Subtle attempts at economic, military & cultural expansionism
With popular mandate and his dynamic leadership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP-led government raised high expectations that he would help resolve the complex socio-political issues of the Northeast region. After almost a decade, he too is failing to deliver.
The BJP was looked upon with much hope as it came to power, either in alliance or on its own, in all the Northeast States. The Naga solution was told to wait as the BJP wanted favourable governments in Nagaland’s neighbouring States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
The public of Nagaland even tolerated the ‘election for solution’ promise made by the BJP. Even the argument to have an experienced leader, someone like Neiphiu Rio, at the helm of affairs to usher in a solution was generally accepted. What happened to all these public declarations and commitments?
Modi should not undermine or be blind to the root causes of problems facing the region. If the Prime Minister thinks that merely trumpeting the Act East Policy and talking about development and connectivity will usher in peace and order, then he is greatly mistaken.
Naga accord could be a catalyst for peace in NE
The settlement of the Naga political issue will solve many political and security worries of Delhi, including the complexity of the demand for Frontier Nagaland bordering Myanmar and the current turmoil in Manipur which requires a political alternative. With trouble brewing in the region, it is common sense to find early resolution to the Naga issue.
But it would be naive to think that the political leadership in Delhi is unaware of the catalyzing effect that a Naga accord would bring in the Northeast. What then is stopping Delhi to resolve the Naga issue?
The Naga Rising would like to state that in addition to the divide and rule policy of the Indian State, the present government is fixated with the notion of command, controland subjugation.
The rulers in Delhi with their ‘controlling and coercive behavior’ are creating trust deficit and further alienating the region and its people. After establishing its political presence in all the Northeast States, in a subtle yet persistent attempt, the BJP government is putting in place well-planned policy designs to advance the Indian State’s economic, military & cultural expansionism in the Northeast as can be seen in the recently passed Forest Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2023, the on going Meri Mati Mera Desh Campaign or the proposed Uniform Civil Code.
Except forsigning ceasefires, suspension of operations and memorandum of understanding with varied groups in the Northeast, the Modi government has not been able to resolve any of the major political, ethnic and other socio-economic problems and grievances of the people of the region. Delaying solutions to the problems have only added to the conflagration that we see today in the Northeast.
The factors contributing to the fundamental problem of the Northeast region, as exemplified by the present turmoil in Manipur, has been the flawed policy of divide and rule employed by the British colonial rulers and adopted by the Indian State in the post-independence period that continues to this day.
Northeast’s internal social fault lines are exploited by Delhi to serve its own interests. It is obvious that the Northeast is being eyed for its untapped land and its resources. The Indian establishment is unwilling to invest in conflict resolution as the conflict situation creates conditions for conflicting parties to become subservient to Delhi.
With General Elections due in early 2024, is Modi consolidating his power by taking advantage of the present unrest and confusion? Is a 3rd term for Modi being prepared to pave the way for the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra?
There are more questions than answers. It’s time for the Nagaland State government, the elected leaders, political parties, apex tribal bodies, church and civil society to be vigilant and speak out. We can no longer remain silent.
(Issued in public interest by The Naga Rising, 10th August 2023, Kohima)