Showing posts with label Nagaland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nagaland. Show all posts
29 April 2021

Nagaland: Partial lockdown from April 30. What is allowed, what's not

People wear face masks and stand in front of a shop in Kohima, (AP)
People wear face masks and stand in front of a shop in Kohima

Nagaland on Tuesday reported 207 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike in the year so far

Kohima: Amid, the surge in Covid cases across the country, Nagaland cabinet Tuesday decided to impose partial lockdown with stricter rules in the state from April 30 to May 14, news agency PTI reported. "Fresh guidelines for the lockdown will be issued on April 29," the advisor for IT, science and technology, Mmhonlumo Kikon said.

Partial lockdown in Nagaland from April 30: What is allowed, what's not

  • During the partial lockdown schools, colleges, educational institutions and hostels will remain closed in the state.
  • Online education will be permitted and encouraged.
  • All cinema halls, swimming pools, gymnasiums, entertainment parks, auditoriums, sports complexes, stadiums and similar places will remain closed throughout the period.
  • Public gatherings will be permitted outside the containment zones, but they will not be more than 30 per cent of the total capacity of the venue or a maximum hundred people, whichever is lower.
  • Places of worship will be permitted to open outside the containment zones, with 30 per cent of the maximum capacity of the venues, he said.
  • Such gatherings should strictly adhere to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, social distancing, and regular washing of hands.

Nagaland on Tuesday reported 207 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike in the year so far, increasing the tally to 13,445, a health official said.

12 April 2021

NSCN (IM) objects to Assam Rifles outpost near its Nagaland camp

The Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN (IM) has objected to an outpost of the paramilitary Assam Rifles near its council headquarters at Hebron near Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur.

The outpost was set up in “blatant violation” of the ceasefire ground rules, the extremist group said in a statement issued on Saturday evening. The outfit had declared ceasefire with Indian armed forces in July 1997.

The publicity wing of the NSCN (IM) said one of the clauses in the ceasefire ground rules was that the Centre would not establish any base or facility of the armed forces on the Dimapur-Hebron road. It asked New Delhi to ensure that the peace agreement was respected by moving the Assam Rifles outpost out of the area.

“The checking of commuters at Doyapur (on the Dimapur-Hebron road) is completely against the ongoing and longest peaceful political negotiation… It has been almost two years since the Assam Rifles personnel began stationing at Doyapur,” the NSCN (IM) said, seeking the withdrawal of the outpost “in the larger interest of the Naga peace process”.

The Ministry of Home Affairs exercises control over the Assam Rifles, Indian’s oldest paramilitary force, but the officers of the force come from the Army.

The peace process between the Centre and NSCN (IM) has been hanging fire for more than two decades now. The talks appear to have been stuck on the issues of a separate flag and constitution for the Naga-inhabited areas.

23 March 2021

Nagaland begins integrated settled farming project

The pilot project has been launched at Boke-Botsa under Kohima district, where eight departments and a public undertaking are converging for the first time to work with the village community

By Alice Yhoshü

The Nagaland government has begun work on an innovative model of cluster agricultural development, Naga Model Integrated Settled Farming (NISF).

The pilot project was launched at Boke-Botsa under Kohima district, where eight departments and a public undertaking – agriculture, sericulture, horticulture, animal husbandry and veterinary science, water resources, fishery and aquatic resources, land resources, soil and water conservation, and the Nagaland beekeeping and honey mission – are converging for the first time to work with the village community.

Covid-19-induced lockdowns in 2020, which highlighted the gap in production and access to food, prompted the state government to look at the agricultural and allied sector in a new light. Chief minister Neiphiu Rio also said in his recent budget speech, “The agricultural and allied sectors are going to be the most important aspect of the state government’s strategy towards achieving a self-sustaining economy”.

The project is based on the concept of settled farming because farming in most of the Naga villages still sees villagers living on hilltops for security, while their fields are located at the foothills. The settled farming concept looks to change this approach, saving the farmers the commuting time with the activities closer home.

According to agriculture production commissioner (APC) Nagaland, Y Kikheto Sema, the NISF pilot project area is slightly over 1,000 acres involving 145 farmers or landowners. Several samples of soil have been sent for health testing for agricultural purposes. Mapping of the area was carried out in November 2020 and farmers’ activities have already commenced in February. Road construction around the project site has also been completed.

The government is also establishing a farm-to-market chain for marketing linkage and storage that will help farmers sell their produce in a bigger market. Sema said many of the Central government schemes were devised as per the conditions of the mainland states, while the topography and system of cultivation in Nagaland is different, making the schemes unsuitable for Naga farmers.

Jhum, or shifting cultivation, though not economically viable and ecologically sustainable, is a major practice in the state. Sema said this practice was ultimately reducing the state’s forest cover and at the same time, making it difficult for the department(s) to connect with the farmers in consecutive cycles. He expressed hope that the NISF model would address these challenges.

In the pilot project, the state government is looking to establish an organic vegetables market, about 200 fisheries, a commercial nursery, seed banks to preserve and promote traditional seeds, compost marketing, farmers training institution, custom hiring and repairing of farming tools and machinery.

The aim is to turn the project into a model farming township, and ultimately a business model.

Also Read | ‘Reckless’: Naga group on governor RN Ravi’s peace talks concluded statement

“If it (the NISF pilot project) is successful, we will implement it in all districts. But its success also depends on all the stakeholders,” Sema stated.

“The main aim of the project is to start an ecosystem of farming. If it is successful, it will not only give an entirely new direction to Nagaland, but to other states in the country as well – to lead the way for the next generation,” says Richard Belho, the project consultant. He admitted that the pilot was being started on a research and experiment basis, but was hopeful that it would take off well and attract the educated younger generation back to the field.

