The game changer development happened in indian political history yesterday. The 72 years Naga issue has come to final solution. It is a historic day. History will remember 31st October 2019 as a day of peaceful resolution of Naga conflict. Unfortunately, it did not attract much attention from mainstream media. In north east region, people are discussing, debating, demonstrating in the streets expressing anxiety, happiness and what not. Age old issue amicably settling is jubilation to Nagas whereas non-Naga neighbouring States gripped in anxiety about the fate of their boundaries.
Nagas are tribal people spreading over Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and western part of Myanmar bordering our country. Their 14 major tribes along with several other minor tribes are unique in distinct culture by each tribe , customs and language. Though they practiced head hunting in earlier days, their behavioural pattern changed a lot after coming under influence of British and Christian evangelical missionaries. Nagas came under their own State in 1963 after struggling a lot for recognition in initial days. Constitution of India protected their culture and customary laws through 13th amendment to it. No law will be passed by Parliament with respect to Nagas customs, civil and criminal justice as per Naga customs only, and land related matters will be an exclusive domain of state only. Local Self Government set-up was created broadly on the lines of their clan system.
Despite all these measures taken by Government, Nagas are not fully mingled with rest of India. Reasons are many. Initially, Naga National Council adopted divisive, secessionist approach by demanding separate sovereign country. Phizo belonging to Angami tribe became Chairman of the NNC and started anti India activity conspiring with Pakistan and China. The present Bangladesh being eastern part of Pakistan at that time helped him by providing shelter, training to their Army and all physical assistance. Though initially, it created certain trouble to the Government, gradually Government got strong hold over the State and NNC became nuisance value. However, it possesses underground Army and making its presence on and off. Finally, in the year 1975, an amicable settlement was reached with them at Shillong which is popularly known as Shillong Agreement.
Though everyone expected the resolution of Naga conflict, several leaders of erstwhile NNC revolted and formed another organisation by name ' National Socialist Council of Nagaland' in the year 1980. They were originally influenced by Mao philosophy and with Chinese Government support. It started underground activity recruiting cadre for its military and its stated objective is realisation of sovereign country under the name of ' Greater Nagalim' consisting of Nagaland, parts of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and western Myanmar. The leadership of trio , Isak, Muivah and Khaplang led the struggle. Initially, there was good response to them. In the year 1988, Khaplang who is Hema Naga from Myanmar split the organisation and formed his own unit. Though this movement also lost stream like earlier NNC, it still hold Army units creating trouble to Government.China since Deng Zhao Ping changed a lot mainly concentrating on its economy and stopped the philosophy of export of revolution. Finally, in the year 1997, Ceasefire Agreement was reached between Government and NSCN (I-M) faction which is the major underground movement. Since then, negotiations are going on to reach Agreement on their demands.
The year 2015 saw the light in the tunnel. A framework agreement was arrived between Government and I-M faction in the presence of Prime Minister Modi. However, it took almost four years without reaching final agreement. Organisationally, the underground movement undergone lot of changes. Several splits, joinings, new organisations occured. In the year 2017, six separatists organisations came together under the name of ' Naga National Political Group' and started parallel negotiations with Government. Another organisation quitting Khaplang Group also joined in this new outfit.
Three months back, Modi gave ultimatum to interlocutor, RN Ravi, present Nagaland Governor to conclude the negotiations by 31st October 2019. After hectic consultations, final understandings were reached with I-M faction, NNPG and also appraised Naga Civil Society and Church in advance. These consultations and understandings involved many Groups reached wide spectrum of the society. Now, these understandings are to be carried through with non-Naga Chief Ministers of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. After getting their nod, Government will reach final agreement with these Naga organisations. As there is final understanding with these groups , there will not be any difficulty in this process. That is the reason, October 31st is considered historic day in resolving 72 years conflict. Modi deserved appreciation for clinching this historic understanding. His 3 month deadline, appointment of Ravi, the interlocutor as Governor of Nagaland clinched the final understanding. Happy that eastern borders are more secured now than in the past. Kudos to all stakeholders in this mission.