Nagas' to seek divine intervention to resolve vexed political issue

The Nagaland Joint Christian Forum has appealed to churches, cutting across denominations, to organise a special prayer this Sunday for early solution to the vexed problem.

Published: 07th February 2019 07:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2019 07:12 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: After the Centre failed to resolve Nagaland’s protracted “political problem” vis-à-vis insurgency issue in years, the Nagas are now turning to God to seek divine intervention.

The Nagaland Joint Christian Forum has appealed to churches, cutting across denominations, to organise a special prayer this Sunday for early solution to the vexed problem.

The Forum wants the churches to pray that “God grant His wisdom and direction to the leaders of both Government of India and Naga national political groups (Naga rebel groups)”. It wants the issue to be resolved before upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“It has become the attitude of Government of India to sideline the issues arising from Nagaland and this time around, it has become very clear that they instigate a non-issue to cover up and drag the issue at hand. These are things that we must commit to God so that with the prayer of believers, God will intervene,” a statement issued by the Forum reads.

The non-issue here is ostensibly Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which the Centre wants to pass in Parliament to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six persecuted non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Forum described as “political rhetoric” the Centre’s recognition of the “historical and political uniqueness of Nagas” and the promise to resolve the issue soon. Stating that the patience of Nagas has been tested over and over again, it warned that the delay tactics could evolve into “another long-range problem if it is not dealt with all seriousness”. 

The Naga insurgency problem dates back to 1950s when the Naga National Council (NNC) had first spearheaded a separatist movement under the leadership of AZ Phizo. After years of consultations, they signed the Shillong Accord of 1975 with the Central government. It was the rebels’ acceptance of the supremacy of Indian Constitution without condition and renouncement of their demand for secession of Nagaland from India. However, a section of NNC leaders, who viewed it as the Nagas’ meek surrender to India, broke away and formed a splinter group called National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN. Over the past four decades, the outfit suffered multiple splits.

The Isak-Muivah faction of NSCN, called NSCN-IM, has been engaged in peace negotiations with the Centre since 1997. At least six other groups came aboard in past three years. However, the cherished settlement of the issue continues to elude both Nagas and Centre.

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