Editorial,SNS, 16 October, 2016: Indecision and delay in finding a solution to the nearly 70-year-old Naga problem has merely complicated matters for which the Nagas are as much to be blamed as the Centre. The delay will not hurt the Centre in any away but certainly it will be disadvantageous for the ageing Naga leadership. Naga National Council president AZ Phizo, who declared independence a day before India attained freedom, died in the UK in 1990. In August this year NSCN chairman Isak Swu passed away in Delhi.
He at least had the satisfaction of seeing his outfit and the Centre signing the framework Naga accord in August last year. Now, even as the peace process is critically poised, comes a somewhat startling statement by four NSCN(IM) functionaries, one of them being Gen Khole (retd) who, until May this year, headed a breakaway faction of the NSCN K). The statement asserts that “the formation of the Naga state is already an abrogated agreement. It never was the best thing to have happened for the Naga people”.
Nagaland was the first state to be created out of composite Assam. How it came about is interesting. In 1957 some moderate/educated Nagas formed the Naga People’s Convention. They signed the 16-point agreement with the Centre in September 1960. Its logical conclusion was the creation of Nagaland on 1 December 1963. Four-time former chief minister SC Jamir, now Governor of Odisha, who is the sole surviving signatory to the 1960 accord, asserts that attainment of Nagaland has fulfilled the Nagas’ aspirations.
Till now no one knows what will be the structure of the government under the NSCN(IM); if its motive is to target/punish those beneficiaries of the Nagaland state (there are too many) it will be simply mischievous and disastrous. What must not be forgotten is that there can be no two opinions about honourable and peaceful settlement hinging on the warring groups burying the hatchet if lasting peace is the ultimate objective. This process is yet to begin.