By Nirendra Dev New Delhi/Dimapur, August 6 : Many hundreds of Naga peace activists, such as village elders women and young people marched of the Dimapur, the commercial hub Dimapur, in Nagaland on Friday, calling for an immediate resolution of the Naga political dispute.
Naga traders and public officials insist that only a swift political solution could free Nagaland from the grasp of the extortions, which are referred to as ‘taxes’ by the armed Naga groups.
Demonstrators carried placards that read “We We Want Solution, Not Election’ and “Political Talk Cannot Last Indefinitely’.
The rally was organized by Naga People’s Action Committee – an unpolitical community-based organization that was founded with the help of the civil society as well as Nagaland Gaon Burrah (Village Elders Federation of Village Elders).
Different chambers of commerce and the Dimapur District Citizens’ Forum have also offered support for the rally, where speakers called for a quick resolution to the Naga issue and for an conclusion to the negotiations that have been going on for 25 years.
The Naga peace talks officially started in August 1997 , between the powerful insurgent group NSCN -IM and the Centre during the time of I.K.Gujral, the then Prime Minister.
Officials claim that the talks were concluded on October 31 2019, however, raising the bogies of Flag and the distinct Naga constitution by the NSCN-IM leadership led by Thuingaleng Muivah have slowed the talks.
In the capital city of the state, Kohima along with other cities such as villages of Shamatore, Phek and Mokokchung closed their businesses closed during the rally time.
The NPAC organized the rally to exert pressure on the key players as well as the Government of India and Naga Armed groups.
The NPAC has sent an open letter to Prime Minster Narendra Modi, urging him to find an immediate resolution to the Naga political dispute.The letter stated, “The public rally (of August 5) demands the Government of India to ‘implement the political negotiations that have been concluded and reach the solution without delay.”
“Unresolved Naga issue has produced numerous smugglers and thieves, and in the name of political issues threats and intimidation have slowed the growth of the Naga society, that you have assured will be vibrant,” the communique added.
It also stated that “The rally is a strong message to the Government of India that the Nagaland residents of Nagaland will support the solution and stand by it in all circumstances.”
The document is signed by NPAC Theja Therie, the NPAC’s convener, co-convener, Shikuto Zalipu, as well as K.Imkhung.
Shikuto Zalipu of GB Federation said that in 2018 too, the BJP and central government announced an ‘early solution’ that’s been five years later – it’s time that to ensure that the Government of India delivers peace and resolution as soon as it can.
An umbrella organization of Naga militant groups operating inside Nagaland’s state of Nagaland – NNPG which is led by N.Kitovi Zhimomi is looking forward to an early signature of an agreement to end the war.
The NSCN-IM as well as the Centre have signed an Framework Agreement on August 3 in 2015 two years later, on the 17th of November 2017, the NNPG as well as the government signed an agreed Position.
In the last few months several prominent Naga leaders, including the the BJP’s floor leader in the assembly as well as the deputy Chief Minister Y.Patton have given evidence that a peace pact is likely to be signed by August 15 2022.
“It was an important announcement made by an influential BJP leader.
The BJP-led NDA government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should now be able to walk the talk and offer Nagas the highly sought-after Peace and Solution,” a spokesman of NPAC said to IANS.
“We have been able to show that the people in the field want a solution , and are working to make an easy way tosmooth landing of peace and Solution to the Nagas,” he said.
However, the organisers of the rally have accused the current Neiphiu Rio government as well as the NDPP-BJPNPF coalition of being ‘betraying’ the cause by abandoning solutions in favor of elections.
The polls are scheduled to be held in Nagaland in February-March 2023, along with Tripura and Meghalaya.
Both alliance partners NDPP and BJP have on the 26th of July began the electoral and political process between themselves by signing an agreement to share seats.
The NPAC leadership has stated that the 40:20 seat share agreement between NDPP of Neiphiu Rio and the BJP was not a good deal for the public in general at this point.
A NPAC Leader said that “The seat-sharing agreement suggested the Chief Minister Rio is looking towards the 2023 election.Chief Minister Rio must not be allowed compromise Solution to satisfy his own personal interests.”
The Solution-friendly NNPG has also blasted the NDPP-BJP arrangement and of course, there were first indications of discontent among the ranks and file of BJP in Nagaland.Even the deputy chief minister Patton was initially against the seat-sharing agreement of July 26, claiming he was not informed.
The seat share agreement was announced following the Chief Minister Rio attended a meeting with the Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament’s premises in Delhi on the 26th of July in the presence of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Medozhatuo Rutsa the president of Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industry He has said that an earlier Naga resolution to the political issue “will bring in peace and economic growth and, more importantly, figure the dilemma of taxes”.
In particular, ‘taxation’ is an enormous social and economic problem in Nagaland that in result is extortion in the form of a rout by various militant Naga militants.The past has seen a few armies have declared in favor of the practice, stating that there should be ‘taxes’ for the population.
Security officials have described these actions as illegal and suggested that they be taken in the past.
Theja Therie, NPAC convener Also, she has stated, “No business is progressing in Nagaland as the government is busy taking money and paying to the national workers.why shouldn’t Naga people remain in the shadow of an individual who isn’t able to provide solutions.”
His references were indirect to the NSCN-IM leadership the state authorities, and the Centre.
Many believe that that when NNPG opposed the NDPP-BJP seat share agreement, it was a sign of their discontent of faith in the current agreement in the state to move the peace process to the next level.
(Nirendra Dev ) is a New Delhi-based journalist based in New Delhi.
He is also the author of books The Talking Guns: North East India’ and Modi to Moditva: The Uncensored Truth’.)