New Delhi: As the Centre readies to ink the Naga Peace Accord today, Nagaland remains tense, with the state bracing for a backlash, following threats by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) faction to derail the peace process, should the Centre proceed without its participation.
The NSCN (I-M), a key player in the peace accord, was the primary signatory when the pact was inked in 2015 under the then Union home minister Rajnath Singh. It has, however, been playing hardball with the Centre, with several of is members recently defecting to the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), which became a signatory to the pact later in 2017.
While the NNPG has been determined to keep the peace accord on track, the NSCN I-M has been resolute in its demand for a separate Constitution, flag and integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas under Nagalim (Greater Nagaland) which includes parts of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar, the Centre has been determined to go ahead with the signing of the agreement, sans the participation of the NSCN (I-M).
The Centre’s interlocutor R.N. Ravi last week also held a detailed consultation meeting with the primary stakeholders of the Naga society to discuss the “Framework Agreement with the (NSCN I-M) and the agreed position", following which the Centre said that a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, was ready for inking. On the 31st.
There are different National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) factions including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) whose diktat runs across Nagaland that has a population of 1.97 million, with more than 70% of the people living in rural areas.
Civil society and religious organizations also carry considerable weight. They include organizations such as Naga Hoho, Naga Tribes Council, Nagaland Baptist Churches Council and Naga Mothers’ Association.
The state, which has had an uneasy relationship with the mainland since the days of the late pro-independence leader Angami Zapu Phizo. The Naga Peace Accord, 2015, was held up by slow progress of talks and the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The only member of parliament (MP) to the Lok Sabha is a Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine' Tokheho Yepthomi, who represented the state earlier.
In Nagaland’s 60-member state legislature, NPF has 27 seats, while NDPP has 17 seats and BJP 12.