PRESS STATEMENT, 2 MARCH, 2020 (Rejoinder/clarification to Mr. RN Ravi’s interview to Nagaland Post)

                                    GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLES’ REPUBLIC OF NAGALIM

                                                                      Ministry of Information and Publicity

                                                                                        PRESS STATEMENT

                                                                                  Hebron, 2nd March, 2020

This statement is given to clarify the position of the NSCN and as a rejoinder to the irresponsible and misleading interview of RN Ravi with Tinakali Sumi of Nagaland Post on February 28, 2020.

In his interview, the Representative of the Government of India (GoI) in an intentional and calculated move misinterpreted the 3rd August, 2015 Framework Agreement (FA) and squarely blamed the NSCN by giving the following shocking and unwarranted statements: “The NSCN (I-M) is trying to imagine things which are not in the Framework Agreement and misleading the people”; “new and mischievous interpretation”; “The delay is entirely on the part of NSCN (I-M); it appears that they are not prepared for a settlement”; “They are now changing their positions from what they have already agreed. This is not acceptable”; “No single entity has franchise over it. We must be honest with the Naga people”;“There is no mention of shared sovereignty in it. There is no mention of integration. There is no mention of Nagas as a separate entity”; so on and so forth.Hence, the following statement has been given to shed light on the immature and malicious statement of the Representative of the GoI, Shri. RN Ravi and to remove any doubt in the minds of the Naga people and others in the larger interest of peace and resolution of the Indo-Naga political conflict.

The NSCN does not consider the FA contentious and there is no ambiguity about it. The NSCN recognizes that it is a broad framework whereby a foundation was laid towards resolving the decade’s old Indo-Naga conflict through mutual respect of each other’s history and sharing of sovereignty or sovereign powers between the two entities. The NSCN is firm in its commitment to resolve the decade’s old Indo-Naga issue based on the FA which was witnessed by the leaders of India including the Home Minister, the Chief of Army and the Prime Minister of India. Both parties have mutually agreed that within this Framework Agreement the details and execution plan will be worked out and implemented.

The FA recognizes that the Naga issue is political and therefore implying that it is not the internal law and order issue of India. It reaffirmed and recognized their “Unique history and situation” which entails that Nagas were never a part of India either by conquest or by consent. Acknowledging contemporary realities and future vision both the parties concluded that violent confrontation must end to usher in comprehensive progress. The two parties recognized that according to the universal principle in a democracy sovereignty lies with the people. And since sovereignty reflects a people’s identity, the flag and constitution is inherent and inalienable. The FA acknowledged that there will be a sharing of sovereign power/shared sovereignty for the realization of an enduring inclusive peaceful co-existence of the two entities. The solution shall be a NAGA SOLUTION, of and for the Naga people, and therefore it shall be inclusive of all Nagas. The peaceful co-existence of the two entities shall only be through the sharing of sovereign power.

In 2010 the first ever comprehensive official response proposal from the GoI was submitted to the NSCN during the time of Shri. RS. Pandey, Representative of the GoI. The proposal of the GoI significantly included a political solution based on “Shared Sovereignty” and also amongst others included the establishment of “a statutory Pan Naga Supra state body” to represent Naga identity and their interest and  which will cover Nagas, wherever they are, and separate fund. His proposal also included the necessity of respect for the integration of Naga areas. During the period of the present Representative of the GoI it was finalized that in appreciation of the unique History and situation of the Nagas the GoI agreed that the statutory Pan Naga Hoho(PNH) shall be part of the political Agreement and recognised that integration of all Naga areas as the “legitimate rights” of the Naga people.

In a nutshell, the PNH shall be statutory body, represented by Nagas, wherever they are, from respective tribes or regions democratically. It will safeguard and promote Naga identity, integrity and interests including social, cultural and customary practices, language and dialects of various Naga tribes. It will play an advisory role in the field of promoting education and development. There will be proper representation eminent Naga personalities, women and minorities. The Chairman and its Executive members shall be in the rank of Cabinet and an eminent Naga person shall be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

The integration of Naga areas and the statutory PNH with its features mentioned above has been mutually agreed upon and therefore we are surprised and taken aback that the issues are projected as “contentious” in the negotiation by the current Representative of the GoI.

It must also be mentioned that both the parties have mutually agreed and concluded that the political power of a government including, Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, shall be with the Naga Government. The agreement shall cover all Naga areas. The Naga government shall exercise its powers on the mutually agreed competencies and amongst others the Naga Government shall have a separate budget, responsible for internal security. The contentious issue is the “Naga National Flag”. The Anthem, Emblem and Insignia are already agreed by the GoI.

The GoI and the NSCN have negotiated for 22 years with several rounds of talks being held outside India in countries like France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Thailand, The USA, Japan and Malaysia and since 2010 we have been staying in India in order to finalise the political agreement. As mentioned the first ever comprehensive proposal of the GoI came after 13 years in 2010 during the time of Shri. RS. Pandey which proposed for a solution based on “Shared Sovereignty”.

