Kohima: Addressing the 72nd Republic day celebration at the Secretariat complex in Kohima on Tuesday, Nagaland governor RN Ravi “earnestly” urged all who are “still standing between the people and the peace to see the writings on the wall”. The governor said, “The people of Nagaland and Peace can no longer be kept a hostage”.
With the ongoing peace talks for over 24 years, Ravi, who is also the interlocutor for Naga peace talks, conveyed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to restoring an enduring peace in the region with utmost regard to the wishes of the people. “He is anxious to ensure that while India is taking giant leaps to the Moon and Mars, our people of Nagaland are not left behind,” said Ravi.
Saying that the mainstream Naga society has “never accepted violence as a political resource”, Ravi recalled the initial decade of Independence when the Naga leaders “remained committed to the democratic politics” and were united.
“It was only in December 1955 when some radical leaders decided to use guns to achieve their political objective that the Naga society was divided,” he said further adding that the “Naga society suffered fratricidal killings at an unprecedented scale”.
He goes on to say that even in the midst of raging violence the “mainstream Naga Society got together, united the Nagas who were divided between Assam and NEFA and through over four years of socio-political churning and skilful negotiations with the Government of India created Nagaland State with unique status under Article 371-A of the Indian Constitution”.
Creation of Nagaland with unique status under Art 371-A
With the creation of a unique State, he said that the people of Nagaland took “control of their destiny” and normalcy began to return to the land. “Unfortunately at that time, some hostile foreign agencies began fishing in the troubled water. They exploited the Naga insurgency for their own geopolitical interests at the cost of the Naga people. They fundamentally changed the basic character of the Naga political movement to the detriment of Naga identity and interests,” he said.
Ravi added that in the last 50 years, “Nagas have died in fratricidal and factional killings by the armed groups who believed in the power of the barrel of guns”. According to him, the politics by gun has fragmented the Naga society and has pitted neighbours against each other, Khels against Khels and tribes against tribes. “It did not even spare the Church for their honest initiatives to usher peace in this land,” he added.
While there is ample space for resolution of differences through peaceful dialogue in a democracy, he said that there is no space for “politics by gun” and that those who believe in such a politics will always “remain outliers in a democracy”.
Further saying that “the unrealistic, self-destructive and divisive politics” has exhausted the people of the state, the governor added that the primary stakeholders have made their positions clear that the era of the gun must end without further delay and enduring peace be restored, and that all unresolved issues (if any), be pursued through dialogue post-settlement.
He also recalled the consultative meeting on October 15 last year with the tribal and civil societies where it reiterated the popular sentiment that armed groups must come together to facilitate “One-Solution” for the sake of the people which is “appreciable”, which was also reiterated jointly by the chief minister and leader of the opposition on December 18.
For a progressive Nagaland, join the mainstream: Ravi
When India is rapidly progressing, he said that Nagas must make effort and advance with the rest of the country. “I commend those who continue to draw inspirations from the founders of the State to realise their dream of a progressive Nagaland and urge those who have been led astray to join mainstream,” the governor said.
He added that there must be no doubt in “any quarter that Nagaland is and shall remain an integral part of the Republic of India”. He also warned that any scheme to disintegrate this Republic shall face the brunt of this great Nation.
Therefore, on the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day, he urged all those who are still standing between the people and the peace, to see the writings on the wall. “The people of Nagaland and Peace can no longer be kept a hostage. Together, let us prosper for an Atmanirbhar Bharat,” the governor concluded.