Hopes of accord

There is finally hope that the country’s longest living insurgency in Nagaland may be coming to an end, with the Central government and the main militant faction, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) arriving at the broad contours of an agreement in their talks. It has to be discussed with other Naga groups which may not have many objections.  There is likely to less opposition from among political parties in the state. The joint legislators’ forum of all the 60 MLAS of the state had taken the initiative for the talks and put pressure on both sides to reach a speedy agreement. The ceasefire agreement in Nagaland has been holding strong for years but there is the need to put in its place a permanent agreement.

Two intractable issues that made an agreement impossible were the insurgents’ demand for sovereignty in the Naga territory and the demand for a Nagalim, a greater Nagaland consisting of areas in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. The NSCN (IM) has now agreed to accept a structure which conforms to the Indian Constitution and has reportedly dropped the demand for a Nagalim. The acceptance of the Constitution by the militants would only necessitate the granting of a greater level of autonomy to the state. The thinking seems to be to rename the present assembly  as Tatar Hoho and form a pan-Naga body for Nagas living outside the state and abroad. The state might also be allowed to use a separate flag and  granted a special status through additions made to Article 371 A. Some subjects from the Central and Concurrent list may also be transferred to the state list.

There is a view that the agreement should be finalised in all details before the state assembly elections due in March 2013 so that the militants will get an opportunity to take part in the democratic process earliest. But much work has to be done to fine-tune what has till now been agreed. Constitutional amendments will be required to  implement the agreement. A national political consensus will be needed to support the process. It may be premature to pass judgment on the agreement before all  the details are worked out and officially disclosed. But it should not lead to a situation where other states should also demand special or unequal status for different and various reasons.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry