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Naga Peace Talks

Naga Peace Talks

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Nagaland Government appealed to all Naga political groups and extremist groups to cooperate in establishing unity, reconciliation and peace in the region.
  • The peace process between the central government and two sets of the Naga extremist groups has been delaying for more than 23 years.

Who are the Nagas?

  • The Nagas are a hill people belonging to the Indo-Mongoloid family. The Nagas are not a single tribe but an ethnic community who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood.

Background

  • The Naga Hills became part of British India in 1881.
  • In 1918, the Naga Club was formed to bring unity among the Naga tribes.
  • Since 1929, the Naga club has advocated for complete autonomy for the Nagas and had also petitioned the Simon Commission in 1929 to leave the Naga inhabited territories alone and not to club it with the larger Indian Territory.                          Naga Peace Talks
  • The Naga club metamorphosed into the Naga National Council (NNC) in 1946. Under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, the NNC declared Nagaland as an independent State on August 14, 1947, and conducted a referendum in May 1951 to claim support for a “sovereign Nagaland”.
  • In June 1947, Assam Governor Sir Akbar Hydari signed the Nine-Point Agreement with the moderates in the NNC but Phizo rejected it outright.Demands of Naga Groups
    • The key demand of Naga groups has been a Greater Nagalim (sovereign statehood) i.e redrawing of boundaries to bring all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast under one administrative umbrella.
    • It includes various parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Myanmar as well.
    • The demand also includes the separate Naga Yezabo (Constitution) and Naga national flag.

    Peace Initiatives

    • Shillong Accord (1975): A peace accord was signed in Shillong in which the NNC leadership agreed to give up arms.
    • However, several leaders refused to accept the agreement, which led to the split of NNC.
    • Ceasefire Agreement (1997): The NSCN-IM signed a ceasefire agreement with the government to stop attacks on Indian armed forces. In return, the government would stop all counter-insurgency offensive operations.                Naga Peace Talks
    • Framework Agreement (2015): In this agreement, the Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.
    • Recently, the State government decided to prepare the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland but later due to pressure from various fractions, the decision was put on hold.

    Issues

    • The 2015 agreement apparently made the peace process inclusive but it created suspicion about the central government exploiting divisions within the Nagas on tribal and geopolitical lines.                                    Naga Peace Talks
    • The issue of integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in view of the demand for territorial unification of ‘Greater Nagalim’ will trigger violent clashes in the different affected states.
    • Another major hindrance to the peace process in Nagaland is the existence of more than one organisation, each claiming to be representative of the Nagas.

     

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Mussoorie Times

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