The Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), the dominant Naga outfit, on Monday demanded to push forward the Framework Agreement signed in 2015 to take the Naga political issue to a conclusive settlement.
The NSCN-IM in a statement said that accepting the economic package as a part of the Naga solution is something the outfit abhorred.
“We are not gullible enough to take the bait. The government of India could hoodwink others, but not NSCN-IM. It is worth recalling the famous words of A.Z. Phizo: ‘The Nagas would never surrender in the battlefield but many Nagas would fall when Indian money is shot through the gun barrel’.
“Unfortunately, this is the state of affairs with other Naga political groups who professed to be fighting for the Naga political freedom,” the strongly-worded statement said.
It said that NSCN-IM has learnt the bitter way not to be flattered by post solution formulae as propagated by the government.
“What are not included in the present scheme of solution will never see the light in the future. Once cheated, we are being cautious not to be cheated and flattered again,” the statement said.
Slamming Nagaland Governor and the Central government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, R.N. Ravi, the NSCN-IM said that it is exasperating to see how Ravi shows himself as a crafty schemer desperate to destroy the Naga political issue, as he focused his attention to promote his blue eyed boys (NNPGs — Naga Political Groups) to counterweigh the NSCN-IM and settle the Naga political issue under the Indian Constitution.
“But the fact remains that the Indian constitutional process to solve the Naga political issue under the nine points agreement, 16 points agreement and Shillong Accord has ended in disaster.
“The irony is that what has failed in the past would not stand the test of time as NSCN-IM’s political stand for honourable solution has withstood the test of time. NSCN-IM shall stand the ground come what may,” it said.
The NSCN-IM statement said that the Indian military generals have acknowledged that military solution is not possible, as the Naga issue is a political one requiring a political solution.
This prompted the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to approach the NSCN-IM collective leadership abroad in 1995 for the peace talks to start.
The NSCN leaders had prodded Rao to talk to the other Naga groups. The then Prime Minister replied that “the people are not with them and they are in my hands”, indicating who matters in the Naga political scenario, the statement said.
It further said that the suffering of the Naga people is deeply rooted in the stubborn approach of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as he denied the Nagas’ legitimate political right to satisfy his ‘whims’ and ‘hatred’ towards the Naga people.
“For more than six decades, the Nagas were compelled to resist Indian suppression through military means. No wonder the NSCN-IM robustly stand up to defend the political rights of the Naga people against all odds, much to the discomfort of the government as it involves thousands of crores of rupees in terms of expenses and loss of human lives (both Nagas and Indians),” it said.
The NSCN-IM said that it is widespread all over Nagalim and the solution would also encompass all the Naga areas.
“This geographical coverage of Naga political solutions is being seriously discussed in the Indo-Naga political talks pending final decision,” it added.
The NSCN-IM, which had entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Central government in August 1997 and since then had held around 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre, was recently engaged in a war of words with the Governor over the collection of “tax” from the public.
The NSCN-IM had said that taxation is the legitimate right of every government of a nation state. “The Nagas declared their independent status as a sovereign nation one day ahead of India, and has defended its sovereign right thus far,” it said.
The officer-on-special duty (OSD) to the government of India and interlocutor for Naga peace talks, Gurmeet Singh, in a statement without naming NSCN-IM had said last week that a Naga armed organisation engaged in the peace process has issued a statement recently, carried through the media, that they have the right to collect “tax” from the people and further added that their right has been recognised by the representative of the Government of India after having dialogue with them.
“Such an erroneous statement is likely to cause confusion among the people. Taxation is a sovereign function which can be exercised only either by the government of India or the state government. The government of India does not recognise any such right by any other entity. Forcible collection of money by any entity is extortion which is a criminal offence punishable under the laws,” Singh had said in his statement.
The NSCN-IM and the intelligence sources said that while many of the 31 demands of the Nagas have been almost resolved during the talks with the Centre, differences remain over a separate flag and a separate constitution.
Ravi had recently rejected the demand for a separate flag and a constitution for the state as demanded by the NSCN-IM.