Context:

The Central government entered into a one-year ceasefire agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (K) Niki Group.

The agreed ceasefire ground rules were also signed. In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the agreement would boost the Naga peace process.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Centre-State Relations), Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Who are the Nagas?
  2. What is Naga Issue?
  3. Peace Initiatives with the Naga
  4. Other recent peace agreements with military outfits in northeast India

Who are the Nagas?

  • The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community, belonging to Indo-Mongoloid Family, that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood.
  • There are nineteen major Naga tribes, namely, Aos, Angamis, Changs, Chakesang, Kabuis, Kacharis, Khain-Mangas, Konyaks, Kukis, Lothas (Lothas), Maos, Mikirs, Phoms, Rengmas, Sangtams, Semas, Tankhuls, Yamchumgar and Zeeliang.

What is Naga Issue?

  • After India became independent in 1947, the Naga territory initially remained a part of Assam.
  • In 1957, after an agreement was reached between Naga leaders and the Indian government, the Naga Hills region of Assam and the Tuensang frontier division to the northeast were brought together under a single unit directly administered by the Indian government.
  • Nagaland achieved statehood in 1963, however, rebel activity continued.
  • The key demand of Naga groups has been a Greater Nagalim (sovereign statehood) i.e., redrawing of boundaries to bring all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast under one administrative umbrella.
  • The Naga inhabited areas include various parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Myanmar.
  • The demand also includes the separate Naga Yezabo (Constitution) and Naga national flag.

Peace Initiatives with the Naga

  • Shillong Accord (1975): A peace accord was signed in Shillong in which the NNC leadership agreed to give up arms. However, several leaders refused to accept the agreement, which led to the split of NNC.
  • Ceasefire Agreement (1997): The NSCN-IM signed a ceasefire agreement with the government to stop attacks on Indian armed forces. In return, the government would stop all counter-insurgency offensive operations.
  • Framework Agreement (2015): In this agreement, the Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations. The NSCN also appreciated the Indian political system and governance. However, the details of the agreement are yet to be released by the government.
  • Recently, the State government decided to prepare the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland but later due to pressure from various fractions, the decision was put on hold.

Issues:

  • The 2015 agreement apparently made the peace process inclusive but it created suspicion about the central government exploiting divisions within the Nagas on tribal and geopolitical lines.
  • The issue of integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in view of the demand for territorial unification of ‘Greater Nagalim’ will trigger violent clashes in the different affected states.
  • Another major hindrance to the peace process in Nagaland is the existence of more than one organisation, each claiming to be representative of the Nagas.

Other recent peace agreements with military outfits in northeast India

  • Karbi Anglong Agreement, 2021: It involved a tripartite agreement signed among five insurgent groups of Assam, the Centre and the state government of Assam.
  • Bru Accord, 2020: Under the Bru accord, the permanent settlement of 6959 Bru families in Tripura with a financial package has been agreed between the Government of India, Tripura and Mizoram with representatives of Bru migrants.
  • Bodo Peace Accord, 2020: In 2020, the Government of India, Government of Assam and representatives of Bodo groups signed an agreement, wherein more autonomy is provided to Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), in Assam.

-Source: The Hindu

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