Treading Cautiously On The Final Naga Peace Agreement

The only beneficiary of the entire peace process is the Governor of Nagaland, R.N. Ravi. R.N.Ravi began as special director of the Northeast Intelligence Bureau and became an interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, then governor of the state. Apart from him, no other party involved has found solid ground to cling to. On the one hand, the framework agreement has been kept secret for too long to arouse Nagas` mistrust. Then the signatory of the framework agreement was sidelined for a final solution. The Centre probably did not understand that the Naga issue was different from the rest of the country, and the solutions that worked elsewhere would not have frieded this problem. In July 1960, the Nehru government signed an agreement with the Naga People`s Assembly instead of the clandestine insurgents under Angami Zapu Phizo. Known as the 16-point agreement, it resulted in the merger of the Naga Hills District of Assam and NEFA`s Tuensang Frontier Division into a single administrative entity, now the State of Nagaland. The Naga People`s Assembly was originally organized to facilitate dialogue between armed insurgents and Delhi. However, the moderators themselves have become the main party of the agreement.

It did not solve Naga`s insurrection. Fourth, for decades, Nagas has lived separately under various political and administrative institutions. Integration threatens interest groups rooted in these areas. This logic works on two levels. On one level, Nagas of Nagaland wants to protect its resources from other Nagas. In another group within Nagaland have different priorities in the vision of integration. Thus, Sumis attaches the highest priority to the controversial belt around Dimapur, while Konyaks prefers the adjacent districts of Arunachal Pradesh. For Sumis and Konyaks, the North Manipur, the priority of the Tangkhuls of the NSCN-IM, is a very remote place whose integration strongly undermines their bargaining power in an expanded Nagaland. In fact, there are also differences of opinion on integration within narrow groups of tribes such as the Eastern Nagas. So far, the central government has kept the state government in check and has not included it in the entire process.

This undermines the popular will of the people and the democratically elected government, which should play a special role in the peace process. It is also not known why R.N.Ravi, now governor of Nagaland, still acts as interlocutor (the post of governor is a constitutional body and acts according to the Centre). While New Delhi has already refused to agree on its own flag and constitution, NSCN-IM, the largest and oldest Naga outfit, says they are crucial for a definitive solution and has accused Centre of tracing previous commitments.