The Naga Rising: Naga issue not a cultural issue

Dimapur: The Naga Rising (TNR) said that the Naga issue is not a cultural issue. As such, TNR urged the Government of India not to treat the issue as a cultural issue.

In a statement today, TNR said that after all these years of peace negotiations between the Government of India and the Naga Political Groups (NPGs), it was hoped that both sides had arrived at a consensus on the core nature of the Naga issue.

In whichever way it is defined, TNR said that the Naga issue is political in nature and it remains unresolved to this day. According to TNR, the proof of this is the protracted political dialogue that has been necessitated as earlier agreements or accords could not resolve the Naga issue.

“Now, it has been reported that the Government of India offered a ‘cultural flag’ to the Nagas. It is imperative to have clarity on whether the Naga issue is political or cultural as the right solution can only come about based on the understanding of this question,” the statement further said. “Lest we forget, the Indo-Naga peace process has survived the pulls and pressures of Indian politics. It has seen continuity of several Prime Ministers and governments in Delhi. The Naga Rising has consistently taken the position that this broad and sustained support towards the Naga peace process should not be undermined at this crucial juncture,” it added.

TNR then said that the BJP-led Modi government should not treat the Naga issue as ‘cultural’ or the Naga political groups as some cultural bodies. The Naga position or status is ‘political’ in nature and should not be compared to an NGO or registered society, it also added. TNR said that if the Government of India accepts this fundamental truth, it will help to better appreciate a solution based on honouring the historical, territorial and political rights of the Nagas.

On the other hand, TNR said the Nagas too should respect the constitutional constraints, political intricacy and strategic concerns of Delhi.

“Taking into account ‘contemporary realities’, a rational approach should be adopted to arrive at a conclusion. It is not impossible to find a solution, but for this, both sides should deeply reflect on the benefits each gets in return from the peace deal,” it further stated.

“We firmly believe that the objective of the present Indo-Naga peace process should be an agreement, not victory,” TNR also said, while asking, “If Nagas have got some of the things they wanted from India, what can Nagas offer India in return? Similarly, what can India offer to the Nagas, if the latter has agreed to forgo some of its core demands including complete sovereignty and physical integration?”

In any negotiation, according to TNR, a give and take is a must. In a successful negotiation, TNR said, both sides should emerge with a sense of content, otherwise the outcome would not be acceptable to one side or the other, leading to more conflict and uncertainty.

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TNR then said that apparently, the delay in arriving at a solution is over symbolic issues that are sensitive to the Nagas. It further said a flag and constitution for the Nagas need not necessarily be seen as out of sync with the concept and practice of Indian Federalism. “Naga aspiration can co-exist within the larger Indian union,” it added.

For all these years since the peace process began, according to TNR, the Indian political leadership has been well aware that ‘a unique’, ‘out-of-the-box’ solution and ‘some special arrangement’ would have to be made for the Nagas.

Furthermore, TNR said the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs 2019 has certified the case of the Nagas. TNR further said the report has strongly recommended that the Government of India “should tread carefully on the issues sensitive to the Nagas and not let vested interests hijack the peace narrative”.

The Naga Rising then said it believes that with the political will of the Prime Minister and based on the political formulation advanced by the Indian Parliament, a solution to the Naga issue can be concluded. “We are confident that the resilience and strength of Indian federalism and the Constitution will be able to demonstrate both ingenuity and innovation in addressing the special unique case of the Nagas,” TNR added.

NNN

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