The 2 days National Consultation on the Naga Peace Process and the Possible Outcome held at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, Delhi on the 12-13 January, 2013 comprised nearly seventy members of civil society from across the Naga areas as well as from India.
Fifteen years have passed since the Nagas and the Govt. of India entered into a ceasefire and commenced their search for a political solution to the long standing aspirations of the Naga people for self-determination. The ceasefire that was being extended from time to time was agreed in March 2007 to be a continuous process subject to the progress of the political talk. Civil society is concerned with the delay in finding a solution to the Naga political demands and urges the government and the parties concerned to expedite and find a solution to the satisfaction of the long standing Naga demands.
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A deep concern was raised regarding the lack of transparency in the ongoing peace process, even while it appears that there is reason to hope that a solution is close at hand. It would be in the interests of a substantive and sustainable solution for the process to be made more transparent, since these are issues that are of deep concern to the people. Recently, the complete house of the Nagaland Legislature have also communicated to the Prime Minister of India that the need of the hour is ‘solution not election’. It is imperative that this solution is arrived at urgently and that no elections are held until there is clarity on the contours of the political arrangement.
The increased deployment of the security forces during the ceasefire is deprecated. The consultation also expressed its apprehension regarding increased military intervention in civil administration and developmental processes, or welfare functions, in Naga areas. Any solution to the Naga issue must entail a complete withdrawal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, and a visible reduction in the physical presence of the Indian armed forces from the Naga areas.
The solution must also be to the satisfaction of all the Naga peoples, and therefore fulfil their long-standing demand for integration of all Naga areas which are currently divided over four different States- Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. In this, the Government of India must display statesmanship and leadership in taking the matter forward with the different state governments concerned, rather than putting the onus on the Naga civil society and the Government of Nagaland. A solution which does not recognise the right of the Nagas to live together as one people is unacceptable.
The consultation resolved to continue to work together towards a peace that is just and honourable, and founded on principles of democratic governance, and urged upon the parties on the negotiating table at this historic juncture to address the concerns of the Naga peoples.
On behalf of members of Naga civil society and Indian civil society.
(KEVILETUO KIEWHUO) (E. DEENA DAYALAN)
President, Naga Hoho Member, Indian Civil Societies
Camp: India Islamic Cultural Centre, Room No 312, Lodhi Road, Delhi