GUWAHATI: As rhetoric over the Centre’s peace process with Naga extremist group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) reaches fever pitch, Nagaland’s neighbours have begun to raise a voice.
The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has warned the Centre that there could be a ‘largescale social unrest’ in the state if it settled the ‘Naga issue’ without consulting all stakeholders.
Expressing opposition to the NSCN-IM’s ‘nefarious designs’, the students’ body demanded that Arunachal be kept outside the purview of any ‘territorial changes’ or ‘administrative and political interventions’ which the Centre might work out to settle the Naga problem.
The AAPSU criticised the state’s BJP government and the elected representatives of Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts for their silence on the Naga talks.A contentious demand of the NSCN-IM is the integration of the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur with Nagaland. Tirap, Changlang and Longding in Arunachal are parts of the NSCN-IM’s envisaged unified Naga homeland called ‘Greater Nagalim’, to which the neighbouring states are opposing.
Last week, the AAPSU had issued a statement claiming that there are no Nagas in Arunachal. An organisation, called the Tirap Changlang Longding People’s Forum, countered the claim stating: “We, the proud Naga tribes of Tirap Changlang and Longding, hereby reiterate that we are Nagas by culture, origin and birth”.
Stating that people in the three districts stand for peace, the forum said precious lives had been lost due to violence.However, the AAPSU condemned the forum for its ‘anti-Arunachal’ activities. It said the elements involved in the violent activities in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts were not home-grown.
Deve Gowda upset
Ex-PM HD Deve Gowda is upset that the Naga peace process has run into rough weather but he is hopeful that a peace accord will be reached at the earliest. “Newspaper reports indicate that the Union government’s negotiations with NSCN-IM to resolve the Naga problem have run into rough weather... it is apparent that distrust has crept in,” Deve Gowda said in a statement.