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Legitimate concern: on law and order in Nagaland

 

Topics Covered: Internal security related issues

Legitimate concern: on law and order in Nagaland

 

Context:

With the legitimacy of the Constitutionally-elected state government’s being “challenged on a day-to-day basis by the armed gangs who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation”, Nagaland Governor has told the chief minister that he “could no longer abstain from constitutional obligations in the state under Article 371A (1) (b) of the Constitution”.

 

What is Article 371A(1)(b) all about?

It applies exclusively to Nagaland and bestows upon the governor “special responsibility with respect to law and order”.

According to the provision, the governor, for all practical purposes, has the final say on all matters related to the state’s law and order and on what constitutes law and order.

 

What’s the issue?

The governor has voiced concerns of sections of civil society over the slide in law and order; illegal collections by armed groups have been an issue for several years.

 

What next?

Despite the Centre’s heady statements heralding a Naga peace accord since 2015, it is nowhere close to finalising it with the groups.

In some ways, this is due to the NSCN-IM’s obstinacy such as its insistence on retaining a separate flag and a Constitution for the State of Nagaland and its unwillingness to dismantle its parallel administrative and paramilitary structure.

The distrust it invokes among other Naga organisations besides other north-eastern governments because of its core ideology of a “greater Nagalim”, and the inherent difficulties in getting other insurgent actors on board have made this a conflict that persists despite the ceasefire and a problem that does not lend itself to a quick solution.

 

How old is the Naga political issue?

Pre- independence:

  1. The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India. The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
  2. In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
  3. The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

 

Post- independence:

On March 22, 1952, underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA) were formed. The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

 

When did the NSCN come into being?

A group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980.

As per the accord, NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.

In 1988, the NSCN split into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) after a violent clash.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Parts of States included under Greater Nagalim.
  2. About Naga Club and NNC.
  3. When was the Naga Referendum held?
  4. Overview of AFSPA.
  5. Overview of Article 371 and sub provisions thereunder.

 

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues and challenges associated with the Naga Peace Accord.

Sources: the Hindu.