For the "greater good of democracy", new approaches are required to imagine beyond a limited political process, says FNR
Kohima: The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) on Monday questioned if the Nagas can learn from its own history and constructively get out of the political stalemate.
"Naga history has taught us that when the spirit of the common ground is exploited, compromised, and taken from us, no one really benefits," it said.
An official update from the FNR said that the political unity of the Nagas "finds strength and solidarity on the common ground of its historical and political expressions of Naga rights and aspirations".
It said that the foundation of the common ground includes the Naga Memorandum to the Simon Commission on January 10, 1929, the Declaration of Naga Independence on August 14, 1947 and the Naga Voluntary Plebiscite on May 16, 1951. The "common ground guides and provides the political and moral underpinnings that affirm the Naga peoples’ rightful place with self-confidence," it added.
"Naga history has taught us that when the spirit of the common ground is exploited, compromised, and taken from us, no one really benefits. It consumes us all. Sadly, Naga history is replete with instances when any departure from this common ground has been at our own peril, at times turning Naga against Naga. Its consequences have traumatized the Naga people, as it has deeply wounded and fragmented our society," the statement read.
"Can Nagas learn from our own history and constructively get out of this stalemate?"
As it questioned if Nagas can learn from its history and come out of the stalemate, the FNR said that at "this juncture, the Indian State, because of its security concerns and fragile democracy, remains in an arrested state as it maintains status quo on discussing the issue of Sovereignty with the Nagas".
The forum suggested that for the "greater good of democracy", new approaches are required for the Central government to imagine beyond a limited political process. According to them, India has a responsibility to all its citizens for raising the fundamental question within the political process.
"This highlights the urgency for cultivating an understanding around the common ground since the core issues of Naga rights still need to be addressed" said FNR.
FNR pointed out that after a "protracted process towards a political agreement", the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs have currently engaged themselves in what seems to be "parallel processes with the Government of India". The Naga people are now saying it is time for these two Naga political groups to meet and take forward the unfinished task of reconciliation, it said.
It also added saying “Having reconciled and forgiven” each other in the form of the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR), the leadership of the NNPGs and NSCN (IM) must demonstrate transformative and healing statesmanship by exercising the intent and spirit of the CoR into practice"
NSCN-IM and NNPGs must meet and explore mechanism on common ground
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) urged the leaders of the two groups to meet and explore a workable mechanism of cooperation around the ‘Competencies’ and the ‘Agreed Position’ in consonance with the Naga common ground.
"This is fundamental because the parallel processes have polarised the Naga public, tribal and civil society organizations. The constant public accusatory and divisive statements have empowered vested interests to control and change the narrative with flawed and factual errors to the point people are no longer able to recognize the truth. This is creating an alienating mindset which is extremely insular for citizens to feel free, secure and to participate without fear," it said.
Further, the FNR recommended and urged that the NSCN (IM) and NNPGs be "given the space to reflect independently and search their conscience to do what is right" and also recommend them not to issue new press statements which will help reduce "confusion and reactivity".
"Given this precarious situation, it is imperative for Nagas to take ownership of our narratives, protect our common belonging, and unite to break down barriers by strengthening the bonds and relationships among ourselves. Let us renew our commitment and solidarity to a shared future that will benefit all Nagas, now and in the future," it concluded.