If what The Week has published is anything to go by then the NSCN (IM) will certainly have a task at hand to sell their ‘idea’ of a settlement to the Naga people. By all indications, the idea of sovereignty seems to have been dropped for good and while no one knows what the final settlement will be, it is more than obvious that the two sides, that is the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India, are working hard to come to a meeting point. This is how precisely the Framework Agreement, signed between the two entities way back on August 3, 2015, will pave the way for the final solution. If what has been published is true then it is not the people of Manipur, who the outfit and New Delhi will have to contend with, but see how it can take the Naga people along with their idea of a resolution. This is where it is interesting to note that the term used here is ‘Naga People’ and not ‘People of Nagaland.’ More than an indication that the demand of taking all the Naga people settled in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in the final solution to be inked between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) will be met to a certain extent. It is however not certain to what extent this will be. As per the report published by The Week nothing has been said on the demand to integrate all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit and this will be taken well by Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The only hitch is how well such a solution will be taken by the Naga people, particularly the Nagas settled in the said neighbouring States.
So far the only concession made for the Nagas of Manipur seems to be the clause which states, “The Union Government will create an autonomous district council with financial autonomy on the lines of the Bodoland Territorial Council for the four hill districts of Manipur (Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Ukhrul). Whether it will be done under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution or a State Act is yet to be discussed.” The question is whether such a formula for the Nagas of Manipur will be acceptable, sans Naga integration and sovereignty. The other points touched in the report carried by The Week may not ruffle any one, but it stands that anything to do with the neighbouring States can surely kick up a furore if not handled well. This is a point which the BJP Government under Narendra Modi cannot afford to overlook. The other clause, which states that permanent resident status for the Nagas will be spelt out is also interesting. Here it goes on to add that only permanent residents will have the right to vote and acquire land in Naga territory. Not Nagaland territory. As things stand today, no non-tribals are allowed to settle or buy land in the hill areas, including the areas which are deemed to be under the Nagas. This leaves open the question of whether this means that even other tribal groups will not be able to buy or own land in Naga areas, as they do not belong to the Naga tribe. Let there be a solution, but in the process care should be taken to ensure that in the process it does not kick up more problems for other communities.
Source: The Sangai Express