Naga National Govt
Because there was only one organization and government representing the Naga national movement—the NNC/FGN, we didn’t have to talk about a National Unity Government back then in the 1960s when ceasefire was operating and peace talks were held with the Government of India (GoI). Today with so many warring factions in existence, perhaps the only practical way to unite them is through the formation of a National government. It is not uncommon for political opponents to come together during times of crisis or when great challenges face the people. A national unity government in the present Naga context may or may not work but we have nothing to lose even if we make an attempt to broker some form of a power sharing arrangement.
Peace talks have been taking place ever since ceasefire was signed in 1997. And unlike in the past when Nagas had to deal primarily with the GoI, today there is a need to address the division from within, which is hampering us to arrive at a solution acceptable to all section of the people. No one will disagree that the mandate of the Naga public is for all Naga political groups to work together to resolve the political issue with India. Peace talks with the Government of India will take care of itself if Nagas speak in unison and through a common platform.
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), which has recently issued a statement calling for a shared purpose, has called for a “structural framework in the form of a provisional Naga National Government NNG (P)”. A few years ago, the emphasis was on the ‘meeting at the highest level’ and now that this has been achieved, the next logical step should be towards formation of this Naga National Government at the earliest. Since it has now become impossible for the Naga political groups to unite and become one, at least the second best thing is for all of them to come together in a common platform while maintaining their individual identity.
There will be legitimacy and consensus building in such an arrangement. In a national govt there can be group decision, group action and thereby promoting collective responsibility. Talented people/expert from all groups can be pooled together to form the govt. Once the govt is formed, they should all work together for the national interest. As the FNR has rightly stated, this national government “is in the common cause of pursuing in a united effort our shared historical and political rights and creating a dignified and peaceful society”.
At the end, cooperation and collaboration among the different Naga groups is required so that people can come to enjoy the dividends of peace. Escalation of suspicion and hostility must give way to increase of trust and acceptance. Perhaps, the starting point could be revisiting the 10-Point “A Covenant of Common Hope” adopted during the August 2008 Naga Peace Summit III at Chiang Mai, Thailand. Noteworthy among them include the need to “exercise utmost restraint and shun all forms of confrontation and violence (Point 4) that may result in further divisions among the Nagas” and instead—as rightly mentioned—to “constructively work together (Point 4) in addressing differences and difficulties of the ground realities that stand in the way of Naga reconciliation”.
With regard to the formation of the National government, the FNR has given out some outline, which is expected to be followed by the concerned groups. Of importance is the point which states that “the NNG (P) is required to be people-centered and guided by the common aspirations of the people and not by any particular group”. The FNR should continue to mediate towards the formation of this national government at an early date.
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