Panic among people of Nagaland as fate of peace talks remains uncertain

With uncertainty looming large over the fate of negotiations between Government of India and NSCN (IM), Nagaland’s people are on the edge, fearing an outbreak of violence or a Kashmir-like situation

Panic among people of Nagaland as fate of peace talks remains uncertain

NH Web Desk

There is widespread panic among the people of Nagaland, including non-Naga residents of the State, who fear the worst in the event of failure of the ongoing talks between the Government of India and NSCN (IM) which are about to conclude.

This has been heightened further due to a total lack of empathy and support on the part of their duly elected representatives in the state government whose silence in the matter is conspicuous, and which itself appears to be clueless about the unfolding situation. The Government of India, evidently, is holding its cards close to the chest, and not sharing information even with the state’s elected government, let alone the people of Nagaland.

Expecting something like a Jammu & Kashmir like shutdown by the Modi Government in Nagaland that crippled that region in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 earlier this year, the citizens of Nagaland are resorting to panic buying of vital commodities for more than a week now, even as the Government of Nagaland is absolutely quiet and has not issued any statement to assure the citizen that there is no reason to panic, reported Nagaland Page.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio himself is reportedly camping in New Delhi for some time now.

A similar peace treaty signed in 1976 with one section of the Naga National Council, the only armed group at the time, had split the Naga armed struggle.

As reported earlier in Nagaland Page, security forces have started conducting frisking in several places across the State and Naga-inhabited areas in neighbouring states.

According to Nagaland Post, the Naga solution seems to be headed for some hiccups as the NSCN(I-M) has adopted a restrained stand under the plea of the Naga flag and constitution. There is now no clarity whether the deadline of three months, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to conclude prolonged negotiations could be delayed.

As for the negotiations, the GoI and the Working Committee of the NNPGs appear to be on the same page while the NSCN (IM) is in a spot as it does not want to negotiate any further. However, the NSCN (IM), which to its credit has been for enthusiastic negotiations, cannot afford to lose out.

The state government has directed all police personnel, deputy commissioners and administrative officers to be present in the areas they’re posted at and report within their jurisdiction till further orders. Nagaland government has prohibited leaves for all police personnel and recalled all staff on leave. These developments have further contributed to the panic in Nagaland, whose citizens are well aware of the situation that unfolded in Jammu & Kashmir.

Then came the earsplitting war planes and unverified hearsay of mass military deployment. The Indian defence establishment has called it all a routine and a lanned drill undertaken by the Indian Army and the IAF, but this has done little to allay a pervasive fear of an imagined military domination.

Imkong Walling writes for The Morung Express: “The 3-month timeframe purportedly desired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the impasse over flag and constitution and the warplanes conveniently concurring have only wafted mistrust and of a GoI cunningly unleashing psychological war over a small opponent. With a raging past of military atrocities, a wary and long victimized Naga public is worried and justified to feel so. In light of the palpable insecurity, it would not be unwise to have an honest relook at the "competencies."

The public has been given only fleeting glimpses by each of the negotiating parties in separate platforms and not jointly. The Naga public once and for all warrant the need for a life away from all the conflict.”

According to Naga Blog, when questioned about the peace prospects, a woman said, “Among us Nagas, there are two groups; many of us, though, we want to see our flags out in the open, because it is our identity and we do not want to hide it anymore.”

But, she added, “what we really want is no more bloodshed.”

To quote a Naga woman, "Wish there was some promising words from someone, could be the CM or a specialist. But letting us be to wonder in the dark is very unnerving."

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