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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2737

Ceasefire that fires

By Oken Jeet Sandham

The 12-hour bandh observation by the Naga Students Federation (NSF) on July 1 protesting against the incessant factional clashes endangering the lives of the civilians, underground taxations, etc. might not have happened if there was Chairman of the Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) and Cease Fire Supervisory Board (CFSB) in the State. It is very unfortunate that our underground cadres have been freely roaming in civilian areas with arms.

We all know that they are in truce with the Government of India (GOI) and bound by the mutually agreed upon Cease Fire Ground Rules (CFGRs). It has been four months now without a Chairman of the CFMG and CFSB. And one should know that in the absence of the Chairman of the CFMG and CFSB, there is hardly any scope that such undesirable incidents if occurred can be prevented even afterwards.
If there are no underground factional issues, then nothing to worry. But unfortunately, there have already been factional issues over the years and as such it is only expected that there can be clashes whenever and wherever they meet each other, whether they have ceasefire with Government of India or not. This will continue to happen.

The only solution to this is to enforce the CFGRs. Then who will do this. Is it the State Government of Nagaland or the Assam Rifles? They might interpret that it was not their jobs, but the fact is the State cannot remain silent over these issues when the lives and properties of the citizens are being threatened due to factional clashes.
On the other hand the factions would have their own interpretations of the CFGRs in the event of such factional incidents. Then who is going to examine it. Is it not the Chairman of the CFMG and CFSB?

It is honestly believed that the only remedy to these undesirable acts of factional violence in the State is to immediately appoint a Chairman of CFMG and CFSB because only he can act, command and summon leaders of the factions through the CFMG or CFSB meetings to sort out differences or warn against violating CFGRs. It is only through the meetings of the CFMG or SFSB that such frequent factional clashes will drastically reduce. Regrettably, Delhi appears to be in no hurry to appoint anyone as Chairman at the moment.

Now the question is why the civil societies are not reacting to the dead silence of the Government of India with regard to the non-appointment of the Chairman. The Center is responsible for letting loose the cadres of the factions because the former is maintaining truce with them. We have not heard any word from Delhi on such factional incidents for the last many months.

Are we going to keep things like this? If things go on like this, the State will be back to square one and that will not be to everyone’s liking. Is this the fate of 16 years of ceasefires between the Naga underground groups and the Government of India? Is this what we want to see after 16 years of ceasefires? Why is the Government of India making mockery of the ceasefires that had come after years of fears, hatreds, apprehensions, suspicions and bloodsheds?

It is alright taking decades to find solution to the longstanding Naga political issue. It is understandable because of the long history of the Indo-Naga political conflicts, but at least the ongoing “ceasefires” should have semblance of “ceasefires.” Most importantly, it is the oxygen to the process of finding solution to the Naga issue.

- Asian Tribune -

 Oken Jeet Sandham
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