Reminder to Modi on Naga peace
A leading organisation of Naga people from Manipur on Wednesday reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “expedite” the Naga peace process towards a lasting, honourable and inclusive solution.
The reminder to Modi assumes importance because the Framework Agreement to resolve the Naga political problem was signed in Delhi exactly seven years ago, on August 3 in 2015, in presence of the prime minister.
The Chandel Naga People’s Organisation (CNPO) in Manipur has in a letter to Modi reminded him of his “firm leadership” by signing the “historic” Framework Agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) on August 3, 2015, giving “hope and direction” towards a lasting and honourable solution to the “protracted Indo-Naga Political conflict”.
The letter, signed by CNPO president David Boyes, reminded the Prime Minister that “your good self will honour your decision and expedite the process of inclusive and honourable settlement by avoiding” the mistakes made in the earlier agreements.
The CNPO, formed in 1981, is the apex body of nine Naga tribes in the Chandel district of Manipur. It also has several constituent member organisations, including the students’ organisation, women’s organisation, Christian Forum and Naga Officers organisation.
The CNPO further said: “We would also remind your office that we have completed 25 years on August 1, 2022, since the signing of the ceasefire between GoI and NSCN which has brought about much relief to the masses. India being the victim of colonialism, we believe that it can understand the legitimate aspiration of the Nagas as much as Indians did before the Indian Independence in 1947.”
The CNPO called upon the prime minister, his council of ministers and parliamentarians to be “decisive” in bringing about the prolonged imbroglio to an honourable and inclusive solution “while you have the full support of the majority”.
The call for an early solution has intensified in recent months.
The peace process to end one of Southeast Asia’s longest-running insurgencies started with the ceasefire involving the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) in 1997 and the signing of the Framework Agreement in 2015 to pave the way for an early solution but all the efforts seemed to have hit a roadblock over the issue of separate Naga flag and constitution.
NSCN (IM), the key player in the peace process, has said it was unthinkable for the organisation to accept the Naga national flag as a cultural flag as hinted by the central government because it symbolises Nagas’ political identity and was a non-negotiable.
On August 1, the NSCN (IM), while observing the 25 years of signing the ceasefire on August 1, 1997, “expressed concern for the long years of the Indo-Naga ceasefire which is yet to find a solution to the Naga political issue”.
A final solution to the Naga issue will impact Nagas living in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam besides Nagaland.
The Nagaland government-constituted parliamentary committee on Naga political issue, comprising all 60 MLAs and two MPs of Nagaland, had last month urged Modi and Shah to “invite” the NSCN (I-M) leaders for “an early conclusion” to the ongoing peace process.
The appeal to Modi and Shah was part of the resolutions adopted by the parliamentary committee after its meeting in Kohima to take the stalled peace process forward.