“We never had a proper market structure. The activities introduced by various agri and allied departments often overlap with the farming community’s, thereby resulting in having to shelf the new activities after a few years of trial. With NISF, we are looking at sustainability- first for the farmer, then the village community, and finally the market,” Belho said.

He said the departments will track the activities and document their successes and failures so that the future models can learn from the pilot project, he added.

“If implemented properly, this project will enable farmers to multiply their production, become a contributing factor towards sufficiency and even export beyond the village. The projects are different from our normal practice as, for instance, the fishery ponds are being widened, scientific testing of soil is being done to assess suitability of crops etc.,” says Kechangulie Kense, one of the farmer-landowners at Boke-Botsa. He said he has taken up fishery and horticulture.

“Farming was not an option earlier, but this settled farming project has changed my opinion and I want to seriously get involved in it,” Kense said.

Another farmer and a village elder, Pfheliezhü, said he is upbeat about the project.

The first impact and output from the project is expected within the next three to six months. However, the actual output will be the result yielded in the next three years.

15 March 2021

‘Taxation’ by armed groups forcing businesses out: Nagaland trade body

Almost a year after Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi poked the State government for letting “armed gangs” reign and carry out “gunpoint extortions”, the State’s largest trade body has warned of such groups driving businesses out.

The Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), based in Nagaland’s commercial hub, said “unabated taxation” by the government and “Naga political groups (NPGs)” — a euphemism for armed extremist groups — had made many traders shift base to Assam.

The traders have been forced to exit Nagaland because they have had enough of paying 50-75% of their profit margin to the NPGs, the DCCI said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.

While Assam has gained, the business volume of Nagaland has shrunk by 60-75%, the DCCI said as it advised the State government to wake up to this alarming development and try to regain the market lost.

The BJP is the minor partner in the alliance government headed by Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party.

The trade body said the business scenario in Nagaland has hit its lowest ebb because of being taxed heavily. “If the State government and the NPGs do not take immediate corrective steps, business in Nagaland is heading towards a point of no return,” it warned.

The DCCI gave the example of Manipur-bound businesses that shifted to Silchar in southern Assam over the last few years. These businesses depended on goods and services to and from Manipur via the highway linking Dimapur and Manipur capital Imphal.

These businesses are now focussed on the alternative highway to Imphal, via Jiribam bordering southern Assam. “Consequently, the chain-support business such as hotels, transport and wayside dhabas in Nagaland have been hit hard,” the DCCI said.

The trade body also said the number of monthly train wagons arriving at the Dimapur railway station has come down to a ‘miserable’ 20 from 120 a year ago. The number of trucks entering Nagaland has similarly reduced drastically, it said.

“In this age where consumers are highly aware of their rights, and with the GST regime in place, any GST product being sold above MRP is near impossible and also an offence, and hence the business community in Nagaland sells any products on MRP.”

But while traders in Nagaland get the same profit margin as their counterparts elsewhere in the country, they have to shell out 50-75% of it in ‘taxes’ to the NPGs on average, the DCCI said.

11 March 2021

Is Nagaland Reviving Prickly Cages for Offenders

  By Rahul Karmakar

Some villages in Nagaland are trying to revive a traditional form of punishment that seeks to check crime with an itch in time.

Social offenders or violators of Naga customary laws have over the ages dreaded a cramped, triangular cage made from the logs of an indigenous tree that irritates the skin.

The dread is more of humiliation or loss of face within the community or clan than of spending at least a day scratching furiously without any space to move.

Such itchy cages are referred to as khujli ghar in Nagamese — a pidgin lingua franca — but each Naga community has its own name. The Aos, one of the major tribes of Nagaland, call it Shi-ki that means flesh-house.

“A few villages where traditional practices are very strong still prescribe this form of punishment, a deterrent for offenders of various shades, including robbers and drug addicts. Many villages are trying to revive it,” Sanen Pongen, the chairman of Chuchuyimlang village council in Mokokchung district told The Hindu.

The cage is usually placed at a central spot in the village, usually in front of the morung or bachelor’s dormitory, for the inmate to be in full public view.

“The cage is made of the logs of Masang-fung, a local tree that people avoid because of the irritation it causes. It does not affect the palm but people who make the cages have to be careful,” Mr. Pongen said.

A prickly cage usually accommodates one offender —invariably a male — who barely has space to sit for 24 hours or more than a week, depending on the gravity of the offence. He can be fed by relatives periodically and let out to answer nature’s call during the punishment term.

“Some local modifications aside, customary laws of all the Naga tribes are similar. The khujli ghar too used to be common until lock-ups came up in police stations to house the offenders and some forms of punishment began clashing with those prescribed by Constitutional laws,” said Hesheto Chishi, a customary law and Naga folklore researcher based in Dimapur town.

As the founder of Indigenous Cultural Society, the only such in the northeast affiliated to the UNESCO, he has been working on codifying the customary laws and has co-authored Oral Narrative, a book on Sumi Naga laws published by the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

“It is not proper to view the itchy cages from the prism of modern laws. They have served a purpose for ages and have often proved to reform offenders, as identity and family or clan reputation is very important to a Naga,” Mr. Chishi, also a community chieftain, said.

Article 371(A) of the Constitution guarantees the preservation of the Naga customary laws. The State also funds the customary courts in villages and towns where cases — mostly dealing with land litigation, money-lending and marital disputes — have a high rate of prompt disposal.

04 March 2021

Nagaland Air Cargo Services Launched

 

Tweeted by @Neiphiu_Rio

Nagaland yesterday launched its first air cargo services from Dimapur airport. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio officially flagged off the service, a joint initiative of Department of Horticulture, Nagaland and Airport Authority of India with Air India and Indigo as airline partners.
 
