and wisdom of the Naga leaders and civil societies and thanked them for their co-operation in reaching the agreement. He praised the Naga people for their support and the NSCN (IM) for maintaining the ceasefire for nearly two decades that enabled the dialogue to succeed. He also ventilated his vision for the transformation of the Northeast region, while expressing confidence that the agreement would open a glorious new chapter for the Naga people to build a bright future for Nagaland and also contribute to the nation with a sense of pride and confidence.
Ravi kept repeatedly saying that they were working for an “inclusive” settlement on the Naga political issue and would take all stakeholders including the NSCN (K) on board.
Everyone knows that the NSCN (K) had abrogated the ceasefire with the Government of India after 14 long years. The leaders of the outfit knew very well of the consequences they would experience while walking away from the ceasefire. Unfortunately nobody had tried to deeply examine as to why they had to take such drastic step.
Now, soon after their walking away from the ceasefire with the Government of India, they started attacking on the Indian security forces. The Naga people – be it civil society leaders or legislators – could not say anything during such incidents except making passionate appeals to the leadership of the outfit to come back to the ceasefire fold. Because they know very well that ceasefire is the only option that can prevent such unwanted violence. At the same time, Indian security forces as well as Intelligence agencies were remaining complacent underestimating the strength of the outfit and that was how 18 Indian army jawans lost their precious lives while injuring scores when they were attacked on June 4 at Manipur’s Chandel district bordering Myanmar.
Only after the NSCN (K)’s attack on Indian army on June 4, New Delhi woke up to hunt down the cadres not knowing such steps would simply invite public angers complicating the already confused process of Naga solution to an another scale.
New Delhi would hardly be bothered on entering any agreement whether it was with one group or two groups or whatever number of groups. They could manage it. But it would not be a welcoming one for the Naga people for they had been experiencing enough that piecemeal solutions did not end the Naga issue. This was the very reason why the Naga legislators, civil society leaders have been pushing their pleas to the Government of India and NSCN (K) for resumption of their ceasefire. Even the Nagaland Legislators’ Forum (NLF) had resolved to entrust the leaders of Naga Hoho and ENPO to meet the leadership of the NSCN (K) to reconsider their abrogation of the ceasefire with the Government of India and also with a message that such request was also the desire of the Naga people.
The Government of Nagaland, Naga civil societies have been making all out efforts for the restoration of the ceasefire, and at the same time, the Home Ministry has also said that they have no objection to them (civil society groups from Nagaland) from going to Myanmar to hold talks with NSCN (K) members. Interestingly, the Center has not officially permitted the Naga civil society groups to go to Myanmar.
But the turn of events was not that encouraging. The Assam Rifles had come under the barrage of criticisms for allegedly killing two students in Phor Village under Meluri Sub-division and their afterward justification of the incident only damaged the reputation of the Institution. This incident took place when Members of the NLF were hectically engaging in meetings with the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and the Interlocutor at Delhi.
Then came the Pangsha killings on August 28 by the Assam Rifles and very questionably this incident again so happened when the leaders of the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) were camping in the Tuensang district making crucial schedule for meeting with the leaders of the NSCN (K) to request them the importance of resuming the ceasefire with the Government of India. They were not there to instigate the NSCN (K) to attack the Indian security forces but to explain them the futility of such mindless acts and come to the ceasefire fold again for the larger interest of settlement of the Naga political issue.
Such unwanted developments have fast been worsening the already fragile Naga political environment in the State. Gradually, the analysts in various political, social situations literally failed to understand as to whether what Delhi was up to and could not make heads or tails out of their unpredictable roles. These analysts felt that, after observing series of acts irony to what they (Delhi) were preaching, they (Delhi) were wrong.
They were quietly seeking extradition of NSCN (K) supremo SS Khaplang from Myanmar to India. The suspicion on Delhi’s role towards Naga issue has increased when the country’s premier the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has announced Rs 10 lakh reward for any information leading to the arrest of Niki Sumi, who heads the military wing of the outfit and Rs 7 lakh reward on the outfit’s chairman, Khaplang. Finally the suspicion on Delhi is complete as they have declared banning the outfit for five years capping possibility of them coming to the ceasefire fold.
How one can expect honorable and acceptable settlement to the Naga political issue with these unpredictable behaviors of the Government of India, though Modi and Ravi said many encouraging words. It will not be wrong to say that they say something and act differently. All these interesting developments have happened after they have declared “Framework Agreement” with the NSCN (IM).
Really a long road to the Naga political solution!