New Delhi, Jan. 9: A concerted move is building up in Nagaland for the removal of Governor Shyamal Datta. Senior political leaders and former chief ministers have indicated to Delhi their unhappiness at Datta’s alleged closeness to the Congress government of S.C. Jamir and his attempts to scuttle the peace talks.
“The Governor has a special and important role to play in Nagaland. The Governor should ensure that chief minister S.C. Jamir’s attempts to hijack the peace process are checked. Datta is not doing so,” said Hokishe Sema, a former Governor.
Sema said he has told Prime Minster Atal Bihari Vajpayee of his unhappiness with Datta. “The pressure will keep growing until Datta is recalled,” he said. Former chief minister Vizol is expected to join the chorus for Datta’s removal from Kohima.
Datta, who was appointed Governor soon after he retired as Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief last year, antagonised many in Nagaland by advising the Centre against lifting the ban on the NSCN (I-M). Delhi, however, did not extend the ban and let it lapse on November 26 last year.
Lifting the ban was one of the conditions laid down by NSCN (I-M) leaders Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah for their trip to India for talks.
As IB chief, Datta had accompanied the Centre’s interlocutor in the peace talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, to Bangkok and Amsterdam several times for talks with Muivah and Swu.
One of the reasons for his posting at Kohima was the hope that his familiarity with the Naga problem and the NSCN leaders would be an asset to Delhi at a time when it is working towards lasting peace in Nagaland.
“We thought Datta’s understanding of the issues would make it easier for him to be a catalyst in the final reconciliation among all Naga groups in the state,” a senior official said. “Now it seems he is moving too close to the chief minister, a man not entirely happy with New Delhi’s wooing of the NSCN,” he added.
However, senior government officials were non-committal about recalling Datta immediately.