Chief Minister Rio said the introduction of air cargo service is a long felt need for the state as many of the products from the state go wasted. Regional Executive Director, Airport Authority of India, North East region, M. Suresh said the AAI is planning to construct a new terminal building including cargo service terminal at Dimapur with all modern facilities.
21 January 2021

New ‘frontier district’ Noklak inaugurated in Nagaland

 Noklak is located along the international boundary with Myanmar and connects India with other east and south east Asian countries

By Alice Yhoshü

JAN 21, 2021: Nagaland’s political map underwent a major change on Wednesday after chief minister Neiphiu Rio inaugurated Noklak as the state’s 12th district at an official event held at the public ground, Noklak headquarters. The new district was carved out of Tuensang district.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Rio, while conveying his best wishes to the people of Noklak, encouraged them to uphold a competitive spirit and to co-operate with the government for all-round development.

Noklak is located along the international boundary with Myanmar and connects India with other east and south east Asian countries. The chief minister tagged the new district as the “frontier district” and asked the people of Noklak to safeguard and to protect the region.

Meanwhile, vice-president of India M Venkaiah Naidu released a video on Noklak via video conference and extended his best wishes to the new district.

Nagaland’s offbeat experiences


A divine destination

A divine destination

Nagaland is one of India’s most charming states, located in the northeastern part of the country. The state is most reputed for its Hornbill Festival that is celebrated each year, and tourists visit from all over the country. However, the state also has some unique experiences, tastes, and places that are really the most rewarding for a traveller. If you ever want to go offbeat in the northeast of India, head to Nagaland.

​Land of the Headhunters

​Land of the Headhunters

The image of a tattooed headhunter is a world apart from anything we have ever known. Nagaland is home to numerous old tribes, and the Konyak Naga tribe is one such fascinating tribe. The distinct tattoos on the faces of the members of this tribe are earned after they take the enemy's heads. Today, the headhunters certainly do not go on a hunt, but this extraordinary tradition is a gem of Indian culture.

​Natural paradise

​Natural paradise

Nagaland is still a very pristine land, thanks to the state and its people who have kept its best interests at heart. While commercialisation has entered the state, Nagaland is still inherently natural. So the state is full of nature’s bounty, at places such as the Dzukou Valley, or the Shilloi Lake, you will find yourself coming in touch with nature.

​Unique cuisine

​Unique cuisine

Naga cuisine has spread across the country today, earning quite a good reputation. Across New Delhi, there are numerous Naga restaurants serving authentic delicacies. The food of Nagaland includes some unique things such as axone, or fermented soya bean, bamboo shoots, dry fish among others. Pork meat is one of the main foods of the state, which is cooked in various ways. But if you get the chance, you must try the smoked pork of Nagaland.

​Rural tourism

​Rural tourism

Experience the best of rural tourism in Nagaland, especially in a place such as Tuophema village. The place has been developed for tourism. Ethnic homes, museums, and Naga delicacies await you here. You can get a detailed understanding of the Naga culture, and soak in the glories of rural life. You can also attend the Angai Sekrenyi Festival here, which is celebrated each year in the month of February.



Cape Clean - India's Top Facade and Window Cleaning
13 January 2021

Hundreds of villagers use ropes to pull truck out of gorge in Nagaland, video goes viral

Videos being widely shared across social media sites show the villagers using ropes, bamboos and vines to pull out the truck.

 nagaland truck rescue, villagers pull out truck, nagaland villagers truck rescue, nagaland news, north east news, viral videos, good news, indian express

People on social media were moved by the efforts of the villagers.

In a unique rescue operation, hundreds of villagers in Nagaland came together to pull out a truck of a gorge that was nearly 70-feet deep. A video of the unique feat is now being widely shared online.

According to local reports, the truck carrying ginger was headed to Dimapur when it suddenly lost control and fell into the gorge. But villagers of the Kutsapo village in Phek district promptly responded to the incident and managed to pull the truck back onto the road.

Videos being widely shared across social media sites show the villagers using ropes, bamboos and vines to pull out the truck. They even sang in unison to encourage one another as they worked.

Nagaland state legislator and BJP national spokesperson Mmhonlumo Kikon took to Twitter to share the video hailing “the spirit of unity” that made the operation successful. The video has since been viewed over a million times.

Another video shared by Abu Mehta, adviser to the Nagaland CM and Secretary General Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), shows the operation from a different angle. Commenting about the rich cultural heritage of Naga society, Mehta added: “This video from interior #Nagaland exemplifies & showcases the strong social bonds that is so deep rooted in #Naga society.”

Speaking with EastMojo, Kutsapo village council chairman Zashevezo Rhakho said that men from the village who were “fit and not sick” were called upon to help and “about a hundred of men positively turned up for the rescue operation”. He added that it concluded quicker than expected.

The chairman explained that assistance from the villagers was needed since the remote village had no heavy machinery.

“The truck fell few metres down the road at a turning point. We tied ropes to the truck and build steps with bamboo to prevent the truck from skidding down when we pull it. We cleared the areas where the tyres will roll-up. That is how we managed to easily pull it off,” he told the outlet.

The truck had eight passengers including the driver, but no one was severely injured, the report added.

Traditionally, stone pulling rituals to commemorate achievements are pretty common in some tribes of the state. Many commenting on social media drew parallels between the ritual and the technique used to pull up the truck. However, many also criticised the poor condition of the roads that caused such accidents.

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27 November 2020

Villagers Dig Out Diamond-like Stones in Nagaland

By BHADRA GOGOI

 DIMAPUR, Nov 26 - An area at Wanching village in Mon district of Nagaland bordering Myanmar may have deposits of diamond, throwing up “glittering” prospects.

 A video showing hundreds of villagers digging a small hill in the village to unearth “diamond” went viral today. The villagers reportedly dug out diamond-like stones from the hill.

According to sources in Mon, the villagers are camping in the area and trying to dig out the precious metal. However, the quantity and quality of the stones found in the area could not be confirmed immediately.

