RN Ravi, the Nagaland Governor and the centre’s interlocutor for the Naga talks, on Monday, categorically said the central government is “absolutely clear” that there shall be only one national flag and one constitution in the country. The strongly-worded statement comes at a time when the armed Naga group NSCN (IM) is sticking to its demand of a separate Naga flag and constitution as part of a peace deal.
“The territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Union of India is supreme. The Government of India has never ever talked, much less negotiated with anyone on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. Any misadventure to disintegrate this great nation shall not be tolerated,” Mr Ravi said in his address on the 58th anniversary of the state’s formation.
“The Government of India is absolutely clear that there is and there shall be only one National Flag and Constitution in India. Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies,” he added.
Mr Ravi added that the Central government has already recognised “the uniqueness of the Nagas”. He said that a “common understanding” had been reached between the Centre and the Naga rebels on October 31, 2019, but some people have been standing as a roadblock to the aspirations of people of Nagaland.
“I urge these people to see the writings on the wall, to come out of their make-believe echo-chamber and listen to the voice of the people and in a true democratic spirit respect their wishes,” he said.
The Modi government, ever since it came to power in 2014, had been engaged in talks with the armed Naga group to negotiate a peace deal. It had signed a framework agreement with the rebels in 2015, which was called a historic step toward resolving the decades old problem.
The peace talks, however, hit a roadblock as the rebels last year hardened their stance on their controversial demand of a separate Naga flag and constitution. They had also demanded removal of RN Ravi as the interlocuter.
NSCN (IM), meanwhile, claimed that the 16-points agreement responsible for the creation of Nagaland as the 16th state of India did not have the support of the Naga people.
“For the Nagas the creation of Nagaland state as a result of manipulation and treachery has been recorded as an act of insult to the freedom fighters in particular and to the Naga people in general,” it said on Monday.
Last month, the Home Ministry directed the paramilitary Assam Rifles to launch operations against NSCN(IM) in states neighbouring Nagaland that are not under the ambit of the ceasefire agreement.
Reacting to this, the insurgent group had accused the Centre of being “insincere” in its efforts to find a permanent solution to the seven-decade-old conflict and cautioned against testing its patience.