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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2646

The Center should immediately appoint Chairman of CFMG, CFSB

By Oken Jeet Sandham

It didn’t take long for the underground related violence to have steep rise after Chairman of the both Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) and Cease Fire Supervisory Board (CFSB) Maj Gen (Retd) N George resigned from the post.

He resigned from the Chairmanship of both CFMG and CFSB at a time when Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio took over the NPF-led DAN Government for the third term. He served as Chairman of both CFMG and CFSB a little over one year and had handled many delicate ceasefire-related issues during his short stint as Chairman. However, he refused to give reasons for his premature departure from his job in Nagaland.

One can recall how the situation in Nagaland was during the pre-ceasefire era. But there is a sea of change following the historic ceasefire agreements between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) in 1997 and later with the NSCN (K) in 2001.

Both the ceasefires are still in force. But the things became complicated following a split in the NSCN led by SS Khaplang in the middle of 2011. Now there is GPRN/NSCN led by Khole Konyak. By now everyone felt apprehensive whether the ceasefire with the NSCN (K) would also cover the GPRN/NSCN led by Konyak. But the Center took a wise decision by announcing that the current ceasefire with the NSCN (K) was applicable to the GPRN/NSCN, thus everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

It is understood that there were underground related violence that was against the existing mutually agreed upon Cease Fire Ground Rules (CFGRs), so also there were incidents of ceasefire violations by the jawans of the Assam Rifles. Besides this, the Naga underground groups and the Indian security forces indulged in allegations and counter allegations for violations of ceasefire ground rules. Even the cadres of the NSCN factions used to accuse each other of violating ceasefire ground rules. At times, they would charge each other of conniving with the Assam Rifles even.

Whenever such issues came up, they were sorted out through the meetings of the CFMG and CFSB. Even highly delicate issues were sorted out during such meetings.

All these meetings were presided over by the Chairman of the both CFMG and CFSB.

It was strange of sort that before the state assembly elections this year, almost all the important Naga leaders mostly overground talked about the importance of solution and not the elections. But Congress and NPF legislators in the Joint Legislature Forum (JLF) had sharp opinions on the matters of elections and the settlement of Naga issue. The Naga electorates had seen this.

But once the notification of holding of elections in Nagaland was announced, there was spontaneous change in the mood of the people. All the political parties started immediately diverting their mind towards making election strategies and finally the election was held.

The tempo of the peace process before assembly election is now getting slower day by day. The holding of state assembly elections this time in Nagaland also gave an impression that the Naga political issue was not above the Indian election. It is unfortunate that the overground political players failed to come together at a time when they should. Now no opportune moment, as much as they had before the state assembly elections, may come again.

These development also make the common men think otherwise of the ongoing peace process. It is only natural that when such attentions were not paid to these underground leaders, their subordinate leaders and cadres, there is every possibility that their cadres go astray. And when such things happen, one can only expect what the society will face.

Now let us see one or two incidents that have taken place in the absence of the Chairman of CFMG and CFSB. Former ENSF speaker was allegedly assaulted by the NSCN (IM) cadres on April 19. Civil societies of the areas had already demanded the NSCN (IM) authority to award befitting punishment to their cadres involved on the assault of the student leader.

In the last part of April, we have also witnessed the ugly scene when angry youth numbering about 500 went rampage in Kiphire town following Assam Rifles jawans’ excesses to the citizens of the area. At last the district administration had to impose curfew. The situation was somehow brought down after the Assam Rifles higher-ups assured befitting punishment to any jawan involved in the excesses committed.

From time to time, the Angami Youth Organization (AYO) had to give statements registering their strong protests against the Naga underground groups that resorted to killings or creating fear psychosis in and around the around Kohima town or in their jurisdictions. They urged factions not to disturb the peaceful environment in their areas and the state capital. On many occasions, the representatives of the AYO had meetings with the leaders of the NSCN (K) and GPRN/NSCN as to how the state capital should be kept as peaceful place.

All these incidents could be brought to the notice of the Chairman of the CFMG and CFSB either by any concerned citizen or respective representatives of the factions or even by the Assam Rifles authority. Because there is ceasefire in the state and such matters can be deliberated upon. In fact the Chairman can save many situations directly by talking to the concerned leaders of many Naga underground groups because he keeps hotline with them. And they listen to him too.

In fact, the Chairman is the father of all the stakeholders in the ceasefires and when this head of the family is not there, everything goes kusi kusi. There is nobody who can control them now. The State government would play the safest card saying that there is ceasefire and they can’t act.

The Chairman is the only one who can summon for the ceasefire meetings and direct the violators to desist from further committing of such acts but not the state government machineries nor the Assam Rifles authorities.

One should not forget that the frequent ceasefire meetings are essential because with this only, there will be drastic reduction of underground-related violence across the state. Only after that can one expect peace to come in Nagaland. The primarily objective for the ceasefire is also to fructify meaningful political dialogue between the Government of India and the Naga underground leaders.

The Government of India should immediately appoint a qualified person as Chairman of the CFMG and CFSB for the larger interest of not only the people of the State but also for the ongoing peace process to reach a logical conclusion.

- Asian Tribune -

Maj Gen (Retd) N George
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