“Reports apparently of #Diamond found in #Wanching village #Mon district #Nagaland,” Director General (Prisons and Jails) of Nagaland Police Rupin Sharma, who was also the State DGP, tweeted today.

Meanwhile, Mon Deputy Commissioner Thavaseelan K told this correspondent over phone that some stones have been found in the village area. He said it was still not known whether these stones are diamond or any other metal.

He added that the Nagaland Geology and Mining Department is sending a team to study the stones. “It can be confirmed whether these stones are diamond or any other crystal metal only after the team finds out what exactly they are,” the DC said. According to an Indo-German study published in the journal, Current Science, the “ophiolite” rocks of Nagaland – that is a part of the Indo-Myanmar ranges – may potentially hold “microdiamonds” – diamonds of small size, less than one millimetre.

Indications of occurrence of “microdiamonds” have come from the presence of a manganese-bearing mineral called “manganilmenite” in the ophiolite rocks in the Pokphur area of Nagaland, authors of the study – Bibhuranjan Nayak of the CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology in Bhubaneswar, and Franz Michael Meyer of the Aachen University in Germany – said.

07 October 2020

India finalises draft of Naga peace pact

By R Dutta Choudhury



Oct 7
- The Government of India has finalised the draft of the agreement to be signed with militant groups and civil society organisations of Nagaland, but the date for signing it is yet to be finalised. The government has also made it clear that it is up to the leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) to decide whether they would sign the agreement or not.

 Highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that there would be no more talks with any group of Nagaland and the draft of the agreement is ready.

“The date for signing of the agreement is likely to be decided shortly. The talk process is over and there may be some delay in signing of the agreement because of the ensuing Bihar elections. However, the Centre is keen on signing the agreement as soon as possible,” the sources added.

The sources pointed out that the agreement would be the first of its kind as efforts were made to include all stakeholders in the process. The government had earlier signed a number of agreements with militant groups in different parts of the country. But this time, in addition to the militants, civil society groups including the Naga Gaonbura Federation and the Hohos of all the 14 tribes of Nagaland would sign the agreement to make it inclusive.

The sources revealed that the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), an umbrella organisation of seven militant groups of Nagaland and civil society groups have already approved the draft agreement. “The decisions taken in the meetings have been incorporated in the agreement, which include creation of two autonomous councils, one each on Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh,” the sources added.

On reports that the NSCN (I-M) is still not ready to sign the agreement with the government if their demands for a separate flag and constitution are not accepted, the sources said that it is up to the leaders of the outfit to decide whether they would sign the agreement or not.

But the government has made it clear that it would not be possible to accept the demands for a separate flag and constitution.

Leaders of the NSCN (I-M) who are in New Delhi had several rounds of talks with senior officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The IB officials also tried to persuade the leaders of the outfit to give up the demand for a separate flag and constitution. But the leaders maintained a rigid stand and the IB officials have stopped talking to them.

On surrender of weapons, the sources said that in any such surrender, the militants normally do not hand over all their weapons. The government will have to take administrative measures to recover weapons after signing of the accord, the sources added.

There is also a possibility of fresh elections in Nagaland after signing of the accord. It is a normal practice to go for fresh elections in any state after signing of such peace accords as those who sign the accord should be given an opportunity to join the political system, the sources added.


Source: Assam Tribune

23 September 2015

Nagaland CM Opposes Centre’s Move to Auction Oil Blocks

Kohima, Sep 23 : Nagaland state Chief Minister, TR Zeliang on Monday reiterated his opposition to the auctioning of oil blocks in Nagaland by the Government of India. A press statement from the CMO said that the centre’s action on this would have an adverse effect on the Naga peace process and requested the Government of India to reconsider its decision to auction oil blocks which are located in Nagaland.

Recent reports had cited the Government of India’s decision to put up for competitive bidding the 69 marginal oil fields which have been held by ONGC and OIL, but which have not been exploited.

In a letter addressed to the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, and delivered to him by the Principal Resident Commissioner this afternoon, Zeliang said: “It appears from these reports that there are a few Oil Blocks located in Nagaland which are included in this list of 69 oil fields to be opened for competitive bidding.”

Informing the Union Minister that Nagaland state has framed the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulations 2012 and the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules 2012 in accordance with Article 371-A(1) (a) of the Constitution of India, the CM informed that under these Rules and Regulations, the Government of Nagaland has already invited Expressions Of Interest from interested oil companies, and is in the process of allocating the oil blocks in Nagaland. In view of this, the CM said that the opening up oil fields located within Nagaland to competitive bidding by the Government of India is “not appropriate.”
He also said that such a decision by the Government of India at this juncture would have an “adverse impact on the on-going peace negotiations to resolve the Naga political issue, which is in an advanced stage now.”

The Nagaland state CM further stated that a clear definition of the subject matter relating to ownership of land and its resources in Nagaland as mentioned in Article 371 A of the Constitution of India is “one of the key issues to be resolved in the Naga political dialogues.” Therefore, it requested the Union Minister to consider the matter and “exclude the oil blocks in Nagaland from the purview of the proposed competitive bidding.”

The Chief Minister along with Parliamentary Secretary for Geology and Mining Dr Imtiwapang Aier had camped in New Delhi for a week seeking an appointment with the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas. However, the CMO informed that they had to return to Nagaland last Saturday since the Union Minister was said to be busy with elections in Bihar.
28 August 2015

Naga Hoho Firm On Integration Demand

Kohima, Aug 28 : The Naga Hoho has stood firm on its demand for integration of all Naga inhabited areas."We have told the Centre's interlocutor, RN Ravi, that integration is non-negotiable.

