Senapati: The United Naga Council (UNC), the Naga Women Union (NWU) and the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) have sought the “personal attention and intervention” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in concluding the Indo-Naga peace process and repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 as confidence building measures.
In a joint memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister through the deputy commissioner of Senapati during the former’s visit to Manipur on January 4, the UNC, the NWU and the ANSAM said, “Today, with a grave sense of urgency and apprehension in the manner in which the Indo- Naga political dialogue is being conducted, we request your personal attention and intervention to put the peace process back on the right track and resolve one of the longest political issues in the Indian sub-continent and the Southeast Asia”. The joint memorandum also said, “When the historic Framework Agreement between the Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) was signed at your official residence in New Delhi in 2015, it gave the Nagas a high hope and we believed that the Government of India under your able leadership was ushering in a paradigm shift and historic changes for the final settlement of the Indo-Naga issue”. It then said, “The visionary speech that your goodself delivered during the signing ceremony is still cherished and it remains close to the hearts of the Naga people”.
Addressing the Prime Minister, the three Naga bodies then said that it has been six years since it was signed and now the historic Framework Agreement “that promised” a new relationship for Nagas and India in protecting the interest of the Nagas and strengthening India as a great nation is in peril of being reduced to a mere document. They also expressed their concern that the letter and spirit of historic Framework Agreement and “your vision” for a peaceful and honourable political settlement with the Nagas is not visible till today. “This naturally gives the impression about the insincerity of the Government of India. The trust and confidence built up over the course of the dialogue process has now been decimated,” the memorandum added.
The three Naga organizations then alleged that there are rampant raids, arrests, and seizures of public leaders, businesspersons and members of “Naga National Organisation” by Indian army and state agencies and many are languishing in Indian jails with unfounded and false charges. The memorandum then mentioned that the recent gunning down of 14 Konyak Naga civilians at Oting in Mon district, Nagaland on December 4 and 5, 2021 by the 21 Para Commandos of Indian Army and Assam Riffles is a proof of blatant provocation by the Indian security forces. The three Naga bodies further said that “such insincerity” negates all forms of bilateral principles of peace process including ceasefire ground rules. They added that such brutality is not new and “we will not be surprised if worse happens in future too as long as the AFSPA that allows the Army to commit what it did at the Oting-Tiru road is not removed”.
The UNC, the NWU and the ANSAM then said that this act was enacted to annihilate the Naga movement for their self-determination but more than 6 decades of killing, torture, rape, detention, burning down of villages, groupings and all sort of unimaginable human rights atrocities under AFSPA has only brought India to the international attention with its shameful records on human rights and value for human lives.
The memorandum then said that the world is yet to know any peace process and political dialogue that is more than 24 years yet is unable to bring an honourable and acceptable settlement, even though the Government of India has recognized the unique history and situation of the Naga people.
“We strongly feel that it will be more for the glory of India if it upholds its commitment for an honourable solution to the Naga political issue,” the memorandum added.
The three Naga bodies, therefore, “fervently request your personal attention and intervention in bringing the Indo-Naga political talk to its logical conclusion at the earliest and more immediately repeal the AFSPA, 1958 as a pre-condition to the forthcoming Indo-Naga settlement”. The memorandum added, “We place our hope and confidence in your courage and decisive action and it will surely be under your able and dynamic leadership that Nagas and India will end the era of conflict and march on together to a new future of hope and possibilities”.