NSCN-IM general secretary Th Muivah had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seven months ago that the “talks should be resumed at the highest, i.e. Prime Ministerial level; without precondition; and outside India in a third country”. The letter also had stated, “And if our stay in India is no more welcome, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country”.
The NSCN-IM said on Monday, “Seven months back the Hon’ble Ato Kilonser Th Muivah dispatched a letter to the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi. We deliberately withheld the letter from releasing to the media for public consumption as we waited with all confidence that the Prime Minister of India will respond positively”.
However, the NSCN-IM said in a press statement that “NSCN being accountable to the Naga people hereby released the letter to inform of the delay and the lack of response from the office of the Indian Prime Minister to our people”.
The letter of Th Muivah to Narendra Modi, which was issued to the media on Monday by the NSCN-IM, said that “we are writing this letter to you because after 22 years of political dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN, a serious deadlock has emerged on the issue of the Naga National Flag and Constitution”.
The letter then said the NSCN-IM had agreed to start negotiation with the Government of India only after it recognized the Naga issue as political and stopped terming it as India’s ‘Internal Law and Order Issue’. “Hence, the Government of India declared that military way of solution against the Nagas was not possible”, the letter also said. The letter added that it was on account of the change in the policy of the Government of India that the NSCN-IM agreed to sit across the negotiating table. “Ceasefire was officially declared on August 1, 1997 and it was agreed that the political dialogue shall be at the highest, i.e. Prime Minister level; without pre-condition; and outside India in a third country”, the letter added.
It then said several rounds of talks have been held in different countries, outside India including Paris in France, New York in USA, The Hague in the Netherlands, Bangkok and Chiangmai in Thailand, Zurich, Geneva, Osaka (Japan), Kuala-Lampur in Malaysia, Vienna in Austria, Milan in Italy, New Delhi in India and Dimapur in Naga land.
“Negotiations have taken place with various Prime Ministers of India including PV Narasimha Rao (1995 in Paris and 2001 in Osaka) and Dr Manmohan Singh (2010 in New Delhi). In 2005, a group of ministers was appointed for the Indo –Naga dialogue including Shivraj Patil, Union Home minister, Oscar Fernandes, Minister of State, Prithviraj Chauhan, (MoS for PMO), S Regupathy (MoS for Home). Special Emissaries and representatives of the Government of India have also been appointed from Swaraj Kaushal, K Padmanabhaiah, RS Pandey, Ajit Lal, RN Ravi,” said the letter of Th Muivah to Narendra Modi.
According to the letter, with the signing of the Amsterdam Joint Communique of July 11, 2002, the Government of India officially recognized the “Unique history and situation of the Nagas”. This official recognition of the unique history and situation of the Nagas was the first realistic step forward in the political negotiation. The letter also said the Government of India renewed its official invitation to the NSCN leadership chairman Isak Chishi Swu and the general secretary and Naga chief negotiator Th Muivah to come to Delhi in India in December 2002 through the Amsterdam Joint Communique of July 11, 2002 and the subsequent Memorandum of Understanding dated 18 November 2002, Milan, Italy. The MoU was in addition to a conscious decision of the Government of India to discontinue the ban on the NSCN under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
According to the letter, in the year 2010 during the interlocutorship of RS Pandey, the Government of India submitted its first comprehensive official response to the NSCN in New Delhi, wherein, it proposed that the political dialogue should move forward on the principle of ‘Shared Sovereignty’. “The subsequent outcome was the official signing of the Framework Agreement of 3rd August, 2015 in New Delhi during your Prime Ministership. Our late chairman Isak Chishi Swu with your understanding had the historic opportunity to sign the Framework Agreement from his sick bed at the Fortis Hospital in New Delhi. We appreciated your statesmanship and your testimonial statement that, everything is possible through negotiation and mutual respect. We also have faith that the good Lord will bless your leadership and give you the wisdom to fulfill the divine task entrusted to you to usher in permanent peace in the region through the conclusion of an acceptable and honourable political solution between India and the Naga people,” the letter of Th Muivah added.
“As you are well aware, the Framework Agreement reaffirmed that the Indo-Naga issue is political and upheld the recognized “unique history and situation” of the Nagas,” said the letter. It further said the Framework Agreement also acknowledged the intricacies of the Indian system and in consonance with contemporary realities both the parties acknowledged that violent confrontation must end to usher in peace and progress. Both the parties are cognizant of the universal principle that in democracy sovereignty lies with the people and lastly, an enduring inclusive peaceful co-existence of the two entities (nations) can be achieved only through the sharing of sovereign power/shared sovereignty as defined in the competencies, it added.
According to the letter, in view of concluding a lasting and acceptable and honourable political agreement as per the principle of the Framework Agreement, “we had mentioned in our proposal that, Nagaland shall use its National Flag, Anthem, Emblem and Insignia”. It also said, “We also have proposed that, ‘This Agreement shall constitute a constitution which shall be called Yehzabo, covering the areas of its own competencies’”. It added, “Our proposal is not a demand, neither does it in any way deviate from officially agreed Framework Agreement. Without any ambiguity, it mentions that as per the universal democratic principle “sovereignty lies with the people” and the peaceful co-existence of the two entities shall be through the sharing of sovereign power. An acceptable political solution can be achieved only through respect for a people’s history and their national identity”. Nagas are not lost people and if India respects our history, we will respect India ten times more. The mutually agreed competencies and the recognition of the two core issues are based on the Framework Agreement, therefore, it does not undermine the security or integrity of India. It is, therefore, imperative that the principle of Framework Agreement must be taken to its logical conclusion through the recognition of the Naga National Flag and Constitution”, the letter of Muivah to Modi further stated.
The letter then said, “We wish to inform you that most of the important issues or competencies are already resolved and as mentioned the only remaining issue is Naga Flag and Constitution.
The letter then said the activities of the PMO representative of the Government of India after his appointment as the Governor of Nagaland has become a matter of great concern as he is consciously functioning within the law and order purview of the Constitution of India. It is a deliberate deviation from his appointment as the Representative of the Government of India for the Indo-Naga peace talks.
“God has a plan and a place for all nations including India and the Nagas. We do not demand anything from India, but the Naga people should have our God given share here on earth”, said the letter. The Government of India and the NSCN have negotiated for 22 years and it is within the plan and will of the Lord God Almighty that there should be an acceptable and honourable political solution of the two entities. We, the NSCN and the Nagas, are prepared for an honourable solution, the letter further said. However, if India or the BJP led NDA government is not prepared and be ready to let the Nagas have their share of an honourable and acceptable political solution, then, let the Lord God Almighty judge between India and the Nagas, the letter added.
“Hon’ble Prime Minister, the NSCN and the Naga people sincerely pray that the Lord God Almighty will stir your heart and give you sufficient political and spiritual insight and wisdom to understand the significance of ending the decades old political conflict between India and the Nagas and comprehend the value of bequeathing an honourable political solution and acceptable legacy not only for the Naga people but for the people of India and the world in general,” the letter of Muivah also said.
It then said that on the official invitation of the Government of India, “we first arrived in India in 2002 and after our subsequent visits, we have since 2010 patiently stayed in India to conclude an acceptable and honourable political settlement”. As mentioned, several rounds of talks with the Prime Ministers of India and the representatives of the Government of India have already been completed and the unique outcome was the signing of the Framework Agreement, the letter also said.
“However, in the given circumstances and in order to save the political dialogue, talks should be resumed at the highest, i.e. Prime Minister level; without precondition; and outside India in a third country”. The letter also stated, “And if our stay in India is no more welcome, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country”.