Jun 01, 2004

Naga: New Indian Government to continue Peace Talks

Naga International Support Centre congratulates the new coalition Government of India for swiftly deciding to continue the peace talks that should lead to a solution concerning the conflict between the Nagas and India
Once more at par with the Naga Peoples after the surprising change of Government, hopes and expectations are raised now that both parties have declared that they will seek a solution to the longstanding conflict. This conflict has been both a continuing and bloody saga since the birth of the Union of India over 50 years ago. Consequently, NISC hails the Government of India and the Naga Peoples represented by Government of the Naga Socialist Council of Nagaland.

Considering the declared good intentions, NISC fears there are a number of pitfalls that need to be remembered well and openly addressed.

First of all, this important landmark recognition was published in a joint statement by the then BJP led Government of India: The Government of India recognizes the unique history of the Nagas. For the Nagas, this is most important as it recognizes that Nagaland as a whole has never been part of India historically, geographically, culturally or religiously, nor has it been part of Britain since only one third was colonized.

This recognition by the former government of the unique history of the Nagas is to be honoured by the Congress led coalition government

Secondly, the Government of India can rule over the Nagas with troops, but more subtly by encouraging dissent, showering money on select Nagas and buying votes to bring about division among the Nagas.

The rampant corruption invoked to divide and rule the Naga society must stop in order to make the peace talks more credible.

Thirdly, NISC reminds the Government of India that the Nagas were divided over the Shillong Accord, which was intended to do just that. The reverberations of that Accord are still felt. The wounds are barely hedled.

the Government of India must stop the divide and rule tactics and instead convince the relevant states that despite the fact that the lands of the Nagas have been divided by former Governments of India by both an international border as well as by state borders created even later, that the Nagas as a whole have a right to self determination.

The new Congress led coalition Government of India and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are now given an opportunity to usher in a long term peace in Nagaland with the decision to continue productive talks. NISC congratulates the Prime Minister and the Congress party, and is ever hopeful that continued negotiations between India and Nagas on these relevant and vital issues will result in a swift, equitable and honourable resolution to the long standing conflict.