North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Naga Peace Accord

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various Naga tribes

Mains level : Naga Peace Process

 

Tamil Nadu Governor has resigned as interlocutor for the Naga peace talks.

What is the Naga Peace Process?

(A) Issue

  • It refers to ongoing talks between the Indian government and Naga insurgent groups, in particular the NSCN(IM), since 1997 with the aim to sign a Naga Peace Accord.
  • The Naga insurgency, rooted in Naga nationalism, is one of the oldest insurgencies in the country.
  • The Naga-inhabited areas of the Northeast never considered themselves part of British India, and on August 14, 1947, the Naga National Council (NNC) declared independence for Nagaland.
  • It formed an underground Government (NFG) and an Army in 1952, in response to which the Centre sent in the Army and enacted the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA.

(B) Shillong Agreement

  • After years of talks, the Shillong Accord was signed in 1976 with underground groups of Nagaland.
  • But it was rejected by many top NNC leaders on the ground that it did not address the issue of Naga sovereignty and forced Nagas to accept the Indian Constitution.
  • Since then the Naga groups have split into various factions.

(C) The Peace Accord

  • There have been nearly 100 rounds of talks.
  • In August 2015, the group signed a framework agreement with the Indian government for the Naga Peace Accord.

How did things go wrong?

  • Sources say even the various competencies of the accord had been agreed upon, although a few bones of contention remained.
  • The groups were insistent on a Naga constitution and were pushing for a Greater Nagalim stretching beyond the boundaries of the present Nagaland state.
  • The state panel rejected the demand for a separate flag and constitution outright, and warned that “any misadventure to disintegrate this great nation shall not be tolerated”.

Amid all this, what are the real issues?

  • The enthusiasm with which the framework agreement was announced led to unreasonable expectations of an imminent Accord.
  • There is no way the government would accept a separate constitution for Nagaland. This was never under discussion.
  • There was, indeed, an opinion that the flag could be given.
  • But that went off the table after August 5, 2019 when the Kashmiri flag was taken away.

Best way forward

  • It is important to understand that there cannot be an accord without the militant factions.
  • Some demands that need ironing out include one for a bicameral Assembly with at least 40 nominated members representing different tribes; absorption of cadres as local armed forces or in the Indian paramilitary.
  • There is a need for setting up of autonomous councils in Naga-dominated areas of neighbouring states; and the use of the Naga flag for at least customary events.

Must read:

[Burning Issue] Naga Peace Talks

 

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