Indian President Ram Nath Kovind himself had announced that the age old Naga issue will be sorted out soon, while delivering speech on the inaugural function of the Nagaland HornBill Festival. Earlier in September last year Governor of Nagaland PV Archarya had also assured the people of Nagaland that the issue will be solved in two months. The governor gave the statement in the presence of media people two months before Christmas. RN Ravi, the interlocutor of the peace talk representing India had also convened meeting with almost all Nagaland based UGs except the NSCN-K. Rumours about a solution before Christmas or before the upcoming Nagaland state legislative assembly was the talk of the region even though, contents of the talk was never made public. Even the framework agreement signed between the collective leadership of the NSCN-IM and the Government of India in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath still is kept secret.
Now the Election Commission of India (ECI) yesterday announced the poll scheduled for Nagaland state along with two other states- Meghalaya and Tripura. The Code of conduct comes into force in the three states the moment ECI announced the poll date. Plea of the Nagaland based civil society organizations to solve the Naga issue before the election was not heard. The political parties including the NPF, which had once supported the Nagaland based civil society organizations had welcome the ECI announcement for conducting election of the Nagaland legislative assembly election on February 27. The kind of development taking place showed that the peace talk being underway between the NSCN-IM and the government of India for almost 21 years is likely to continue for more years.
Another interesting development that was already expected is the division among the various groups of people of Nagaland states on whether to allow the conduct of the state legislative assembly election without resolving the issue of the Naga problem.
Now, Naga Hoho, a powerful Naga civil body had openly comes out against the conduct of Nagaland State Assembly election before shorting out the Naga Problem. Soon after the announcement the apex body of the Naga Civil body had threaten to boycott the Nagaland state assembly election. On the other hand another powerful students’ body the Naga Students’ Federation is preparing to hold rally against the state assembly election under the banner “no solution, no election”. On the other hand, departure of Neiphiu Rio from the NPF may have different reason but left over party led by TR Zeliang is not going against this election. The party’s alliance with BJP is also another fact that the party will go for poll. NPF is the brain child of the NSCN-IM and its refusal to go along with the Naga Hoho and Naga Students’ Federation showed that something which has been expected with the delay in the solving of the aged old Naga issue is coming to the limelight.
The silence of the NSCN-IM is also a matter need to be pondered upon. Boycotting of the election will in no way do good of the rebel outfit which is undergoing peace talk with the government of India. It already had its experiences. In 1998 , the NSCN-IM boycotted the Nagaland state assembly election. However, the boycott call turned out another obstacle for the NSCN-IM as the Congress led by SC Jamir won 60% of the seat and form government. Mr. Jamir had political differences with the rebel group NSCN-IM then.
This time too, either boycott or no boycott, the Election Commission of India will hold the election by any means. This is known to the NSCN-IM collective leadership too. And the result of the election might stand as another thorn to the strategy of the NSCN-IM.
This editorial had earlier opined that the solution to the issue of the NSCN-IM is still a far away dream and assurance by those in the government as well as those in the collective leadership about a possible solution before Nagaland state assembly election was just another trick to be fool the ignore people of the region. This column had also suggested that those believing the collective leadership of the NSCN-IM need to ponder on whether it is wise decision to follow them or not as everyone knows that any deal made between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM is made secret. On the other hand every citizen also knows what the cadres of the NCSN-IM did in the last twenty years behind the so call peace talk. It’s long that both parties are fooling the people. Now it’s time that people in Nagaland wake up and make a decision to make Nagaland another paradise free from violence. Let the saying “you can fool some people for some times but you cannot fool all the people all the time”, still stands true.