We won't just accept social or cultural integration," said Naga Hoho president P Chuba Ozukum.On Wednesday, a Naga Hoho team met RN Ravi, Centre's interlocutor to the Naga peace talks, at a hotel upon the latter's arrival at Kohima on a three-day visit. He was here to hold consultations with Naga NGOs and state legislators.

The Naga Hoho president maintained that even the Nagaland assembly had passed the resolution on integration five times.Ravi has assured the Hoho team that Centre will not rest with a 'piecemeal solution' but will work towards bringing in a 'comprehensive solution' to the Indo-Naga political issue.It may be mentioned here that on August 3 a framework agreement was signed between NSCN(IM) and the Centre.Ozukum said Ravi had narrated to the Hoho members the salient features of the framework, which had been kept undisclosed to the public. Ravi also told the team that the Centre would not make the same mistake as it did in the past. The interlocutor is learnt to have told the Naga group that the final agreement will address the interests of all groups concerned.

Naga Students' Federation (NSF) president Subenthung Kithan said on Wednesday, meeting with Ravi was encouraging, positive and serious on the Naga issue. He said Ravi had assured the team of working sincerely to usher in solution at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Ravi called on Nagaland governor PB Acharya at Raj Bhavan, Kohima, late on Wednesday. A late night release from Raj Bhavan said Acharya had told Ravi that the state had requested the Centre to hold talks with other Naga political groups with whom the Centre had entered into the peace deal.

Acharya maintained that it was necessary to incorporate the view of the other groups in the framework agreement. He said talks should be inclusive involving all groups. He had spoken to home minister Rajnath Singh even before the peace pact was signed with the NSCN (IM), he added and expressed satisfaction that both the Union home minister and interlocutor had been meeting all groups, including civil societies, NGOs, mothers' association and activists.
17 August 2015

Naga Peace Accord: Vested interests are spreading false propaganda

Naga peace accord Vested interests are spreading false propagandaThe negotiation was piloted by the Prime Minister’s Office and the main interlocutor was the former Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee, R.N. Ravi.

Some crucial talks doing the round in the last few days after the signing of the agreement are about Nagas having a separate flag, separate currency and safeguarding their Naga customary system and land and its resources.

The Accord has brought in sharp criticism from the state governments. The reality is, while details of the accord are yet to be disclosed, it is unlikely to deviate substantially from the underlying principles established under previous regimes, and would essentially reflect a continuity of efforts. It is likely that the deal will pave the way to an election where the NSCN-IM or a successor political party will be facilitated to secure power through polls.

“Wherever Nagas are located they will ask their friends to give them a running commentary of the speech”. “And we decided to call it as framework agreement”. Among these are the circumstances under which it is said to have been signed. Some of these points have already been touched by Zeliang also.

The NSCN-IM leader said the Naga people shall be the master of their own fate and shape their destiny due to their unique history.

I genuinely believe such a decision should be taken after a thorough deliberation on the present development through a “Special Session of Nagaland Legislative Assembly”, so that it will be politically valid and logical. However, he argued “We want integration and want all arbitrary boundaries removed”.

There is expectation from the speech about the territorial sovereignty of the Naga people. Similar statementsreflecting skepticism or hostility have come from a number of political formations. One side they have to work out as to how they can take on board other Naga groups, on the other they have to see that Nagaland and its neighboring States’ interests are protected. Soon after this agreement, breaking news of this event came in all the TV Channels from Delhi and all the online editions of the National Papers. In 2001, Manipur was rocked by violent protests when the centre had unilaterally extended its ceasefire with NSCN IM to areas outside Nagaland.

“The abrogation of ceasefire by NSCN (K) has led to the killing of several personnel of the security forces followed by the death and injury to some civilians in Phek district”.

“Lets work together in the interest of the nation, ” Muivah appealed reaching out to other Naga underground factions.

Further, the possibilities of a split within IM can not be ruled out.

He reminisced that Shillong Accord of 1975 was the worst thing that had happened to the Nagas, as a result of which Nagas began to lose ground it said. Now is the time for the Nagas to grab the opportunity with both hands.

NSCN-IM general secretary T. Muivah declared on Friday that his group has not given up the demand for “sovereignty” for Nagas and integration of all Naga-inhabited areas. This tempered optimism is the only rational approach to perhaps the most complex and intractable of internal conflicts in India. This may, however, mean that Khaplang will gain in influence. The NSCN-Reformation group, while welcoming the Centre’s accord with NSCN-IM with “high hopes” cautioned against to the “vast experience of failed accords and agreements in the past”.
14 August 2015

Muivah reaches out to wary neighbours ahead of Naga I-day

NSCN(IM) general Secretary Muivah arrived at Dimapur on his first ever visit after signing the framework agreement with the Centre on August 3. CAISII MAO Dimapur, Aug 14 : National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, who signed the August 3 Naga peace accord with the centre, arrived here on Wednesday ahead of the Naga Independence Day to be observed on Friday.

This visit of Muivah, who is the Ato Kilonser (prime minister) of the Government of People’s Republic of Nagaland (GPRN), the parallel regime of the NSCN(IM), has generated much interest in the state capital for people are keen to hear what he says on the NSCN(IM)’s core demand of Greater Nagalim and the pact in general in his address to Nagas on Friday.

The pact has created much uncertainty in the concerned areas of the northwest after none of the parties decided to divulge the details so far. Muivah, however, has been thumping his chest over the fact that the agreement looks at the concept of ‘shared sovereignty’ where both the Nagas and GoI are ‘equal’ entities.

Senior NSCN(IM) leaders said that Muivah would give an outline of the agreement at an event at Camp Hebron, the outfit’s headquarters located about 35 kilometres from here, on Friday.

Muivah, however, has already started addressing his own people. After reaching Dimapur where he was given a ‘low-key’ public reception, the leader made an effort to reach out, not only to the people of Nagaland but the rest of the northeast, in a brief speech.

