Kohima, Dec 1 : Nagaland Governor and the Central Government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks R.N. Ravi has rejected the demand for a separate flag and constitution for the state as demanded by the NSCN (IM).
On the occasion of the 58th Statehood Day of Nagaland on Tuesday, Ravi said: “The Indian national flag and the Constitution are the pride of the people of India. The government is absolutely clear that there is and there shall be only one national flag and constitution in India. Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies. They are trying to confuse and mislead the people.”
In his Statehood Day message and while addressing a function to unveil a bust of Naga leader Imkongliba Ao, founding President of the Naga Peoples’ Convention, the Governor said that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country is supreme.
“The government has never ever talked, much less negotiated with anyone on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. Any misadventure to disintegrate this great nation shall not be tolerated.”
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM)and the intelligence sources said that while many of the 31 demands of the Nagas have been almost resolved during the talks with the Centre, differences remain over a separate flag and a separate constitution.
Nagalim, a long-pending demand of the NSCN-IM for a separate Naga state, encompasses the Naga-inhabited areas of Myanmar as well as parts of the northeastern states bordering Nagaland.
The NSCN-IM, which has been negotiating with the government to resolve its long pending issues, has demanded the involvement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the talks for faster determination of their demands, insisting that the negotiations be held in a “third country”.
The Nagaland Governor in his Statehood Day message said that with common understanding having been reached on all the issues on the table and conclusion of the talks on October 31, 2019, the people of Nagaland are anxiously waiting for the new dawn.
“However, there are some people who are standing as a roadblock to the aspirations of the people of Nagaland. I urge these people to see the writing on the wall, to come out of their make-believe echo-chamber and listen to the voice of the people and in a true democratic spirit respect their wishes,” the Governor said.
Protracted armed insurgency and an endless peace process have taken a heavy toll on the people of Nagaland. Since 1980, the people have suffered enormously from the guns of people from outside the State, inspired by Maoist ideology and tactics.
The Governor said that the Nagaland state is an abiding testimony to the triumph of the politics of peace over the politics of bloodshed.
“It is a proud saga of the indomitable Naga spirit which rejected the politics of gun and gun powder in favour of politics of democracy and dialogue.”
He said that the Indian Government recognised the uniqueness of the Nagas and sanctified it in Article 371-A of the Indian Constitution.
“Nagaland State was born with adequate special safeguards to the identity and interests of the Naga people.”
In his message, Ravi said that violence could never achieve and shall never achieve anything like this.
“History bears testimony to the fact that armed insurgencies have rarely succeeded in achieving their political objectives and have invariably left a trail of blood, betrayal and bitterness.”
He said in pursuance of their new found political ideology which was antithetical to the inherent ethos, values and customary systems of Naga society, they unleashed a cultural genocide, akin to the Cultural Revolution in our neighbouring country and killed thousands of Nagas including infants and women and tried to exterminate the tribal and intellectual leadership of Nagaland.
The Governor said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to it from day one of his taking charge.
“Under his dynamic and visionary leadership fundamental anomalies and distortions in the ongoing peace process have been corrected by making it truly inclusive.”
The NSCN-IM has held a huge number of rounds of negotiations with the Central government in Delhi and even outside India after signing a ceasefire pact in August 1997.
The Modi government had signed a “framework agreement” with the NSCN-IM in 2015.