Jan 16, 2012

Nagalim: Polemic Travel Restrictions

The Government’s recent travel restrictions cause Nagas to protest the ‘peace precluding’ measures. 

Below is an article published by Hindustan Times

After a Christmas gift in form of a final resolution of the vexed Naga issue eluded people in the northeastern state, not everything is hunky dory in the ongoing talks process between the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac Muivah faction) and the government.

The latest is an outburst of anger by the Naga leadership on travel restrictions imposed by the home ministry.

The origin of the squabble lay in the home ministry's refusal to permit the NSCN leadership to visit Zunheboto, hometown of chairman Isaac Chishi Swu, on the invite of the Sumi Hoho, an influential tribal organisation of the Sema tribe to which Swu belongs. The visit, scheduled from January 13-15, has now been indefinitely deferred.

"This is nothing but an insult to the Naga people and we are taking this up very seriously. The travel relates to the collective leadership that is involved in talks with the Government of India," fumed Phunthing Shimrang, convener, NSCN (IM) Ceasefire Monitoring Cell.

"The NSCN leadership has been travelling to these areas so many times in the past, no threat has ever been perceived. Moreover, we are focused on reconciliation at the moment. I can only say that some hidden agenda is at work here," he added.

Said a NSCN (IM) press release: "We question the deliberate strategy of the GOI to exclude the Naga people from the peace process and that certainly will have grave ramifications."

The home ministry on its part claimed that ground reports indicated security threats. "We have gone by our ground reports which said that the situation is not conducive for a large convoy of the NSCN (IM) to move into the area," said a senior home ministry official.

Earlier, the government had raised queries on how the NSCN leaders met up with MLAs of the ruling Naga People's Front and civic society representatives at a Dimapur resort despite travel restrictions. A senior government official had said that the meeting was to chalk out a strategy for the forthcoming Manipur polls.