GUWAHATI: National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), the major Naga insurgent group, on Tuesday insisted that the Nagas must have a sovereign territory, constitution, and national flag as agreed upon in the Framework Agreement signed with the Centre in 2015.
The outfit reiterated the demand in response to Nagaland Governor and Centre’s interlocutor in Naga peace talks RN Ravi’s statement on Monday that “there is and there shall be only one national flag and constitution in India”.
The NSCN-IM said: “We cannot agree more with RN Ravi when he said India as a nation should have a sovereign territory, one constitution, and one national flag. Indeed in the same breath, Nagaland/Nagalim too must have sovereign territory, one constitution and one national flag within which the two must share sovereign powers and coexist peacefully as two entities as agreed upon in the Framework Agreement”.
The NSCN-IM has stuck to its guns on the twin contentious demands of a separate Naga flag and Naga constitution. The outfit, which has been in peace mode since signing a ceasefire agreement in 1997, had stated recently: “What is there for the Nagas to gain out of a Naga deal if we are to lose our political identity that is identified by flag and constitution?”
Meanwhile, Ravi on Tuesday was effusive in his praise of the leaders of erstwhile Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC) stating that their blood, sweat, and sacrifices had created Nagaland. The NSCN-IM has always been critical of them.
“I pay my heartfelt tribute to the founding fathers of Nagaland, the leaders of NPC and countless Nagas whose blood, sweat and sacrifices created this beautiful state,” Ravi said at a function on the occasion of Nagaland’s statehood day and in the presence of former Chief Minister SC Jamir, the only surviving signatory of 16-Point Agreement which led to Nagaland’s creation as a state in 1963.
The governor remembered the bravery and sacrifices of the Naga leaders who fought through the “darkest period of senseless bloodshed through the peaceful democratic process to protect the rights and identity of the Naga people”.
However, the NSCN-IM was quick to react. It said Ravi’s statement reminded the Nagas of how, under the leadership of AZ Phizo, the war of resistance by the Nagas against “Indian colonialists” was manipulated by Intelligence Bureau officials who had roped in some “treacherous” Naga individuals leading to the formation of the NPC.
“The NPC came out of nowhere and signed the 16-Point Agreement where the Naga solution was hijacked and a state under Indian Constitution was accepted giving a foothold to the Indian government to claim that from thence Nagas were a part of India...
“This was nothing less than a calculated plan of the Indian government and back-stabbing the leadership of AZ Phizo and the Naga National Movement. AZ Phizo and the Naga nationalists and the entire Naga people instantly condemned and rejected NPC and the 16-Point Agreement,” the NSCN-IM said in a statement.