Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Editorials 


The secret weapon

No one, perhaps except for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NSCN(IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, interlocutor RN Ravi and national  security advisor Ajit Doval is privy to the actual contents of the framework agreement signed between the government of India and the NSCN(IM) on August 3, 2015 despite claims by a few. Here and there, hints have been dropped to a chosen few. But, the actual details of the framework agreement are a closely guarded secret. The secrecy has its own purpose. Both parties are reluctant to divulge the details of the agreement as there are important stakeholders to the peace process in Nagaland other than NSCN (IM) and they cannot comprehend then how the other groups would react. Other Naga factions have responded variously to the ongoing peace negotiations between. The Khaplang faction of NSCN-K has rejected any form of engagement with the GoI and is continuing with its acts of violence. The NSCN Kitovi faction views the ongoing process as an arrangement for the Nagas of Manipur only, and not for the Nagas of Nagaland. The NSCN Reformation, which had earlier supported the framework agreement, is now complaining of delays and emergent complications in the process. Finally, factions of NNC, Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) and the Manipur Naga Peoples’ Front (MNPF) have all expressed their disagreements with the current format of negotiations. This is of course expected. Many of the groups have been repeatedly saying that the NSCN (IM) alone cannot represent the Nagas. With regard to Manipur, it is altogether a different story. They have seen the intensity of the June 18 uprising and subsequent mega rallies and how Manipur had withstood the ravages of relentless economic blockades on its highways for the cause of territorial integrity. The BJP government in New Delhi is extra careful this time because the June 18uprising occurred during the time of Atal Behari Vajpayee.
 
Yet, they were able to turn ‘non-disclosure’ into an advantage. It was killing two birds with a stone. While it was able to create widespread anxiety and sense of foreboding among the civil society organizations and the general populace, fissures among the communities became active once again. Interlocutor RN Ravi has been meeting and talking to representatives of civil society organizations on both sides of the border. In Nagaland, his mission was to forge a broad consensus among the various groups and factions besides the civil society organizations. However, except for dropping some broad hints of the contents and possible outcome he did not paint a clear picture of the agreement. In Manipur, Ravi’s mission was to broker some sort of a deal with the civil society organizations here while soothing ruffled feathers with assurances of not disturbing the territorial integrity of the state. The deal in his mind could be anything from sixth schedule to a Pan Naga cultural body. What he had said in Nagaland about the framework agreement could have been entirely different from what he had proposed here. Of course, it is the nature of the interlocutor. It is like walking on a tripwire. It is the same with Thuingaleng Muivah also. The ageing general secretary has been keeping cards close to his chest, some say, even from his closest lieutenants. All said and done, the topic of the framework agreement had become dim in the public radar except in occasional discourses of civil society organization. It suddenly sprang into life, when the chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh dared the prime minister Narendra Modi to disclose the details of the agreement during his election campaign. It magically turned into bait as BJP scurried for cover and became defensive. Visiting BJP leaders began issuing clarifications saying that the framework agreement contained nothing detrimental to the territorial integrity of the state. The parrot brigade followed with state party leaders mouthing the same, as if they have seen the framework agreement. The die has been cast. And so, it is but natural for a disclosure demand to follow.
 
Leader Writer: Irengbam Arun
17-Feb-2017 / IFP Editorials / 0 Comments

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