Forum for Naga Reconciliation urges NSCN-IM, NNPGs to explore workable mechanism

The FNR said the constant public accusatory and divisive statements have empowered vested interests to control and change the narrative with flawed and factual errors to the point people are no longer able to recognize the truth.

The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) on Monday urged leaders of the  NNPGs and the NSCN-IM to meet and explore a workable mechanism of cooperation around the ‘Competencies’ and the ‘Agreed Position’ in consonance with the Naga common ground. It also said this is fundamental because the "parallel processes" have polarised the Naga public, tribal and civil society organizations.

The FNR said in a release the constant public accusatory and divisive statements have empowered vested interests to control and change the narrative with flawed and factual errors to the point people are no longer able to recognize the truth. "This is creating an alienating mindset which is extremely insular for citizens to feel free, secure and to participate without fear," it added.

The FNR also said Naga peoples’ political unity in purpose finds strength and solidarity on the common ground of its historical and political expressions of Naga rights and aspirations. It also said the foundation of the common ground includes the Naga Memorandum to the Simon Commission on January 10, 1929, the Declaration of Naga Independence on August 14, 1947 and the Naga Voluntary Plebiscite on May 16, 1951. "Together, this common ground guides and provides the political and moral underpinnings that affirm the Naga peoples’ rightful place with self-confidence," the FNR added.

"Naga history has taught us that when the spirit of the common ground is exploited, compromised, and taken from us, no one really benefits. It consumes us all. Sadly, Naga history is replete with instances when any departure from this common ground has been at our own peril, at times turning Naga against Naga. Its consequences have traumatized the Naga people, as it has deeply wounded and fragmented our society," said the FNR.

It then asked, "Can Nagas learn from our own history and constructively get out of this stalemate?"

At this juncture, according to the FNR, the Indian State, "because of its security concerns and fragile democracy", remains in an "arrested state as it maintains status quo" on discussing the issue of Sovereignty with the Nagas. It also said, "For the greater good of democracy, new approaches are required for the Government of India to imagine beyond a limited political process". The statement further said that India has a responsibility to all its citizens for raising this fundamental question within the political process. It added that this highlighted the urgency for cultivating an understanding around the common ground since the core issues of Naga rights still need to be addressed.

According to the FNR, after a protracted process towards a political agreement, the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs are currently engaged in what seems to be parallel processes with the Government of India. It also said that the Naga people are now saying it is time for these two Naga political groups to meet and take forward the unfinished task of reconciliation.

 "Having reconciled and forgiven each other in the form of the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR), the leadership of the NNPGs and NSCN (IM) must demonstrate transformative and healing statesmanship by exercising the intent and spirit of the CoR into practice," the FNR added.

According to the FNR, "Naga tribal and civil society organizations" have time and again conveyed their views to the Government of India and the Naga political groups. "Now, at this crucial time, FNR recommends and urges that the NSCN (IM) and NNPGs be given the space to reflect independently and search their conscience to do what is right. In the meantime, we further recommend not issuing new press statements which will help reduce confusion and reactivity," it added.

Given this "precarious" situation, the FNR said it is imperative for Nagas to take "ownership of our narratives, protect our common belonging, and unite to break down barriers by strengthening the bonds and relationships among ourselves". The statement then added, "Let us renew our commitment and solidarity to a shared future that will benefit all Nagas, now and in the future".

First Published:Sept. 14, 2020, 11:16 p.m.