“That is going to be the new policy of our leadership. This deal is outcome of 18 years of negotiations, we understand and so does New Delhi that it is important to address to the concerns of those aggrieved and concerned,” said a senior secretary in the GPRN cabinet.
13 August 2015

Peace accord: Muivah seeks peace with Nagaland’s Neighbours

By Rahul Karmakar
Guwahati, Aug 13 : Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM), has asked the Nagas to “understand the problems of India” and respect the “rights of neighbouring states” while awaiting details of the Naga peace accord.

His appeal came during a 40-minute reception – subdued by Nagaland standards – outside the airport in Dimapur, the state’s commercial hub, on Wednesday afternoon. This was his first visit to Nagaland after the signing of the framework agreement earlier this month.

“What we signed was a framework agreement that paves the way for the final accord. All Naga groups and stakeholders would be consulted before the final deal is done,” Muivah said.

He insisted solutions to the six-decade-old Naga political crisis would be based on shared sovereignty, but indicated the NSCN-IM was keen on avoiding confrontation with Nagaland’s neighbours without naming Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur.

“Nagas will have their rights, but we should also respect the rights of the neighbouring states,” Muivah said, adding the Nagas should also understand New Delhi’s compulsions in arriving at a solution acceptable to all.

The governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur had welcomed the announcement of the framework agreement with the NSCN-IM. But they are wary of the contents in view of the NSCN-IM agenda of integration of Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative unit.

These areas of Greater Nagalim (Nagaland), as the outfit envisages, include four hill districts of Manipur, three of Arunachal Pradesh and large swathes of Assam bordering Manipur.
10 August 2015

RTI Plea Seeks Details of Naga Pact From 'Clueless' MHA

RTI plea seeks details of Naga pact from 'clueless' MHABy Bharti Jain

Such requests can always be turned down as the RTI Act exempts the govt from making disclosures that can impinge upon national security.

New Delhi, Aug 10 : As the Congress and chief ministers of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh question the 'shroud of secrecy' over the Centre-NSCN (IM) accord signed last Monday, an RTI application has been moved from Assam asking the Union home ministry for details of the "historic" agreement.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Bibhuti Bhushan Borthakur on Thursday sent a letter to the home secretary seeking details of the agreement signed between interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi and NSCN (IM) general secretary T Muivah. The letter sought to know why the signed agreement was not made public so far.

Though sources indicated that such requests can always be turned down as the Right to Information Act exempts the government from making disclosures that can impinge upon national security, the home ministry may have to perforce reject this as it knows little about the terms of the "framework agreement" signed on Monday.

Though Ravi did brief home minister Rajnath Singh and home secretary LC Goyal on the Naga accord on Thursday, explaining that it was only a "framework" to proceed with further negotiations on the terms of a final 'accord', this has done little to dispel confusion within the home ministry brass on the "agreed way forward".

In fact, its limited knowledge of contents of the Naga pact forced the home ministry to write to the interlocutor on Friday, seeking details of the accord and its impact on the ceasefire ground rules in force in Nagaland. This was after the Indian Army approached the home ministry for clarifications.

As the home ministry deals with requests from the Army and even the affected states on details of the Naga accord, it would obviously like to know whether there is any change in the government's or NSCN (IM)'s stand on some of the latter's contentious demands.

In 2011, negotiations had come unstuck primarily over two controversial issues: the NSCN (IM) demand that postings of officers within the Naga-inhabited autonomous areas be decided by the state governor and another seeking an integrated body to decide on issues like culture and language of the Naga tribes living in other states.

Both these demands ran into opposition from states having Naga-inhabited areas, like Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh was livid at the thought of ceding his government's right on postings and transfers, calling this a ploy to "create a state within a state". The states also resisted the demand for an integrated body for Naga tribes, arguing that it would open a Pandora's box with other non-Naga tribes also seeking a similar arrangement.

Though the NSCN (IM) has dropped its demand for sovereignty and even 'Nagalim' (Greater Nagaland) comprising Naga-inhabited areas of states other than Nagaland, the home ministry would be curious to know if the latest 'accord' signed by Ravi and Muivah raises the aforesaid contentious demands or has agreed to set them aside. In case of the former, it also remains to be seen if Manipur and other states will show the magnanimity to accommodate the very demands that held up a settlement after an understanding was reached in 2011 between then interlocutor R S Pande and NSCN (IM).
04 August 2015

India, Naga Rebels Ink Peace Deal To End Longest Insurgency

 

PM Narendra Modi with leaders of NSCN (IM) at the signing of peace accord at 7,RCR on Monday. (Photo credit: You Tube screen grab)

New Delhi, Aug 4 : The government on Monday evening signed a historic accord with a leading Naga group, NSCN (I-M), promising an end to India’s longest running insurgency that caps almost two decades of peace talks.

With National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) leader Thuingaleng Muivah by his side at his 7, RCR residence, Modi praised the Naga leader and Isak Chishi Swu, who together founded the group, for their wisdom, courage and efforts that led to the pact.

“It is a lesson and an inspiration in our troubled world,” Modi said after the agreement was signed by the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks RN Ravi and the 79-year-old Muivah.

Swu, who was unwell and was not present at the ceremony, too, had signed the deal. His son Pasheto, however, was present at the ceremony.
It was not immediately clear how the agreement addresses NSCN (I-M) demand for the integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast across Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam -- the biggest stumbling block in the protracted negotiations.

The details of the pact and the execution plan would be made public shortly, a government statement later said.

The agreement, said sources, had worked out a mechanism to guarantee Naga pride, their unique history and their ethos.

The signing of the pact is the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations, with first breakthrough in 1997 when leaders of the NSCN (I-M), then the most lethal insurgent group, agreed to a ceasefire.

“The Naga political issue had lingered for six decades, taking a huge toll on generations of our people,” Modi said about the insurgency that has cost over 3,200 lives.

