Prelims cum Mains Security Issues

Naga agreement: Three years in the making

Why in news?

  • A little over three years ago, in August, 2015, Prime Minister announced the signing of a historic framework agreement to end the decades-old Naga insurgency.
  • However, the peace accord is yet to be finalised, even though all stakeholders other than the government appear keen on a conclusion.

Background

  • The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India.
  • The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
  • In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which, under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
  • The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a referendum in 1951, in which they said 99 per cent supported an “independent” Nagaland.
  • On November 11, 1975, the government got a section of NNC leaders to sign the Shillong Accord, under which this section of NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.
  • A group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980.
  • In 1988, the NSCN split into two groups, led by Isak and Muivah- NSCN(IM), and Khaplang (NSCN-K)
  • While the NNC began to fade away, and Phizo died in London in 1991, the NSCN (IM) came to be seen as the “mother of all insurgencies” in the region.
  • The Nagaland Assembly has endorsed the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand — “Integration of all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella” — as many as five times: in December 1964, August 1970, September 1994, December 2003 and as recently as on July 27, 2015.
  • Besides the NSCN-IM, the government held discussions with six other groups.
  • The NSCN-K, which violated the ceasefire in 2015, was not part of the peace process.
  • The NSCN-IM dropped its demand of sovereignty after several rounds of negotiations with the government.
  • Naga Framework Agreement” was signed in 2015 between the Union Government and the “National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah)”.
  • There was an understanding on a settlement within the Indian federation, with due regard to the uniqueness of Naga history.
  • But despite the initial euphoria, little has moved ahead in the deal.

Note-

  • Many details of the 2015 agreement are unclear, while Naga groups have given up the demand for sovereignty and redrawing of boundaries, issues like a separate passport, flag and army are still unresolved.

What areas are included in ‘Greater Nagalim’ ?

  • In the NSCN’s conception, “Greater Nagalim” consisted of Nagaland and “all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, which included several districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, and a part of Myanmar.
  • While the area of Nagaland in 16,527 sq km, Greater Nagalim sprawled over 1,20,000 sq km.
  • The demand for Nagalim has always agitated Assam, Manipur and Arunachal.

Some Progress

  • Former Intelligence Bureau officer Ravi was appointed interlocutor in August 2014.
  • He submitted that the negotiations were proceeding towards a situation, where boundaries of any State will neither be changed nor altered.
  • In a recent submission, the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga talks, said it was implied in the agreement that “some special arrangement” would be made for the Nagas.
  • It was also told that with respect to Nagaland, there is already a special arrangement. Article 371A of the Constitution makes it very clear that they are special and a special status has been accorded to them.

Note-

  • The NSCN-K unilaterally broke the agreement in March 2015, and was subsequently declared an unlawful association under The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
  • Delays in finalizing accord are caused by the demand for a separate flag and passport, and the question of the armed Naga battallions.

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