August 4, 2015 2:16:17 am
What do you make of the accord?
I am not aware of the details, but both sides appear to be quite satisfied. It was evident from their body language, from the text of their speeches. Their core concerns would have been resolved, and made part of the agreement. For the Government of India, there cannot be any compromise with the integrity and sovereignty of the country. The redrawing of state boundaries in the Northeast would also not have become part of the agreement. For the NSCN, it means that the government has recognised the unique history and culture of the Naga people, something that they stressed at every conversation. It is extremely close to their hearts, and this expression was used during today’s function. It would have brought satisfaction to the NSCN.
What about providing autonomy to Nagaland?
There is already a fair degree of autonomy. Article 371A of Constitution makes special provisions for Nagaland. I would imagine that the government might have agreed to strengthen this article, to give Nagaland broader autonomy than any other state. It is possible that this autonomy would apply to Naga-majority districts outside of Nagaland as well, in the manner in which district councils are organised, how schools function etc. This is a sensitive issue, however, and we will need to see the details of the agreement.
Why did the final agreement take so long even after the NSCN (IM) had agreed to a solution within the basic structure of the Constitution?
It is the culmination of a long process. The groundwork had been done under the UPA government when I was the interlocutor. The breakthrough indeed was made in 2012. But it was the indecisiveness of the then government that it did not take the matter to the logical conclusion. I must compliment this government for acting promptly on this. It would not have been easy. But if it was kept pending any further, the deal could have turned sour. In that way, this government has really shown statesmanship and delivered on its policy on the Northeast.
What about the other Naga groups that continue to fight the Indian state?
The NSCN (IM) is the biggest and strongest of all groups in Nagaland, and I would say the agreement would make it somewhat easier for the government to deal with the other groups. It would help in the fight against insurgency not just in Nagaland but in the rest of the Northeast as well.
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