In the eighties the GoI officially declared that military solution was not possible and started approaching the NSCN for political dialogue. Consequently, for the initiation of political negotiations under the following proposal of the NSCN leadership was agreed by the GoI that the talks shall be:

  • At the highest level, i.e. Prime Minister level;
  • Without pre-condition;
  • Outside India in a third country

The NSCN Chief negotiator had frequently stated that, “Nagas are not lost people and if India respects the history of the Nagas, we will respect India ten times more”. He also concluded that if the political negotiation must move forward realistically than the GoI must “officially” recognized the unique history and situation of the Nagas. Subsequently, with the signing of the Amsterdam joint Communiqué of July 11, 2002 the “Unique and situation of the Nagas” was officially recognised and signed. The NSCN and the Nagas appreciated the decision of the GoI and the statesmanship of the PM, Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

The NSCN is ready for an acceptable and honourable political solution based on the FA. The issue of Flag and constitution is not a deviation from the FA and the PNH is the official proposal of the GoI. On several occasion during the political talks the Representative of the GoI had proposed that the Naga Flag be used in the PNH, but the NSCN had turned it down stating the Naga National Flag should be with the Naga Government and not a social or cultural body. The NSCN had proposed that Naga National flag must be recognized based within the principle of sharing sovereign power / shared sovereignty as mutually agreed upon in the FA. It had also proposed that the constitution shall be the “mutually agreed competencies” of the two entities; therefore, This Agreement shall constitute a constitution which shall be called Yehzabo (Naga constitution), covering the areas of its own competencies”. We have left no stone unturned to explore and conclude an acceptable and honourable political solution for a peaceful co-existence of the two entities.

The NSCN has stated that the political solution shall be a NAGA SOLUTION. We shall honour the mandate given to us by the Naga people and uphold the 1951 national plebiscite decision of the Naga people. Contemporary realities does not mean a solution under the Union of India as that is a deviation from the historic national decision of the Naga people. The final acceptable and honourable political solution must uphold the sovereign national identity of the Nagas which includes the Naga National Flag and Constitution. This position of the NSCN is not a misinterpretation or dilution of the FA.

The 22 years of an enduring and patient political negotiation of the NSCN and its leadership with the GoI being branded as, “mischievous interpretations” and “misleading the people” by the Representative of the GoI is deceptive and harmful. We have upheld the sanctity of the FA as it was agreed by both the parties that it should be part of the final political agreement. However, in view of the misinterpretation of the FA and accusation against the NSCN by the Representative of the GoI the FA can be published in the public domain for a realistic assessment and conclusion of the issue.

The Representative of the GoI after his appointment as the Governor of Nagaland is visibly dealing the Indo-Naga political talks within India’s Law and Order subject. The Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) and its agencies including the NIA and the Assam Rifles have become extremely active after his arrival to Nagaland as the Governor. His policy of scheming and conniving with the so called NNPGs and mobilizing some tribes from so called Nagaland state and excluding the main stakeholders of the Naga society including the Naga Hoho (NH), Naga Mothers Association (NMA), Naga Student Federation (NSF) and Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) is clearly against the spirit of a NAGA SOLUTION which the NSCN and the Naga people are striving for. His misinterpretation of the already agreed competencies including the PNH and integration has come as a shock to the NSCN and the Naga people.

The surreptitious activities of the Representative of the GoI with the so called NNPGs and his intention of signing an agreement with these factions will surely undermine the sanctity of the FA which was witnessed by the leaders of the GoI including PM of India. Most of the contents in the GoI proposal which was submitted during RS. Pandey’s time was per se not acceptable to the NSCN, however, the NSCN and its leadership decided to expand the proposal for an acceptable and honourable political settlement of the two entities based on the principle of “Shared Sovereignty”.  It was high point in the statesmanship of both the parties that the FA was signed.

The NSCN value the fact that the political dialogue had started in 1997 at the highest level, without precondition and outside India in a third country. The political negotiation has taken 22 years but in spite of this extended period of political negotiation the NSCN considers it realistic and pragmatic that during this period the GoI recognized of the unique history and situation of the Nagas and subsequently signed the FA. The NSCN is patient and we have not deviated from the FA neither is there any change in our position nor have we changed the “goalposts” as stated by the Representative of the GoI.

The Naga people and the NSCN are ready if the final political solution is acceptable and honourable to the Naga people. However, observing the activities of the Representative of the GoI and the MHA the political dialogue can be derailed if he is allowed to act recklessly and if the latter is made to function with impunity. It may be mentioned that the directive of the MHA to the Nagaland Government questioning the presence of our leadership in Dimapur, Nagaland (MHA Letter No. 9/1/2007-1 dated Feb, 11 2020) is a serious insult to the Naga people as the NSCN leadership is in India on the official invitation of the GoI which was amongst others officially mentioned in the July 11, 2002 Amsterdam Joint communiqué and the Memorandum Of Understanding Dated: 18 November 2002, Milan, Italy. Those are but only few incidences of the GoI showing its hypocrisy and double standards. The other glaring examples includes the past handiwork of the GoI and its Agencies in arresting and imprisoning  our Chief Negotiator in Thailand and putting in jail one of our go-between after accusing him as “terrorist”. History is being repeated, but at what cost will it be?

Twenty two years of political negotiation is not a sign of weakness, neither is it a politics of delay. The NSCN considering contemporary realities and to end the decades old violent confrontation, a situation created by India through its militarization policy in Naga areas, decided to respond to the proposal and we have been very patient. However, patience has its limit. In the face of all this uncalled-for provocation by the GoI, its representative, the MHA and its Agencies the NSCN and its leadership has been patient and as always shall strive for an acceptable and honourable political NAGA SOLUTION.

The GoI must be bold enough to take a wise political decision to conclude an acceptable and honourable political settlement based on the FA and respecting the national identity of the Naga people instead of delaying the peace talks and misinterpreting the FA. We have given this statement to inform the GoI and its leadership in New Delhi to sincerely update itself on the ground realities and the progress of the political dialogue and strife to direct the Indo-Naga political talks towards its logical conclusion.

KUKNALIM !!                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                              Issued by MIP