Combined Responsibility

The Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) had promised of an early political settlement in its Common Minimum Programme. More than two years have elapsed and they are still at the starting point it seems, going by the remark made in the early part of last year by the DAN Chairman himself (former Chief Minister Hokishe Sema). The coming together of all political parties from Nagaland and their respective MLAs in a Legislators Consultative Meeting for Peace, long overdue though, therefore provides a small window of opportunity to address the conflict among different Naga groups and factions. 

Holding such a meet of legislators collectively from diverse political parties and district wise representatives is a rare opportunity to reflect on the current impasse. Hopefully, today’s meeting will come out with some form of a joint statement while putting in place a common approach to save the situation from worsening. The Legislators meeting should in a non-partisan manner address the present conflict situation, set goals and suggest a framework to get the concerned groups/factions involved in the process of working for peace and common understanding. Besides, a sustained interaction, periodic evaluation and mutual support among the Legislators will go long way towards problem-solving and help in working through an effective relationship build on trust in order to implement the agreements, if any which is arrived at. 

More than anything else, today’s meeting would require the recognition of and respect for everyone’s ideas, opinions, and suggestions. Not every point will meet with everyone’s complete approval. Unanimity should not be the goal. The goal is to have individuals accept a point of view based on logic; work on a win-win situation and in the process act on maximizing joint outcomes rather than getting stuck up. It would be in the fitness of things for Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to walk that extra mile and push for setting up a smaller joint action committee on the lines of the Consultative Committee for Peace but this time with members drawn in from all political parties and representing all shades of opinion. This in itself can be a confidence building exercise that will hopefully allow for a common political forum through which the over-ground leaders can work towards a common end.

At the end, it is the Naga public, politicians and national workers who are all ‘equally’ responsible to work out a strategy that would allow Nagas to move forward rather than being trapped in the present disorder and pointing fingers at each other. What is required at this juncture is for them to apply their wisdom and reasoning power. As people’s representatives, the MLAs and the respective political parties should also make themselves clear on all the issues such as integration, reconciliation & unity, the current peace parleys and ceasefire ground rules among others. Above all, Naga politicians should be mature and sincere and not be guided by vested interest, or the patronising of this or that faction.