In what comes as a rather rude shock for the separatists of Nagaland, their demand for the removal of the state’s Governor, who is also acting as an interlocutor between the various Naga groups and Government of India (GOI) – RN Ravi, is finding no audience even among the Naga groups who are currently a part of the peace talks. Earlier, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN-IM had demanded removal of RN Ravi as the state governor, and therefore, as an interlocutor between the Naga groups and GOI.
Now, the Nagaland Gaon Bura Federation (NGBF), a very influential body of village and area heads of Nagaland, and the hereditary custodian of Naga traditions, has come out in open support of RN Ravi, calling demands for his replacement ‘unjust’ and ‘untenable’.
In an elaborate statement, the NGBF also indicated how the demand by NSCN-IM was ‘alarming’ and ‘malicious’, not to mention how it did not have the backing of the people of the state. “The demand for replacement of interlocutor is unjust and untenable due to the fact that he is also the Centre’s interlocutor with other negotiating groups.”
“The status paper is with the tribal leaders and organisations. The transparency and practical aspect of the negotiations between GoI and WC, NNPGs, without compromising Naga history, identity and political right in all Naga areas, being communicated to the tribes and public at the grassroots level has found favour with the people,” it said. The statement in support of RN Ravi, and by implication, the Indian state, added, “In recent days, NSCN (IM) statements have described 14 tribes, NTC, NGBF, CNTC and other civil societies as planted by R.N. Ravi and tutored by him, which have deeply hurt the sentiment of the Nagas.”
The NGBF also called out the militant outfit, NSCN-IM for their tendency to declare whoever does not toe their political ideology as “anti-Naga”. It also stated that blaming Ravi or the MHA by the said group has “no basis”. RN Ravi has been the interlocutor between various Naga groups and the GOI since 2015, and has grown quite a liking for himself among the various sane groups of Nagaland and its people. This brings the people of Nagaland closer to the Indian Republic more than ever, and that is what hard-line separatist groups like the NSCM-IM fear.
The NSCN-IM, which is the last standing considerable militant group of the state fears losing grip over the state and its people amid growing pro-India sentiments. RN Ravi had recently spoken out against the tax extortion regime run by the NSCN-IM in the state, and that had triggered the group to call for the interlocutor’s replacement. However, the militant group, already having been gradually isolated under an impeccable strategy since 2015, finds itself in the centre of extinction now, more so after its insane demand of having Ravi replaced.
The recent episode from Nagaland has revealed that the country is integrated like never before, and that the Indian state has been accepted wholeheartedly by the Naga people and legitimate political organisations of the state. The longest insurgency of India, meanwhile, is all set to collapse, with the militancy of NSCN-IM already on the verge of extinction.