'Naga Political Groups to make serious efforts towards unity and reconciliation'

The Thirteenth Nagaland Legislative Assembly, which began on August 2, took several resolutions, including peace talks.


(Representational Image: Pixabay)

 

The 8th Session of the Thirteenth Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) which began on Tuesday (August 3) took several resolutions. One resolution is to appeal to the negotiating parties of the Indo-Naga political dialogue to resume the peace talks with a positive approach and mutual respect for each other by setting aside pre-conditions, in deference to the Naga people's cry for long-term peace, and resolve the contentious issues of the competencies at the earliest, a DIPR report said.

Another resolution is to appeal to all "Naga Political Groups" to make serious efforts towards unity and reconciliation. It said that the constant antagonism against each other, especially in public space and the media is sending out a wrong message to the masses, considering the fact that we are all pursuing the same aspiration of peace and political solution. It further said that taking the positive example set by the elected Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, who have risen above party affiliations to unite for the Naga political issue, the "Naga Political Groups" should make concerted efforts, and listen to the voice of the people for unity and oneness.

The House, while appreciating the constant role and contributions of the churches, civil societies and the NGOs towards facilitating peace and strengthening the peace process, appealed to the civil societies, mass-based organisations and the "tribal hohos" to make renewed efforts towards creating a conducive atmosphere for the early realisation of a political solution by pursuing unity, reconciliation and oneness.

"All Members of this House have come together under the same banner in line with the election manifestoes of all political parties committing ourselves to the people that all the elected Members are prepared to make any sacrifices for an inclusive, honourable and acceptable solution," of the resolutions said, adding, "The House, therefore, appeals to the Naga political negotiating groups to come together in order to hammer out their differences, and give the people 'one solution and one agreement'".

Earlier in the morning, Minister, Planning & Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu initiating the discussion, gave a timeline of constitution of the Parliamentary Committee for the Naga political issue. On July 16, 2021, a Parliamentary Committee (Joint Legislators Forum nomenclature changed), was constituted comprising of all 60 elected members of Nagaland Legislative Assembly and both the Members of Parliament.

A Core Committee within the Parliamentary Committee comprising of 22 members was set up to discuss the issue in more detail. The first Core Committee meeting was held on July 9, 2021 where a 5 point resolution was adopted, after which a meeting was held with the 7 NNPGs on July 20, 2021 and with NSCN- IM on July 21, 2021. Kronu stating that if the Naga political issue is not resolved, it will hamper the entire system and society, and with the GoI and negotiating parties having reached this far, he said time is crucial now and called for more efforts and suggested for the house to make a resolution and approach the negotiating parties. 

Minister Kashiho Sangtam suggested for the Parliamentary Committee or the Core Committee to negotiate with Naga representatives, NSCN-IM and 7 NNPGs, and appealed to them to leave past and present differences and come together for the Naga people.

Advisor Khehovi Yepthomi said that when the GoI is showing seriousness in solving the issue we should not miss the opportunity as the more we delay and neglect talks, more political groups will crop up. He further stated that the people does not want more bloodshed and live in uncertainty but that they want peace and growth.

MLA, Imkong L Imchen called for all the negotiating parties not to have rigid stance and said that in modern and contemporary politics, it cannot always be winner takes all, there has to be shared victory. He also raised concern that neither the GoI nor the NSCN-IM has tried to define or interpret the words and meanings entered in the Framework Agreement which he said is a setback and called for the negotiating parties to be truthful in their negotiations.

MLA, Chotisuh Sazo called for the negotiating parties to be transparent with the agreed position. MLA, Y. M. Yollow Konyak stated that the 60 elected members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly and 2 MPs have the mandate of the public, and he appealed to all negotiating parties to come together for the Nagas. Minister, Planning & Coordination, Parliamentary Affairs and Land Revenue, Neiba Kronu initiated the discussion on matters or urgent public importance pertaining to the Naga Political Issue. 

MLA, Kuzholuzo Nienu stated that from day one, Nagas’ demand was for sovereignty, therefore any solution or settlement that comes about cannot be taken as a final settlement. Our aspiration to be sovereign to get full independence should be continued, he said further stating that the approach should be sensible and practical for the interest of the Nagas.

Advisor Pukhayi expressed that the Naga political issue should come into solution, as Nagas have every right to have freedom. He pointed that the House passing a resolution should not contradict to any group but the voice of the August House should conclude in a peaceful settlement.

Suggesting some prepositions on the Naga Political Issue, MLA Dr. Chumben Murry said that the Core Committee, on behalf of the Parliamentary Committee should urge the leaders at the Centre to be magnanimous on the issue of the Naga Flag, and at the same time, have more discussions with the NSCN-IM group and urge them to reconsider their stand on the line of the October 31 agreement, in the interest of the Nagas. 

Minister Tongpang Ozukum, while appreciating the supreme sacrifices made by the "Naga Political Groups" since the beginning of the movement, also appealed to them to forget and forgive the past mistakes and to come together as one. He said that the Government is convinced and committed as before, with more trust and confidence on one another, to give concerted efforts in giving a push to the Naga Political Issue, so as to arrive at a peaceful solution in the interest of the Nagas. 

Joining on the discussion of matters of urgent public importance, MLA Yitachu said that Naga struggle is one of the longest struggles within the Indian Union but the signing of the framework agreement between the Naga underground and the Government of India has brought a hope for the Nagas, so it is time to stand together with truth. He added that the main reason to form an opposition-less Government is an effort on history making of the Nagas, to arrive at an early and peaceful solution.

MLA H. Chuba Chang said that Naga issue can be solved only politically and called all the leaders to unite in finding a lasting solution which is agreeable to everyone.

Advisor Dr Longrineken expressed that the process of unity has begun with the participation of various organizations, churches, Government of Nagaland, Government of India, which have reached an amicable point in bringing the non- state actors in one group. He asked the August House to pass a resolution and make an appeal to the two groups NSCN (IM) and NPPG to negotiate with the GoI as united Naga and coin the differences and sacrifices for our future generation, to put aside the political issue and endorse for the interest of the Naga.

Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang said that it is of great concern that even after 24 years of the signing of Ceasefire agreement between the Government of India and the NSCN in 1997, it is of great concern that should talks breakdown at this juncture, it is the people who’ll suffer the brunt of it. He recalled that the NPF walked out on Naga political issue in 2020 due to the fact that the JLF was not making much positive progress, and subsequently, proposed that a Parliamentary Committee should be constituted with all the elected representatives and the two Members of Parliament, to which he thanked the Leader of the House for accepting the proposal.

It was felt that both the parties (NDPP and NPF) need to together and leave aside their political differences, to help facilitate the Naga Political Issue and to fulfil the aspirations to the Naga people.  He appealed to the negotiating parties, the Government of India and Naga Negotiating Groups to stick to what has been agreed upon on October 31, 2019, as claimed by both the negotiating parities that the talk has completed successfully. 

Leader of the House, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio stating that though the Naga society is divided on many things, the elected members of NLA since 1964 have unanimously passed all the 12 resolutions on the Naga political issue. He stated that during the Core Committee meeting with the NNPG group and NSCN-IM, all parties have conveyed their concern on finding a solution. Highlighting the uniqueness of the Naga political issue, he said that after Article 370 was removed even Jammu and Kashmir has demanded for Article 371(a) like Nagaland.

 

First Published:Aug. 3, 2021, 10:22 p.m.

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