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NSCN (IM) adamant about Flag: Team Rio thinks Himanta has 'magic wand'

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Nirendra Dev
New Delhi, June 1 (Ajit Weekly News) The ball is in the court of the Government of India yet again. Rejecting the clamour for peace and an early solution from various quarters, including a section of Nagas from Manipur who wanted ‘wise decision’, the NSCN(IM) on Tuesday stuck to its main contentious issues of Flag and a separate Naga Constitution.

Both the demands have been categorically rejected by the Centre on more than once occasion.

For its part, the beleaguered core committee headed by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, which also has BJP’s Deputy CM Y. Patton, has decided to hold a conclave with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on June 2. This comes on the backdrop of sheer helplessness shown by peace emissary A.K. Mishra and the core committee when they met in Delhi in mid-May.

“Mishra does not have anything new to offer, and the core committee said we do not know many detailed matters being discussed between NSCN-IM and the Centre,” one source said recently.

The NSCN(IM), which otherwise takes inspiration from Communist ideology as it was influenced by China in the 1960s and 1970s, has also decided to hold a special prayer session in Dimapur.

“The delay games are deliberate and visible and it gives an impression that even the core committee is trying to adopt a longer road map,” an informed source said.

“Enlisting the help of Assam’s sitting Chief Minister, whose only credential is being chairman of NEDA, appears ridiculous. Are some people taking taxpayers’ money for granted,” said a Naga leader on the condition of anonymity.

“Does Himanta Sarma have a magic wand, and if so, Chief Minister Rio and Deputy CM Patton of the BJP should announce it formally. Then we will not complain. An issue which could not be solved by Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi, how can Himanta Sarma play a positive role?”

“If there is no talking point between NSCN-IM and the Centre, the stage is now set for abrogation of ceasefire and probable resignation of the Rio government,” the senior Naga leader told Ajit Weekly News.

Many hopes were rested on NSCN-IM’s ’emergency assembly’ meeting on Tuesday. But at the end of the six-hour-long deliberation, the NSCN-IM sources said the militant organisation will stick to its stand for a Flag and Constitution.

Sources also said the NSCN-IM will continue to take part in talks with the Centre and others concerned, “if invited”.

About 1,900 NSCN leaders and workers attended the meet, it has been claimed.

Obviously, this also brings in the question that if the Centre does not invite them, talks would fail and perhaps the ceasefire that started in August 1997 during I.K. Gujral regime will have to be abrogated.

Not many foot soldiers and ground-level cadres of both the NSCN-IM and NNPG would not be prepared for that.

NNPG convener N. Kitovi Zhimomi has, however, made it clear that his umbrella body of seven militant groups are keen to ink the final peace pact with the government in the line of the agreed position signed between the two sides in November 2017.

“We have to prove ourselves before God and before the Naga people and the whole world that we, the NSCN members, the frontline torch-bearers of the Naga political movement, shall stand the ground till the last man standing,” said Q. Tuccu, chairman of the NSCN-IM, in his speech to the assembly.

He also said: “How can we forfeit the Naga national flag and the Naga Constitution in the name of Naga political solution?”

Tuccu further said: “We cannot be made a laughing stock before the world by tamely succumbing to pressure or temptation.”

Various Naga organisations within Nagaland such as Naga Tribal Council, Ao Students Conference and individuals such as retired IAS officer Khekiye K. Sema have suggested that Nagas of Manipur are trying to dominate and decide the fate of Nagas of Nagaland.

“They have a stranglehold on not only the organisation called NSCN (IM), but are also spearheading the negotiation with the Centre… trying to decide the fate of the Nagas of Nagaland without letting us know exactly what our future is going to look like,” Sema wrote in a newspaper article.

The Ao Students’ Conference in a recent statement said that it supports the statement of the Central Nagaland Tribes Council that it is high time for ‘Nagas of Nagaland’ to be ‘relieved of the burden of Naga political movement’ and allow Nagas of Nagaland to progress at par with other states.

“For decades, Naga citizens have quietly endured extortion of national workers, but we have been denied the Naga solution. For how long will the Naga citizens be kept in the dark,” asked the Ao Students’ Conference.

In an unprecedented statement, the NNPG has charged the NSCN(IM) with being ‘outsider and tenant’ in Nagaland and also that the same tenants “dream to be landlords through heckling, harassing and brutalising the owners with symbolic tools like integration, flag and constitution”.

The critics of NSCN-IM had earlier charged it with delaying the solution and preferring to continue with the status quo — meaning ceasefire and talks would continue but solution will remain evasive.

The group had earlier this month said that it also prefers an early solution.

( is a New Delhi-based journalist. He is also author of books ‘The Talking Guns: North East India’ and ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’. The views expressed are personal)

–Ajit Weekly News
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