‘Ceasefire year after year but no solution in sight’

The Naga Rising calls for a fresh political momentum

Kohima, NOVEMBER 28 (MExN): With the Government of India (GoI) and the Naga Political Groups (NPGs) engaged in a recurring cycle of extending ceasefires without reaching a resolution to the peace process, The Naga Rising on Tuesday called for a fresh momentum at the highest level on the basis of give-and-take approach to resolve the deadlock. 

“Naga public is today clueless about where the peace process is going, except for the fact that it has reached a deadlock, purportedly over the issue of flag and constitution,” The Naga Rising said in a press statement, pointing out that even after 26 years since entering into ceasefire and dialogue, there is no sign of a solution.

It said the lack of transparency in the long-drawn peace process has been creating doubts in people’s minds. Added to this is the lack of serious political initiative to break the current stalemate. While it may be argued that political negotiations are complex and require patience, The Naga Rising felt that it is perhaps time to ask “some hard questions about the Naga peace process and demand accountability.”

After coming to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was credited with ‘personally supervising the talks’ with an Interlocutor reporting directly to the PMO. The Framework Agreement of 2015 was also publicized as a big achievement of the Modi government. Given the current scenario, it now wondered if there is a political will to resolve the Naga issue. 

The Naga Rising recalled that during the previous Congress-led UPA govt, the top Naga leaders held face-to-face meetings with the then Prime Minister and Union Home Minister. A senior Union Cabinet Minister along with a Group of Ministers was appointed to supervise the talks then. Unfortunately, today, the NPGs have no access to the Prime Minister or even the Home Minister, it claimed. 

The Naga Rising also noted that there is no longer the practice of having a dedicated interlocutor for the Naga peace process. The negotiation, though claimed to have concluded in October 2019, has also been downgraded to the level of a retired bureaucrat who is an Advisor (North-East) at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

It said the negotiating parties, here the GoI and NSCN (IM), appears to be simply satisfied with the status-quo and not willing to consider a give and take approach. Keeping in mind the prolonged stalemate, The Naga Rising said “it is about time to deliberate whether ceasefire extension year after year has any meaning when there is no progress and conclusion in the peace talks.”

“Is the indefinite extension of the ceasefire helping find a solution? In 2007 when the GoI-NSCN (IM) decided to extend the ceasefire indefinitely, it was understood that this would be subject to progress of peace talks between the two sides to find a negotiated settlement,” it went on to state. 

To reassure the Naga people, The Naga Rising said a public statement on the current status of the peace process is the least that is expected from the negotiators. The GoI and NPGs have a responsibility to inform the people on where the peace process stands today as well as the key issues that remain unresolved and how they intend to settle them, it emphasized.