Muivah was equally effusive in his praise of Modi. “Under Modi, we have come close to understanding each other and have worked out a new relation with the government,” the Naga leader said.

The negotiations received an impetus after Modi assumed power in 2014 when he pushed for a lasting solution and outlined the broad parameters for the pact.

The PM set the tone for the accord, which had been kept under the wraps, when at 6.15pm he tweeted about an “important and landmark event” minutes later at RCR.


Modi described the accord as “historic”. “Today, we mark not merely the end of a problem, but the beginning of a new future,” he said.

The government, however, still has to contend with another major Naga faction led by SS Khaplang that broke the ceasefire agreement earlier this year and was responsible for the Manipur attack in June that killed 18 soldiers.

National security adviser Ajit Doval and Ravi are believed to have been working overtime in the last few months to reach the accord.

A credible resolution is expected to provide a framework that will support stronger ties among Nagas across the region without substantially changing the jurisdictional and administrative authority of neighbouring states.

Besides Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, many top government functionaries attended the ceremony, which was also witnessed by NSCN (I-M) leadership.
27 July 2015

Not So Disturbed: Nagaland


title=By Oken Jeet Sandham

Kohima, Jul 27 : Three generations in the North-east have grown under the shadow of the Disturbed Area Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Once any area is declared “disturbed” as per Section 3 of the AF(SP) Act, the Army is empowered to step in and any commissioned/non-commissioned/warrant officer or any other person of the equivalent rank can arrest, without warrant, any person who has committed a cognisable offence or against whom reasonable suspicion exists that he/she has committed such an offence and if he is of the opinion that it is necessary to use force for maintenance of public order and can fire upon or otherwise use force, even causing death.

The troops can enter and search without warrants any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or to recover any person believed to be wrongfully restrained and confined or any property reasonably suspected of being stolen or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises, and may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary. The Act simply gives carte blanche to the troops in the name of assisting the civil administration. The Act must go and should no more be used in this modern and civilised era.

The Act was enacted on 11 September, 1958 and Nagaland became the first laboratory for the Indian Army to experiment. Only after decades, educated people realised the harmful consequences of the law. Nagaland has been enjoying some semblance of peace after the July 1997 ceasefire accord with the NSCN(IM). But the state is tense again with the NSCN(K) mounting attacks on security forces after unilaterally abrogating its 14-year truce with Delhi in March this year. Civil societies, the state government and many stakeholders have asked the Centre and NSCN(K) leaders to resume the truce.

While reimposing the Disturbed Areas Act in Nagaland, the Centre claimed, in a gazette notification, that the whole of Nagaland was in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power was necessary. It will remain in force for a year, beginning 30 June 2015. Chief minister TR Zeliang and several civil societies in Nagaland have expressed displeasure and anguish over the Centre’s decision and want its immediate revocation.

For nearly 14 years when the NSCN(K) was observing a truce with the Centre, Nagaland enjoyed peace. Even leaders of various Naga underground factions developed good rapport among themselves through the efforts of the Naga Forum for Reconciliation that came into being in 2008.

After Neiphiu Rio became chief minister of Nagaland in 2003, his government had constantly opposed Delhi’s attempts to reimpose the “Disturbed Area” tag since the situation was nowhere as serious as in the 1980s or early 1990s.

It is unfortunate that before reimposing the Act New Delhi did not think it necessary to take Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju into confidence. He comes from Arunachal Pradesh. It now appears that the Distubed Area Act will continue to remain in force in Nagaland even if the Naga political issue is resolved. It is time the Centre realised how anti-democratic the Act is against fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
16 June 2015

The Tortuous Road to Naga Peace

Newly recruited young Naga boys with their automatic weapons during the 33rd Republic Day celebration of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) in Nagaland on March 21, 2012. — File Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

Newly recruited young Naga boys with their automatic weapons during the 33rd Republic Day celebration of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) in Nagaland on March 21, 2012. — File Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

The publicity that surrounds the success of India’s ‘cross-border’ strike against rebels in Myanmar cannot hide the fact that the real failure of Indian intelligence was not in predicting the possible spot of the ambush but in anticipating the emergence of a rebel coalition in the jungles of Myanmar

After the June 4 ambush in Manipur that left at least 20 soldiers of the Indian Army’s 6 Dogra Regiment dead when suspected militants ambushed their convoy in Chandel district bordering Myanmar in Manipur, and the retaliatory transborder raid into Myanmar by Indian para-commandos (21 Para-Regiment — Special Forces), on June 9, the attention is back on the long, tortuous and uncertain Naga peace process.
Since the leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah) (NSCN), Thuingaleng Muivah and Issac Chisi Swu, signed the ceasefire with the H.D. Deve Gowda government in 1997 and started negotiations, the peace talks have gone on and on, with round after round of inconclusive negotiations. There were suggestions recently that a final solution might be in sight and that may have provoked those left out of the process into striking back. But the secrecy shrouding the Naga peace process only complicates it further and makes it difficult to speculate on when there will be an end to India’s longest running ethnic insurrection.
Dialogue and division
The sheer duration of these negotiations does point to the complexities involved in trying to settle the Naga insurgency, but many critics of the Indian decision-making process have also suggested that New Delhi is trying to wear down the rebel leaders in a battle of attrition since the limited tactical advantages of keeping the Naga rebels off the battlefield have been achieved by the ceasefire. Some have also said that the ceasefire and the political dialogue have helped India further divide the Naga rebels, pointing to the talks with the Muivah faction and the refusal to talk with the Khaplang faction despite a ceasefire with his group. That, many would say, is what finally provoked Khaplang, a warlord, to renege on the ceasefire and form the rebel coalition, the United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFWSEA), with motley rebel factions like the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) (Independent), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) (Songjibit) and the KLA (Jibon).
Like Khaplang’s faction, these other groups are splinters of the original movements. Their factional rivals are already talking to India and New Delhi treats them as principals. These rebel chieftains who are holed up in the remote jungles of Myanmar’s Sagaing division are treated as marginals. Khaplang was under pressure for the last few years from New Delhi for providing shelter to these other Northeast Indian rebel groups. Home Ministry mandarins insist that this was a breach of trust on the part of Khaplang. But in the 1990s, former Home Minister L.K. Advani had clearly said that Khaplang is a Myanmarese national and that India cannot negotiate with him. While that is a valid position if one were to go by legalese, how can one expect Khaplang to just maintain a ceasefire when he knows that New Delhi will never call him for talks, let alone treat him as an equal to Muivah and Issac? On the other hand, the Myanmarese Naga rebel leader has seen his Indian Naga comrades break away to form splinter groups with whom India has promptly signed or negotiated a ceasefire. First it was Khole Konyak and Khitovi Zhimomi; now it is Wangting and Thikhak. The first faction calls itself NSCN (K-K), while the second calls itself NSCN (Reformation). These factions may now be offered to accept a deal India may have finalised with the Muivah-Issac group in an attempt to make it look like a settlement with all NSCN factions who represent “Indian Nagas”.
Sending out a message

