Founding Editor of ThePrint, Shekhar Gupta’s, Cut The Clutter episode 555 attempt to de-clutter Nagaland Crisis: how Muivah’s ambition at 86 runs into ethnicity, geography, demography & history falls short of comprehensive historical fact check.
The episode nonetheless lives up to the intended de-clutter topic i.e., Nagaland Crisis, seemingly not pulling the entire Naga historical political wagon, hard enough.
The Editor, out of the sheer entangled complexities, cherry picks, skips crucial chronology in his episode of the Naga Political issue by heavily banking his baseline argument on a retired IAS officer, Khekiye K. Sema’s opinion piece over Possible fall out after settlement based on framework agreement and remain oblivious to other hundreds of articles, journals written by Nagas from Nagaland (if that his his cherry picked intention) about the genesis of the Naga People’s struggle of Independence.
Shekhar Gupta, a respectable seasoned journalist of India, skips three key elements to his observation.
First, he skips the germination of Naga Political ambition to become a sovereign nation state from the very point in history of WW1, when the Naga Labour Crops from Northeast frontier, well before the formation of arbitrary Northeast states primarily, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, was followed by the Naga Club Memo to Simon Commission 1929, a historical landmark. Secondly Naga People’s declaration of Independence Day on August 14, 1947 as a free Nation. And thirdly, the Naga People’s ambition of her right to self-determination and self-govern saw the first Naga people’s Plebiscite of 16 May 1951 where 99.9% of the Nagas wanted independence from India.
Any attempt to reach the crux of the complex Naga political struggle without taking into consideration these crucial 3 historic events, would only suggest oversimplification, putting the card before the horse.
ThePrint Editor in all his good intention, unfortunately showed lack of research which is unlike him. Shekhar Gupta with his wealth of knowledge about the Northeast frontier, as it was called, is arguably someone who knows the political landscape of Northeast, especially the Naga complex politics, from his years of journalistic experience, which certainly isn’t impossible to de-clutter for a man of his stature. Therefore whether he speaks carelessly or accurately, whether biased or unbiased, his words commands journalistic truth and moves opinions.
Therefore, Shekhar Gupta’s approach on this episode in viewing the Naga Political struggle only from the prism of “Muivah’s ambitions”, followed by “Tangkhul cadres in NSCN IM”, followed by “Ukhrul” as the powerhouse of NSCN IM, and the community he speaks of at length in relation with “Nagaland political history”, and not “Naga Political history” without even a hint about other Naga tribes of Manipur, except quoting Tamenglong in footnote, clearly is a deliberate hamartia to NAGA POLITCIAL HISTORY!
The Editor’s de-cluttering of the vexed Naga Political issue in conjunction with the Framework Agreement, fails to talk about how and why Nagaland State was created in the first place. What 16 points agreement entailed for the Nagas in the larger political brinkmanship, ignoring scores of details of the 1989 fallout and massacre of NSCN IM by NSCN K. It would only have balanced his argument of 1975, Shillong Accord. Conveniently ignoring the decisive 1997 ceasefire agreement development between the Centre and NSCN IM, the fine details of the August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement and as to why the Governor cum interlocutor R N Ravi doctored the original Framwork Agreement signed in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and PM Narendra Modi, how Mr Gupta deliberately ignored the Lt. Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman of NSCN IM from the Sumi tribe of Nagaland, and how the mediators became the negotiators and so forth.
But those crucial points were all skipped peevishly in this Cut The Clutter episode 555 and unlike Shakher Gupta, unfashionably picked on one Naga community as the sole villain out of his 29 odd minutes commentary, reducing Naga Political struggle of over 74 years into Nagaland state Political issue. When he precisely knows that, that isn’t exactly the underlying issue.