Kohima, Jan. 26 : Nagaland Governor RN Ravi on Tuesday said the “latest initiative” to the Indo-Naga peace process could not be fruitful as some people are ‘not willing to forsake gun politics’. He was addressing the 72nd Republic Day programme held at Secretariat Plaza in Kohima January 26.
“Efforts for the last 24 years could not fructify as yet due to unrealistic intransigence of some people who are unwilling to forsake the politics by gun”, he said and added that mainstream Naga society has never accepted violence as a political resource.
Ravi, who is also the interlocutor for Naga peace talks, said that Naga leaders “remained committed to the democratic politics” in the initial decade of Independence.
According to him, “It was only in December 1955 when some radical leaders decided to use guns to achieve their political objective that the Naga society was divided”.
“Even in the midst of raging violence the mainstream Naga Society got together, united the Nagas who were divided between Assam and NEFA and through over four years of socio political churning and skilful negotiations with the Government of India created Nagaland state with unique status under Article 371-A of the Indian Constitution”, he added.
With the creation of a unique state, he said, “the people of Nagaland took control of their destiny. Normalcy began returning to the land. Unfortunately, at that time some hostile foreign agencies began fishing the troubled water. They exploited the Naga insurgency for their own geo-political interests at the cost of the Naga people. They fundamentally changed the basic character of the Naga political movement to the detriment of Naga’s identity and interests”.
“It is a matter of record that in the last some 50 years, far many times more Nagas have died in fratricidal and factional killings by the armed groups who believed in the power of the barrel of guns than those in conflict with the security forces”, Ravi said.
The “politics by gun”, he said, has fragmented the Naga society. It has pitted ‘neighbours against each other, Khels against Khels and tribes against tribes’, he stated. He went on to add that gun politics did not even spare the Church for their honest initiatives to usher peace in this land.
“There is ample space for resolution of differences through peaceful dialogue in a democracy. However, there is no space for politics by gun. Those who believe in such a politics shall always remain outliers in a democracy. The unrealistic, self – destructive and divisive politics has exhausted the people of Nagaland.
“The primary stakeholders have made their positions abundantly clear that the era of guns must end without further delay and enduring peace must be restored. They have made it clear that unresolved issues (if any) be pursued through dialogue post-settlement,” Ravi said.
‘Join mainstream for progressive Nagaland’
When India is rapidly progressing and changing dramatically, he said that Nagas must make an effort and advance with the rest of the country.
“I commend those who continue to draw inspiration from the founders of the state to realise their dream of a progressive Nagaland and urge those who have been led astray to join mainstream”, he said.
“There must be no doubt in any quarter that Nagaland is and shall remain an integral part of the Republic of India. Any scheme to disintegrate this republic shall face the brunt of this great Nation”, Ravi added.
He urged those who are “still standing between the people and the peace to see the writings on the wall. The people of Nagaland and peace can no longer be kept a hostage. Together, let us prosper for an Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
Ravi also conveyed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “committed to restoring an enduring peace in the region with utmost regard to the wishes of the people” and added further that the PM “loves” Naga people and holds Nagas in “high esteem”.
“The prime minister is anxious to ensure that while India is taking giant leaps to the Moon and Mars, our people of Nagaland are not left behind”, Ravi added.
While the state has not seen any major eruption of law and order problem for some time, the menace of “rampant extortions” under the guise of illegal taxation by anti-social elements has not yet been “fully curbed” despite efforts from police and security forces and action against such elements, Ravi pointed out.
Rampant extortions, he said, create a sense of fear among businesses, small and large, and inhibit entrepreneurship, which severely undermines the economy and growth of the state.
“It hampers development. As a result, the state is not doing as well as other states on several development indicators as the state government continues with its efforts to curb the menace of extortion and illegal taxation,” he said.
On the occasion, the governor has paid homage and tribute to the founding fathers of Nagaland. He said that it was they, under the most trying circumstances, who united the Nagas in Assam and NEFA and through a peaceful democratic process secured for the people this beautiful state with unique constitutional safeguards for the Nagas’ way of life as well as their land and resources.