The NSCN(IM), a major insurgent group in the North East, on Thursday urged different Naga groups to be on board for the Framework Agreement and be part of the final solution to the seven-decade-old Naga political issue.
This assumes significance in the aftermath of the October 31 decision by the Centre to continue dialogues with all stakeholders including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh before bringing the Naga political issue to its final conclusion. The statement said that NSCN(IM) appeals to and invites all "Naga brothers and sisters in different groups with open heart to get on board the bus of Framework Agreement and be a part of the final solution in the greater interests of the people and peace and progress in the land".
The NSCN(IM) said that it has forgiven the past mistakes of "the Naga brothers and sisters in different camps" and that they (other groups) should also forgive its (NSCN(IM) past mistakes and be reconciled. Let this message of peace and unity among the Nagas be acceptable to all the Nagas, far and near, the statement said. The NSCN(IM) 'ministry of publicity' claimed that political leaders of the country and army officials have agreed that the Naga problem is political and not a military one, which opened the door for negotiations for solution to the decades-long issue.
Consequently the Centre and NSCN(IM) embarked on political negotiations from 1997 and after series of intensive negotiations signed the historic Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 based on the "recognized unique history" of the Nagas, it said. Taking account of the commitment and assurance of the GoI on the issues of Naga national flag and Constitution to resolving them at the earliest time, the two parties have mutually agreed upon to go for final touch on the agreed competencies for conclusion, the NSCN(IM) statement said. "Now therefore, when the Government of India is prepared to make the final agreement with the NSCN(IM) on the basis of the Framework Agreement all Nagas should also be equally prepared," it said.
Stating that Unity for the historic tasks ahead is indispensable, the NSCN(IM) said Now is the time for the Nagas to unite so that together we move forward to the new era; together we build a land of milk and honey. The Framework Agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's Independence in 1947.
Centre's interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R N Ravi said on Thursday said that Nagas are at the cusp of history as a new dawn has begun for a new era of peace, unity and prosperity. He urged all Naga groups to overcome bitterness and bad memories of the past and come together and make a new beginning towards unity, prosperity, development and brotherhood. Ravi, who was speaking at the Hornbill festival of the Lotha Naga tribes in Wokha district, also urged the Naga people to ensure that their rich culture does not fade away with the face of the onslaught of modern technology and way of life.
The talks to find a lasting solution to the seven- decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland were convened by the Centre in Delhi in a bid to iron out differences, particularly on the NSCN-IM's demands for a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas, which have already been rejected by the Centre. The separate flag and Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir has ceased to exist with the annulment of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. The dialogue with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) is said to be over.