Centre gets rare window to resolve Naga issue 

The Centre has got a rare opportunity to resolve the vexed Naga political issue vis-a-vis Naga insurgency issue at one go. 

Published: 28th October 2018 10:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2018 10:36 AM   |  A+A-

A member of NSCN-IM prays during the Christ Council of Nagalim Churches’ Prayer Summit at Dimapur in Nagaland | PTI

GUWAHATI: The Centre has got a rare opportunity to resolve the vexed Naga political issue vis-a-vis Naga insurgency issue at one go. After the virtual division in the SS Khaplang faction of insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), on the lines of nationality, the Khango Konyak-led Indian Nagas are now showing signs of making peace. 

Indian Nagas are cornered for the past few months after Konyak was impeached and removed by the Myanmarese Nagas as NSCN-K chairman. The split is said to have been orchestrated by the Central government. The government, as well as various Naga civil society organisations, always wanted the settlement to be done by taking all groups on board. The Myanmarese Nagas in NSCN-K are now isolated.
Konyak and a group of his colleagues are camping at a village in Nagaland’s Mon district. Despite their presence, security forces are not going after them. There is a perception that the extremists arrived following a tacit understanding with the Centre that they are ready to make peace.

That Konyak’s group will make peace was evident from a statement issued by the NSCN-K’s Yung Aung faction. It said it did not have any problem with Konyak’s faction entering into peace negotiations, but the faction should not to use the NSCN-K nomenclature. Yung Aung, a Myanmarese Naga, is the nephew of SS Khaplang, who founded the NSCN-K. 

The Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) is said to be playing the mediator’s role. An NMA delegation was scheduled to visit Delhi in connection with talks between the Indian Nagas in the NSCN-K and the Centre. The NMA is keeping the development under wraps. Calls made to its leaders went unanswered. Earlier, it twice sent delegates to Myanmar for convincing the NSCN-K leadership to join the peace process. Barring the NSCN-K, all Naga insurgent groups are engaged in peace talks with Delhi. 

The Assam Rifles also indicated something was cooking up between Konyak’s NSCN-K faction and the Centre. “It looks like they want to come aboard. Counter-insurgency operations are planned by the Army. We haven’t received any instruction to go after Khango and his men,” a senior Assam Rifles officer told The Sunday Standard.

“That Konyak and his men are moving about freely on Indian soil means they will join the peace process. Had it not been so, the government wouldn’t have spared the chief of an insurgent group which is responsible for killing 18 soldiers in Manipur three years ago. ,” a senior Army officer said.“It is a golden opportunity for the government to resolve the issue at one go. However, the behaviour of the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN is something which remains to be seen.” 

The peace process began with the NSCN-IM after it signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997. The NSCN-K too was in a ceasefire agreement for 14 years until abrogating it unilaterally in 2015. About half a dozen other Naga insurgent groups joined the peace process a year ago.

Isak Muivah faction: In the driver’s seat
The NSCN’s Isak Muivah faction, which is arguably the most powerful Northeast insurgent group, is the chief negotiator in the Naga peace talks. It is expected to call the shots even while in peace mode. The IM faction had feud with the Khaplang group.


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