The Deep End

Public grievances raised at different times from various quarters over the violation of ceasefire ground rules by different Naga Underground Groups is a genuine one and needs immediate attention from the concerned factions, civil society, church, state agencies and security forces. It is obvious that the areas in which more than one UG groups operate have come under a spate of disturbances despite ceasefire ground rules providing for specific designated camps. But more often than not such rules have never been observed in letter or spirit for the simple reason that it is an opportune occasion for the factions to expand their territorial base. It has become a prestige issue of who has the largest area under its belt. Against the backdrop, the respective monitoring or supervisory boards have failed completely in doing its assigned task of implementing the ceasefire ground rules. 

The latest appeal made by the Pfutsero public to the Governor to use his authority under Article 355 is itself a serious onus demanded of the Governor by the public, which virtually amounts to calling for the dismissal of the Neiphiu Rio government. While this may be asking of too much from a mere figurehead, the Governor should at the same time use his constitutional mandate by applying his mind into the genuine concerns raised by the public and take the matter up with the State and Central government.  
By giving the impression that incidents of lawlessness—be it in Pfutsero, Athibung, Tizit, Mon, Surohoto—are as a result of the unresolved Naga political problem, it only goes to show that the State government finds itself in a sticky situation from where it can do very little on its own. To be fair, the maintenance of law & order in such as scenario is easier said than done and it would require a more meaningful role of other stakeholders in the civil society to intervene. An internal ceasefire through mediation among the national groups has been talked about for sometime now but no one it seems would want to take that onus upon them as it could ruffle the wrong feathers or disturb the present status quo of power-relations among the array of groups. 

The State government would have to take its own set of initiative so that the security of its citizen is not compromised under any circumstance. The repeated violations of the ceasefire, the absence of a transparent and an impartial ceasefire monitoring mechanism, have all shaken the faith of the people in the success of the current peace process. The continuous record of ceasefire violations by the NSCN factions more often than not end up in internecine violence which in turn creates fear psychosis on the general public. This remains a cause of serious concern. 

While it is true that the present internal disturbances have a political dimension, it also requires that the political management of the situation must be a priority for the State government. For this it has to take along with it all shades of political opinion whether over-ground or under-ground. But this has not been the case. Whether it was the previous Congress regime or the present DAN government, this failure to take a non-partisan approach more than anything else has only deepened the crisis from within.