UKHRUL/MANIPUR: The Nagas on Saturday renewed the demand for early settlement to the protracted Naga political problem from the birthplace of firebrand Thuingaleng Muivah, who is spearheading a movement for a few decades.
Muivah is the general secretary of Naga underground group National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM and its chief negotiator in the peace talks with the Centre.
The rains may have played spoilsport at a peace rally in Manipur’s Ukhrul, Muivah’s birthplace, but impatience among the Nagas for an early solution to the vexed issue was certainly palpable. The rally
was taken out by Tangkhul Naga Long – the apex social organisation of the Tangkhul (tribe) Nagas – and participated by various Tangkhul Naga organisations of Manipur.
Twenty one years elapsed since the Centre entered into a peace process with the NSCN-IM to resolve the issue. Last year, several other Naga underground groups, except the SS Khaplang faction of NSCN,
known as NSCN-K, came on board. However, as the much-cherished solution continues to elude both sides, there is now sense of restlessness among the Nagas.
“We are optimistic about an early solution to the issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had committed to settle it. However, if the settlement continues to get delayed, the Nagas will certainly start losing their faith in the process. They desire that the issue is resolved as early as possible. They have waited for too many years during which many lives were lost,” Gaidon Kamei, president of Manipur’s apex Naga social organisation United Naga Council, told The New Indian Express.
As a prelude to the final settlement, the Centre and the NSCN-IM had signed the Framework Agreement in 2015. Apparently, the stalemate in the talks is over certain contentious issues, which neither the Centre nor the NSCN-IM have revealed so far. The Nagas stand in favour of a solution that serves the
interests of all their people settled across Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
“The Framework Agreement was signed based on the unique history of the Nagas. We are an independent people and we will accept a solution that is honourable to us Nagas. The Government of India has accepted the rights and interests of the Nagas and the peace talks are being held on the basis of shared sovereignty,” Kamei said.
Later at the rally, he alleged that the Centre, over the past 70 years, did all that it could to suppress the Nagas and their aspirations but without any success. Tangkhul Naga Long president, Weapon Zimik, admitted that many Indian leaders, including successive Prime Ministers, had exhibited sensitivity and wisdom in addressing the issue.
“The Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 but we are yet to achieve final solution. This reminds us of the complex nature of the issue,” he said.
The organisations submitted a memorandum to the Centre through Ukhrul deputy commissioner (district magistrate) alleging that some forces were at work to jeopardise the peace process and as such,
they should be condemned as the common enemy. They alleged that as settlement was hanging fire, various agencies and forces of the Central government were indifferent to the well-being of the Nagas.
They categorically said: “The sincerity and the integrity of India shall be put to the strength of a shoe string if the voice of the public goes unheeded”. They appealed to Modi to expedite solution to the issue based on the spirit of Framework Agreement.