Jul 20, 2007

Nagalim: Civil Society Mobilized in Delhi

On the eve of the next round of peace talks, Naga civil society leaders mobilized in Delhi asking the Central government to find a permanent solution to the Naga issue.

On the eve of the next round of peace talks, Naga civil society leaders mobilized in Delhi asking the Central government to find a permanent solution to the Naga issue.

Below are extracts from an article written by Sanjay Kumar and published by Daily India.com:

Just a day before the start of the next round of Naga peace talks in Delhi, civil society leaders from Nagaland and Manipur have started mobilizing people in the capital to put pressure on the Central Government to reach some sort of understanding with the […] National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN (IM) on Naga political issues.

As part of the campaign, the leaders are engaging civil society leaders in Delhi.

They held a convention on "Indo-Naga Political Dialogue" in Delhi today, which was chaired by Surender Mohan, a former Member of Parliament and a Janata Dal ideologue.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohan underlined the need for a "speedy solution to vexed Naga issues and urged the government to stop its dilly dallying attitude on the problem".

Neingulo Krome, the leader of the Naga Hoho, a representative of the Naga civil society, also asked for the end of the lengthy dialogue process and a permanent solution.

"Ceasefire has been going on for the last ten years. There has not been much progress in the talk...we have lost hope on the Government of India", said Krome,General Secretary, Naga Hoho.

"We want Indian civil society to put pressure on the government as well as to understand the present Naga political situation...things can't go on like this... people want results," he said.

The same feeling was expressed by Khesheli Chisi, the President of Naga Mothers Association, a group representing all Naga women to uphold their rights and liberty.

She said that the sooner a result was achieved, the better it would be for both Naga society and the Indian Government.

Earlier this week, six United Naga Council -supported Independent MLAs of the Manipur State Assembly, and the independent MP from the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, Mani Charenamei, met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh,and submitted a memorandum urging him to bring the Naga peace process on the fast track so that a lasting solution could be achieved at the earliest.

Apart from submitting their memorandum, the legislators had a brief meeting with Dr. Singh, and stressed the point that the Naga peace talks, which has been going on for the last 10 years, has taken too long, and called for an early solution.

They also supported the extension of the ongoing ceasefire between the Government of India and the NSCN(IM), which is due to expire at the end of this month.

The NSCN-IM and security forces in Nagaland have been observing a truce since August 1997. Since then, the group has held around 50 rounds of talks with the Indian Government in Europe, South East Asia and India to find a solution to the Naga issue.

The truce has been extended every 12 months since then, except in 2005, when it was renewed for just six months […] and further extended by another six months in February 2006. It was extended by a year on July 31, 2006 after hectic parleys between representatives of the government and NSCN-IM in Bangkok.

There is an indication of hardening of the NSCN(IM)'s stance for the next round of talks scheduled for July 21-22 to carry forward the peace process and extend the ceasefire in Nagaland that ends on July 30.

NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chisi Swu and General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah will meet a Group of Ministers led by Union Minister Oscar Fernandes and the interlocutor for the Naga talks, K Padmanabhaiah, to discuss matters like the extension of the 10-year-old ceasefire, the group's demand for unification of Naga-inhabitated areas […].

The NSCN-IM submitted a charter of demands to the government, including a separate Constitution for Nagaland, a "new and unique" relationship with New Delhi and unification of Naga- inhabitated areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

But these three states have rejected such demands.

In the Bangkok talks last year, before extending the ceasefire for a year, both sides had agreed on a broad framework to define a relationship that could end the Naga insurgency.

There is, however, confusion on the parameters of the broad framework.

Muivah arrived in India in December last year, while Swu came to the country in the first week of January. Since then, they have been in Nagaland for discussions with NSCN-IM cadres and civil society and political leaders on the group's key demands. They are now in the national capital to hold the next round of talks.