Is Nagaland going the Kashmir way?

Delhi based students from Nagaland stage a protest march demanding solution to the issue of Naga peace talks, and a decision on the framework agreement, in New Delhi on Sept. 25, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Nagaland is abuzz with this question, as the state government on Monday asked bureaucrats not to make "anti-government" posts on social media and ordered them not to leave the place of posting, amid reports that the Centre is likely to ink the final agreement with Naga groups to end the decades-long Naga conflict.

A notification issued by Abhijit Sinha, principal secretary (home department), said many government servants were criticising government policies and decisions in social media, press and public meetings, which was a violation of Nagaland Government Servants Conduct Rules 1968. It also warned them of disciplinary action.

The government also asked the deputy commissioners not to leave their work stations without written permission from the chief secretary. Security has also been beefed up to tackle any situation.

Many in the state say the steps were taken as the state could witness turmoil if the Centre signs the final agreement by sidelining NSCN (IM), the rebel group, which is bent on having a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas—a demand already rejected by the Narendra Modi government. 

Nagaland governor and Centre's interlocutor R N Ravi earlier hinted that the negotiation for signing the final agreement could be complete by the end of October but said that endless negotiation under the shadow of guns was meaningless. Sources said Ravi is likely to meet NSCN (IM) leaders in New Delhi "for the last time" soon.

"The Centre could go ahead with the final agreement with other Naga groups without the NSCN (IM) if the latter still refuses a middle path and accepts other options," the source said.

In a statement emailed to DH on Tuesday evening, NSCN (IM) reiterated its stance that a separate flag and Constitution is a must for "honourable and acceptable" solution. 

Naga groups, including NSCN (IM) do not consider Nagas to be part of India and fought an armed insurgency till a ceasefire was signed with the Centre in 1997. After years of negotiation, the NSCN (IM) signed a "Framework Agreement" with the Modi government in August 2015, which accepted the Naga's problem as a unique one.

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