Two influential Naga civil society groups have complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, alleging that he is functioning in an “autocratic” manner and without any regard for what has been achieved in 23 years of peace talks with insurgent group NSCN-IM.
The Naga Hoho and the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) have also alleged that Mr Ravi, who is the Centre’s interlocutor for the peace dialogue, has been “hounding” the same Naga groups with whom he is supposed to negotiate and conclude the peace talks, and that he does not seem to have the time or inclination to listen to the voices of women peace makers.
In a memorandum to the prime minister, the Naga Hoho said the Nagas have been observing that the governor “is functioning in an autocratic manner without any regard and respect for what has been achieved so far”.
“With the appointment of RN Ravi as the governor, it was hoped to expedite the peace process. Instead, he is breaking the hard-earned trust and faith of the people and rendering the 23 years of negotiation meaningless by smearing Naga history and also the political groups with whom the government of India is engaged in a negotiation,” it said.
The Naga Hoho, which is the top body of different Naga tribal communities, said it felt that “peaceful settlement cannot be achieved with an interlocutor without empathy and without understanding our people, our history and our aspiration”.
The organisation told the prime minister that it continues to trust his leadership and urged him to look into the matter on priority.
“With your personal and political commitment, we believe that the solution is not far away” it said.
The NMA, in its memorandum to the Prime Minister Modi, said Governor Ravi was allegedly “threatening” and “hounding” different Naga groups. “We are confronted with a situation, where the interlocutor, who is also the Hon”ble governor of Nagaland, is bent on threats and hounding the same Naga political groups, with whom he is supposed to negotiate and conclude the peace talks,” it said.
The NMA alleged that Governor Ravi’s “disrespect for the Naga people and women, in the midst of such a crucial dialogue is also obvious in the fact that the governor has turned down the official request of the Naga Mothers’ Association for an appointment on two occasions, which is highly questionable”.
Earlier, sources had suggested that the NSCN-IM, which has been in peace talks with the Centre, is unlikely to hold further negotiations with Mr Ravi and the Naga insurgent group has conveyed its “unhappiness” to the top functionaries of the central government over his style of functioning.
The top leadership of the NSCN-IM is now in Delhi for a fresh round of negotiation with the central government, possibly with a new interlocutor.
The NSCN-IM has conveyed to the central government that the group would not hold any further negotiation with Mr Ravi, who has been engaged in dialogue with the group since 2014, sources said.
The key grievances of the NSCN-IM against Mr Ravi seem to be his “misinterpretation” of the 2015 frame of agreement and his letter to the Nagaland government, asking it to rein in “armed gangs”, which made the NSCN-IM deeply upset.
The framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and Mr Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hammer out a final solution.
In October last year, in a statement, Mr Ravi had ruled out a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas as demanded by the NSCN-IM and made it clear that the “endless negotiations with the insurgent group under the shadow of guns is not acceptable”.
Mr Ravi had said that the NSCN-IM has “mischievously” dragged in the framework agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India”s independence in 1947.