Khaplang on the warpath again is partly dictated by his urge to end his isolation in the jungles of Myanmar, if only to remind New Delhi that he cannot be ignored — a point he seeks to make by getting together all those in the Northeast who still intend to fight India. His one-time comrades, Wangting and Thikhak, blame Paresh Barua, an activist with ULFA, for “manipulating” Khaplang into reneging on the ceasefire. Barua has steadfastly remained on a separatist course even after the ULFA was decimated in Bangladesh after a crackdown by the Sheikh Hasina government and by periodic desertions. So, though the ULFA of today is not much of a fighting force, its leader emerges as the glue for a rebel coalition in Myanmar’s jungles because of his track record of leading an armed struggle through unending adversity. The other factions which have joined up with Khaplang in UNLFWSEA are also motley groups capable of occasional hits here and there. But it is the “working relations” of UNLFWSEA with the powerful Meitei rebel groups like the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) (who have not joined Khaplang’s coalition) that makes the anti-India platform in Myanmar’s jungles such a worrying proposition for New Delhi. Khaplang’s faction admitted in the post-June 4 ambush press release that the other two Meitei groups, KYKL and KCP, had joined his fighters to pull off the ambush in Chandel.
Missing the big picture

So, the real failure of Indian intelligence was not in predicting the possible spot of the ambush but in anticipating the emergence of a rebel coalition in the jungles of Myanmar. The first step in that direction was taken by Khaplang when he signed a truce with Myanmar’s Thein Sein government, one of the 14 rebel groups in Myanmar to strike a ceasefire deal with it. Having secured that ceasefire, Khaplang has ensured that his bases in Sagaing will be protected from the occasional raids by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army). Even after the attacks on Indian forces by Khaplang’s fighters in the last two months, the Myanmar government has not broken off the truce with his faction. For the Myanmarese Army which has to battle half-a-dozen powerful home-grown insurgencies at any given point of time, tackling the Kachin or the Kokang guerrillas is a bigger priority, not Khaplang. After the June 9 raid by India, Paresh Barua reiterated that his rebel coalition had “not faced any problems in Myanmar so far”. The second phase of forming that coalition was in extensive negotiations between the constituents. Now, reports about these negotiations have been trickling out of Myanmar off and on. They have been reported in the Northeast Indian media but not picked by the big media guns in faraway Delhi. This is what Indian intelligence seems to have largely missed out. The way the fighters of Khaplang slowly trickled out of their Indian camps in the rundown to the breakdown of the ceasefire was completely missed, despite alerts sounded to Indian intelligence by factional rivals. Then came the actual breakdown of the ceasefire but New Delhi was not concerned because it felt the Myanmarese Naga rebel leader had been isolated and confined to his lair in the jungles of Myanmar. They underestimated his strike power on Indian soil.
The Indian response
The Indian reply after the rebel violence has also been hasty and ill-conceived. The Indian Army was under pressure from top decision makers to hit back immediately, to make a political point of a “strong India which will not tolerate terrorism”. The Indian Army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, was keen on striking back, but after careful planning. Under pressure, all that he could do was to plan two hits on rebel bases on the border or slightly inside it. These locations were chosen not because they had a lot of rebel fighters but because these were rebel bases and could be hit with smaller forces to make a political point that India will go after its enemies. The raids have made much less of an actual impact than was initially suggested by an gung-ho media, joined by a battery of retired soldiers and security officials baying for rebel blood.
The Nagaland Chief Minister, T.R. Zeliang, made a telling point in a recent interview when he said that the Centre has never kept his government in the picture over the breakdown of the ceasefire with Khaplang. Mr. Zeliang said it was possible to have reasoned with Khaplang through Naga civil society against breaking off the ceasefire. After 60 years of brutal conflict, the Nagas have got used to the peace dividend since 1997. Naga civil society groups, which have grown in stature, have ensured that the rebels do not go back to the jungles even if they were upset with the long, unending negotiations with India. Mr. Zeliang thus made a telling point — using the doves of peace to fight the dogs of war. But involving the States in the complex peace negotiations like those with the Naga rebel factions is yet to become a feature of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “cooperative federalism”. He is yet to get over the hush-hush hangover of his Congress predecessors when it comes to peacemaking with underground rebel groups. As the leaks after the transborder raids into Myanmar seem to indicate, the government is keen on greater secrecy in peacemaking than in war-making.
(Subir Bhaumik, a former BBC Correspondent, is the author of the books on the Northeast, Insurgent Crossfire and Troubled Periphery.)