Sunday, May 18, 2008

Overgrounds’ pre-requisite

By Oken Jeet Sandham

The recent stepped-up abductions, factional clashes and killings among the Naga underground factions have not only greatly disturbed the relative peace but also threatened the peace process. For quite some time, the NSCN (IM) and Unification Group have been trading charges each other for the prevailing insecure environment particularly in and around Dimapur area. One should not forget that both NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) are currently in truce with the Government of India. In the past too, there have been allegations of violation of Cease Fire Ground Rules (CFGRs) by cadres of both NSCN (IM) and the NSCN (K), while the leaders of both the factions also cast aspersions to the Indian Security Forces for having violated CFGRs. Both factions also accused the Indian Security Forces of working hand in glove with either side. On many occasions, the grey areas in the CFGRs have been highlighted. Even the chairman of the ministerial team of the government of India for political parleys Oscar Fernandez had admitted that there was something wrong with the CFGRs and assured for early rectification of those defective clauses in the ground rules. The underlying concept of the cease fire between the Government of India and the both factions of the NSCN is to create environment conducive for holding political parleys. But the very concept is not materialized so far due to the continuous factional violence. Interestingly, both factions used to justify their clashes that such activities (factional clashes) did not come under the purview of the current CFGRs. Thus the responsible leaders from Naga civil society had prompted leaders of government of India of these serious loopholes. Even the state assembly had deliberated upon about the lacunae and defective clauses in the CFGRs and conveyed the same to the concerned authorities in the Central Government as it not only disturbed the peaceful environment but also hindered the peace process. The DAN government, as done in their previous regime, has reconstituted its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) headed by former DAN cabinet minister and senior BJP leader Dr TM Lotha. In their first PAC meeting along with DAN legislators after the DAN assuming power for the second consecutive term, it has come out with five resolutions. Expectedly it was only the appeals made to various warring factions for unity, reconciliation and peace amongst them. It is too early to comment as it is just reconstituted but the past experiences are to be believed, it is unlikely to produce any tangible result if not shoddier. Such activities of DAN hardly paid any dividend in the past, rather groups like NSCN (K) and Federal had on many occasions questioned about the “equi-closeness” and “Consultative Committee of Peace (CCP).” For the opposition Congress, it had rejected the policy from day one, justifying that such “CCP” should be constituted with the members from the opposition if the idea was to effect tangible peaceful environment in the state. The Congress had been questioning the very rationality of DAN’s “CCP” in and outside the state assembly. Their suggestion wasn’t accepted by the DAN chief minister Neiphiu Rio. Significantly, assembly speaker had to call a Joint Legislators’ Consultative Meeting to discuss about the prevailing situation and find out a common ground where all of them could play. In which, leader of opposition again suggested to reconstitute the DAN’s “CCP” with members from opposition and chief minister as convener while himself (leader of opposition) as co-convener. The chief minister did not take the idea either. That was how the things bogged down. The past records had plainly exposed that due to the differences among the overground politicians, whatever amount put for unification and reconciliation among the various underground factions things did not get moving in right direction. It is pre-requisite to have unity and understanding among the overground politicians first if they are really serious for the solution to the long drawn out Indo-Naga political imbroglio.

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