Kahuto Chishi Sumi
Akukau, Hevishe Village, Dimapur, Nagaland
Now that everyone has suddenly woken up to the fact that agreeing to an unknown solution under the Framework Agreement, proposed by the NSCN (IM) and signed with The Government of India, is not a very intelligent thing to do; everyone is clamouring for the other Naga National Political Groups to be taken on board by the NSCN (IM). But I beg to disagree. The IM has its own reasons for keeping the deal secret. It is my belief that if they could have revealed the contents, they would have done so by now, and there is no way that they are going to let the other Political Groups be privy to their closely guarded secret.
In a manner of speaking, the IM is right in their refusal to let the other Groups share in what has been the fruit, good or bad, of their sole effort. If you hunt and kill an animal, cook and prepare it for eating; you would be reluctant to share it with others, though it be either nourishing or poisonous. And that is what all of us are clamouring for the IM to do. The Framework Agreement is the Brainchild of the NSCN (IM) and its amorphous “Collective Leadership” and they have sole and full rights to it.
What the remaining 6 NNPGs should do is come up with proposals of their own. I’m certain all of them have certain views as to how our Nagaland Political Issue has to be settled. Let them discuss things and come up with concrete suggestions. Then they can discuss their proposals with The Government of India and the NSCN (IM). The contents of the Framework Agreement can be compared with the Proposals of the 6 NNPGs and a suitable compromise arrived at.
But even if this were to be achieved, the NSCN (K) would still have to be accommodated. Many of the cadres, across factions, view insurgency as a way of life. Any solution without the concurrence of the NSCN (K) will see large numbers of the cadres in the present factions under the cease-fire shift their loyalties to the NSCN (K). I’m sure that the Indian Intelligence Agencies are aware of the fact that the NSCN (K) has seen increasing public support due to the fact that some of the Factions are lolling in their Designated Camps and taxing the People of Nagaland beyond bearing; while the NSCN (K) is fighting in the jungles of India and Myanmar. They are being viewed by all as, “True Freedom Fighters”.
Let us leave all talk of the “Shared Sovereignty”, “Uniqueness of the Nagas”, a “Separate Flag”, “Our own Passport”, our “Rights and Freedoms” under a “Separate Constitution” and a “Pan Naga Hoho” aside once and for all. These are just empty words; there is no such concept of “sharing Sovereignty”, Sovereignty is indivisible; every human race in the world is unique; a Flag is nothing more than a symbol to rally under; and a Naga Passport will not amount to a hill of beans in the larger scheme of things. Integration being ruled out categorically by The Government of India, a Constitution written by the IM, a Socialist Organisation with roots in Moa Zedong’s Communist Philosophy will not be acceptable to the People of Nagaland. Rights and freedoms are useless unless you have a particular geographical territory to exercise them in. And why should any Naga in India agree to a Pan Naga Hoho? Nagas in Nagaland already have a corrupt Central Indian Government ruling over us and an even more corrupt State Government over us. Why should we agree to a third layer of Government which will be equally, if not more corrupt, than the others? The same will apply, with differing levels of corruption, to the Nagas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
The stakeholders in this Game are Naga People everywhere; in Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Myanmar. No one faction has The Mandate of All Naga People Everywhere. The only Mandate given by Nagas at any point of our History was the Mandate bestowed upon the NNC led by Angami Zapfu Phizo by The Plebiscite of 1951; by those who voted on it. A Mandate can be bestowed and accepted or rejected by the recipient, but it cannot be hijacked. If any Faction, most notably the NNSC (IM), claims to have The Mandate of The Naga People, a similar exercise, on the lines of The Plebiscite of 1951 must be carried out. So keeping in mind the interests of All Nagas Everywhere and the fact that no one faction has The Mandate of The Nagas, though all can claim The Mandate of some section of The Nagas, I put forward these proposals to All Nagas Everywhere.
1. Autonomous or Regional Councils should be formed in the Naga Inhabited Areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
2. Article 371A, 1(a) be extended to all Naga Inhabited Areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This will give them full rights over their Traditional Lands and all Resources therein. It will also give them the freedom to practise their customs and traditions, thereby freeing them from paying Income Taxes of any kind.
3. Clause (iv) should be amended from, “ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly by a resolution so decides;” to, “ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the Nagas unless the Autonomous/Regional Council by a resolution so decides;”
4. Nagaland State should have a Bicameral Legislature based on the United States Congress. A Lower House comprised of Legislators from the present 60 Constituencies and an Upper House comprised of Legislators from The Recognised Tribes of Nagaland. The Legislators of the Upper House to be elected by Universal Adult Franchise from within their Tribes, with each Tribe, no matter how populous or small, having two Representatives each. The Legislators of the Upper House must have the Right/Power of Filibuster so that the Rights of the Minor Tribes may not be easily trampled on by those from the Major Tribes.
5. A fully Independent Judiciary for Nagaland. You can have all the laws in the world, but if they are not enforced by a strong and independent Judiciary, you may as well have no Laws. All appointments of Judges and Magistrates will be vetted by the Legislators, but apart from that, the actual Appointments, Promotions and Postings/Transfers will be totally in the hands of the judicial System.
6. The Bureaucracy too must be protected from political interference. The present Laws are adequate for the job, it is the enforcement that is lacking. But with a strong Judiciary, the Bureaucrats will be protected.
7. The delicate part is coming to an accommodation for the Nagas of Myanmar. It is bad enough that we Nagas have been divided into different states under India; but add another section of our people under another Sovereign nation in the mix and we have a recipe for a serious headache. I believe the best we can do for the present is to have The Governments of India and Myanmar sit down for talks with Representatives of Nagas from both Nations. Modalities can be discussed but, “Free Passage across the International Border for Trans-Border Naga Tribes is a must”. So Naga Tribes whose populations have been divided by the International Boundary Line must be allowed to travel across with reasonable restrictions. Essential Edible Commodities too must be permitted to flow unhampered by Custom Duties. The Governments of India and Myanmar could jointly identify and issue Documentation to these Tribesmen.
I put forth these suggestions to All Nagas Everywhere so that they may provide a starting point to open discussions on what we want and what we aspire to. If God grants us the Wisdom to develop Nagaland to its full potential, there will be a day when All Nagas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will desire Territorial Integration with present day Nagaland; and since nothing is impossible in God’s Eyes, there will even come a day when we join our Brothers across the International Border as a single Nation. But until we prove ourselves worthy of governing ourselves wisely and Justly in the Eyes of God and Man we must make do with what we have to the best of our ability.
May God Bless All Nagas Everywhere