Peace in Nagaland?
The recent report that the NSC( I-M) are reconsidering their demand for a greater Nagalim is not only a welcome sign, but it is a mature way ahead for talks, giving up also the call for an independent nation and sovereignty. The demand for a greater Nagaland brought conflict of interests as the group claimed the Naga areas of not only Manipur, but Arunachal Pradesh and Assam as well. There was opposition by these state governments.
The group now having given up this demand; the talks can concentrate on Nagaland and the Naga inhabited areas of Manipur. This will also ease tensions between the hill and valley ' conflict ' in Manipur. The residual part of Manipur, inhabited by tribes such as Ukhrul, Tamenlong and Senapati districts can function as autonomous councils, in the manner of BTAD in Bodo areas, or even a state can be formed which will however not have geographical contiguity.
This decision if one may call it of the NSCN ( I-M) is very significant and brings into fore a flexible way of looking at things for peace and development. However the two factions of the NSCN must work together on this. Reoports indicate that the two factions are mellowing down on issues.
Nagaland is the crucible of socio political unrest in North East in addition to Assam. Over four decades, the tribulations of Nagaland contributed to developments in the other states as well. In fact the militant groups in the different states of North East India had always an understanding, and an affinity for each other, towards what it considered a common goal. The rebel forces believed in the precept of a common enemy, or that, enemy's enemy is a friend. This helped to bring them together on a common platform of warring with the Indian Government, and events of recalcitrance in one state always affected the other, leading to turmoil in almost all the states of North East India.
Once there is peace in Nagaland, there is all hope, that the sanguinary battle fields of North East India will descend to calm. The only quirk will still remain with Assam, as the Paresh Barua faction of the ULFA, is yet to come overground, and is fighting to the last cause.
But, they seem to be in a minority. The Government of India must be given credit for tenaciously pursuing the Nagaland peace process for a decade, with the help of various interlocutors.
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Ananya S Guha
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