Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Naga issue


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Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said that his government will not accept any proposal of the Union Home Ministry intruding on the rights of his state by giving access to the NSCN (IM) in Assam. He referred to the proposed special category state status for Nagaland and the formation of Councils for Naga-dominated areas in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. He would like to request the Centre to take the stakeholder stakes into confidence before giving a final nod to the ongoing peace-talks with the NSCN (IM). He also opposes the extension of the ceasefire with the NSCN (IM) in Assam. He had opposed it even when the NDA was in office at the Centre. Any move to create Councils for Nagas in Assam, Arunachal and Manipur would open a Pandara’s box. Many other communities would then demand community-based Councils.

Similar views were expressed in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh which have Naga-dominated areas. The NSCN (IM) has been pressing for their inclusion in Greater Nagalim. Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has rubbished the proposal. Several organisations in Arunachal have threatened to mount an agitation against the proposed move. It puts the Centre in a quandary. Over sixty rounds of talks have been held between Delhi and the NSCN (IM) but a stumbling block has been Naga leader T. Muivah’s insistence on the creation of a greater Nagaland. The problem goes back to the Prime Ministership of Atal Behari Vajpayee. His acquiescence in the Naga demand had caused a long flare-up in Manipur. The Northeastern crisis has thus aggravated. Manipur has its highways blockaded. Arunachal suffers from dissensions in the ruling Congress. Assam has its militancy problem. The inter-state discord adds to the crisis.

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