GUWAHATI: The Narendra Modi government may have basked in the glory of Framework Agreement but rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) said shared sovereignty was proposed by the Manmohan Singh government.
Signed on August 3, 2015 in New Delhi, the Framework Agreement was viewed as the prelude to the settlement of the decades-old problem. Some sort of agreement on shared sovereignty was believed to have led to the signing of Framework Agreement.
Now, amidst the perception that the “Naga issue” will be resolved any day, the NSCN-IM said issues such as the Naga national flag and “yezabo” (constitution) were yet to be agreed upon by both sides. The outfit’s chairman Q Tuccu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah have written to PM Modi about the doubt and confusion raised by the Nagas on whether an honourable political solution could be arrived at.
“We signed the Framework Agreement after 18 years of negotiations. The Nagas have the sovereign rights. We have agreed to appreciate the difficulties and concerns of each other. So, why not we co-exist on the basis of sharing sovereign power? That was the proposal put up by UPA II,” NSCN-IM leader VS Atem said at a meeting of the outfit’s leaders recently.
He said when the proposal was made, the government had said it would remain as “non-paper” as long as it was accepted by both sides.
“When they brought this proposal, they said until and unless it is accepted by both parties, it shall remain as non-paper. That is a practice of the UN. We accepted it as non-paper. We discussed the formula of sharing sovereign power. We agreed that sharing of sovereign power will be defined and worked out by the competencies for both parties,” Atem said.
“At last, in the Framework Agreement, we wrote it is a matter of great satisfaction that the negotiations between Government of India and the NSCN have successfully concluded. Those were the very words. (We were confident) it will provide for an inclusive and enduring new relationship between the two entities,” he said.
Recently, Centre’s interlocutor in Naga peace process, RN Ravi, had told journalists that while he was being sent to the state as its governor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed the need to conclude the Naga peace process within three months.
However, what stands in the way of much-cherished “solution” are the issues of Naga national flag and constitution.
“…The Framework Agreement is yet to have its fruition as the Government of India is going slow in taking its stand on core issues. This changing situation and other developments compels NSCN chairman Q Tuccu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to write a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi about the doubt and confusion raised by Naga people if an honourable political solution can be arrived at. This is in reference to the core issues like Naga flag and constitution which are yet to be agreed upon between the two parties,” the NSCN-IM said in a statement.
The outfit said without these being resolved, any solution would be far from honourable because “the Nagas’ pride and identity are deeply entrenched here”.
The NSCN-IM had entered into the peace process in 1997 following its signing of a ceasefire agreement with the Centre. Two years ago, several other groups, except NSCN-K, had joined the process. However, the solution to the problem continues to elude both sides.