Despite the signing of historic Naga framework agreement 4 years back between the central government and the Naga groups led by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Muviah (NSCN-IM) long-lasting peace remains elusive in the region.
The peace framework remains a work in progress without a concrete shape and timeline making it nothing but a mere disappointment.
Loopholes in the Naga Peace Accord-
- The foremost challenge of the peace accord is the framework without a clear mandate or objectives. The accord, although remains out of public view but there have been talks about ‘special arrangement’ providing great scope of confusion to both government and the insurgents.
- The Naga issue not only pertains to the Nagas but also impacts the whole region, including Naga-inhabited areas of Myanmar.
- The issue of integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in view of the demand for territorial unification of ‘Greater Nagalim’ will trigger violent clashes in the different affected states.
- There is a demand for a separate “frontier Nagaland or Eastern Nagaland” under the aegis of the Eastern Nagaland Public Organization (ENPO) which will undermine any attempt at making one greater nagalim.
- Another major hindrance to the peace process in Nagaland is the existence of more than one organization, each claiming to be representative of the Nagas.
Various recommendations described below can help to achieve long-lasting peace in the region.
- Providing autonomous Naga territorial councils for Arunachal and Manipur. Common cultural body for Nagas across states.
- Specific institutions for state’s development, integration and rehabilitation of non-state Naga militia. Removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
- A special status on the lines of Article 371-A will be explored for Naga areas outside Nagaland.
- A constitutional body to look into issues related to Nagas in their whole territorial spread.
- Unification of Naga-inhabited areas without disturbing the existing boundaries of the northeastern states (Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) is viewed as a viable option.
- Maximum autonomy may be accorded in ethnic, cultural and developmental realms to autonomous councils for all Naga areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and even Assam, through a suitable amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
- Reckoning the unique history and legacy of the Nagas, a tribal cultural collective body could be constituted under an act of parliament.
- The government of Myanmar will have to be on board the Naga settlement, at least tacitly.
There can be no solution without the integration of Nagas. But it would have to be achieved through a democratic process. It is imperative that prior to finalization of any ‘framework agreement’, care is taken to see that there is an across the board acceptance of ‘fundamental principles’ and ‘objective necessities’.