Four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the “historic” Naga accord, questions are being raised by three Chief Ministers of the north-east Indian states. Claiming that the clauses of the deal have been “kept in dark” the Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur on Friday attacked the Centre for not consulting them over the issue.
The Chief Ministers also stressed that they will not cede an inch of their land. Incidentally, all the three states, which may be impacted by the Naga accord, are ruled by the Congress party led governments.
“If a single inch of territorial area of Manipur is taken, we will fight tooth and nail,” Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh told reporters targeting the Narendra Modi dispensation.
On August 3, the Centre announced signing of an agreement with the insurgent outfit NSCN-IM claiming an end to the decades long conflict. PM Narendra Modi had even termed the accord as a “historic” one. However, the contours of deal and execution plan of the agreement are yet to be released.
NSCN-IM had been demanding ‘Greater Nagalim’, an integration of Naga people-inhabited areas, which shares the territory of Arunachal, Assam and Manipur apart from Nagaland. It is, however, unclear whether the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand has been accepted. Nagaland’s neighbours Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are opposed to integration of Naga-inhabited areas, the issue which has often led to the violence in the North-eastern region.
And now, the Chief Ministers of three states have flagged red over the deal, though they unanimously welcomed the peace process.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi accused Prime Minister Modi of “blatantly violating” the spirit of cooperative federalism and parliamentary democracy by not consulting him and his Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur counterparts over such an important matter.
“I doubt whether the Chief Minister of Nagaland has been consulted,” Mr. Gogoi said, while Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki was of the view that the accord has come as a
“surprise” as the Prime Minister “forgot” to contact the Chief Ministers of the concerned states.
Assam CM also sought to know why the accord has been kept secret, saying “if it affects states, we will oppose tooth and nail”. Tarun Gogoi also questioned why the accord was signed by the interlocutor RN Ravi and not by the Home Minister or the Home Secretary on behalf of the Centre.
Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh said he is yet to get the details of the accord despite even calling up Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
(With inputs from the PTI)