Daily Current Affairs – 6th July, 2016Devendra Vishwakarma
NAGALAND ISSUE: FULL STORY
- The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India.
- The first sign of Naga resistance can be seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave them alone to determine for themselves as in ancient times”.
- In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which, under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, declared Nagaland an independent stateon August 14, 1947.
- The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.
- On March 22, 1952, Phizo formed the underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA).
- The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
- The Naga Hills, a district of Assam, was upgraded to a state in 1963.
- In 1964, Jai Prakash Narain, then Assam Chief Minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha and Rev. Michael Scott formed a Peace Mission, and got the government and NNC to sign an agreement to suspend operations. But the NNC/NFG/NFA continued to indulge in violence, and after six rounds of talks, the Peace Mission was abandoned in 1967, and a massive counter-insurgency operation launched.
- On November 11, 1975, the government got a section of NNC leaders to sign the Shillong Accord, under which this section of NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.
- However, a group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980. Muivah also had Isak Chisi Swu and S S Khaplang with him.
- In 1988, the NSCN split into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) after a violent clash. While the NNC began to fade away, and Phizo died in London in 1991, the NSCN (IM) came to be seen as the “mother of all insurgencies” in the region.
- After NSCN(I-M) and NSCN(K) more factions like NSCN(K-K), NSCN (Reformation), NSCN (Unification), etc. sprang up. The faction, NSCN (K-K), led by Khole Konyak, a Konyak Naga from Mon district and Kitovi Zhimomi, a Sumi Naga of Zunheboto district, merged not long ago into the NSCN(I-M).
- All these outfits agreed to strengthen reconciliation process to unite Nagas for the purpose of achieving their “historical and political rights.”
WHAT DID THE NSCN (IM) WANT?
- A “Greater Nagalim” comprising “all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, along with Nagaland. That included several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar.
- The map of “Greater Nagalim” has about 1,20,000 sq km, while the state of Nagaland consists of 16,527 sq km.
- The claims have always kept Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh wary of a peace settlement that might affect their territories.
- The Nagaland Assembly has endorsed the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand — “Integration of all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella” — as many as five times: in December 1964, August 1970, September 1994, December 2003 and as recently as on July 27, 2015.
WHEN DID NSCN (IM) JOIN PEACE TALKS?
- Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao met Muivah, Swu and other top NSCN (IM) leaders in Paris on June 15, 1995. In November 1995, then MoS (Home) Rajesh Pilot met them in Bangkok.
- Subsequently, Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda met them in Zurich on February 3, 1997, which was followed by meetings with officers in Geneva and Bangkok.
- Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee met them in Paris on September 30, 1998.
- The Government of India signed a ceasefire agreement with NSCN (IM) on July 25, 1997, which came into effect on August 1, 1997. Over 80 rounds of talks between the two sides were held subsequently.
- The peace process entered a crucial phase with the NSCN (Khaplang) faction formally announcing its unilateral cease-fire decision on April 9, 2000 and indicating that it is willing to hold peace talks with the Centre.
PEACE AGAIN WAS AT STAKE IN NAGALAND
- Unfortunately, on Mar 2015, the NSCN-K headed by its Myanmar-based Chairman, S.S. Khaplang, unilaterally decided to retract from the 14-year ceasefire agreement with the Indian government.
- However, in April 2012, NSCN-K signed a ceasefire with Yangon (Myanmar)
- NSCN-K, even though on ceasefire agreement (from last 14 years), continued with its militant activities and setting up camps in 3 zones of Myanmar where it enjoys autonomy conferred by Myanmar Govt.
- NSCN-K inked friendship with other insurgent groups such as CorComm (Cooperation Committee, which is an umbrella organisation of 6 insurgent groups in Manipur) and with ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom-Parmesh Barua) and the NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland – Songbijit Faction) and provides them training and camping in 3 zones of Myanmar.
- (ENPO)Eastern Naga Peoples’ Organisation, civil organisation with representatives from ethnic groups of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar – declared that NSCN-K which is Myanmar based group now is more concerned with new territorial alignments along international border and hence they deal with Myanmar Government.
Naga Framework Agreement, 2015
- On Aug 3, 2015, latest agreement was signed with NSCN (I-M), and other Naga armed groups such as NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) etc. (however, NSCN (K) was excluded)
- On August 25, at a People’s Consultative Meeting on the accord, Mr. Muivah spoke about the criticality of getting the other Naga armed actors on board.
- While explaining the idea of a pan-Naga Hoho (a proposed statutory body as part of the framework agreement) that will enjoy independent executive and budgetary powers to look after the welfare of Naga inhabited areas outside Nagaland, Mr. Muivah again called for mutual understanding and dialogue among the Nagas.
- However, the biggest breakthrough is that the NSCN (I-M), and other Naga armed groups such as NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) have agreed to give up violence and resolve all issues peacefully (thanks to Isak Chishi Swu).
Demise of Isak Chishi Swu
- The demise of Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman of the Naga rebel outfit, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), and President of the outfit’s ‘government’, the Government of the People’s Republic of Nagaland (GPRN), is a great loss to the Nagas, particularly to those in Nagaland.
- Will Swu’s departure complicate the above discussed matter further? Will the rebel outfit with a new chairman be able to unite different rebel factions and command respect and trust of different Naga civil society groups?