Once again, trouble seems to be brewing concerning the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN(IM)), which prefers to be referred to as the NSCN/ Government of the Peoples Republic of Nagaland (NSCN/GPRN). However, for a change, objections have not come from their usual sources – Assam or Manipur – but from Arunachal Pradesh. On August 5, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) urged the Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu to halt the proposed meeting on August 9 between the NSCN/GPRN and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Deomali, Tirap District.
Read more: Nothing to Show: Three Years of the Framework Agreement
The Union's objections to the meeting were along the lines of the territorial integrity of the state, and that the consent of the people had not been taken. In a further development, a press release from a little known Naga Nationalist Political Group (NNPG) which came into existence in 2016, has also voiced opposition to the proposed meeting. The Eastern Naga National Government (ENNG), on August 6,warned the people and their representatives in Tirap, Longding and Changlang (TLC) not to attend the meeting. The ENNG accused the NSCN(IM) of accepting the Constitution of India and thus had no right to speak for the Naga people.
Read More: Indo-Naga Talks: The Difficult Road to Peace
However, it has also emerged that the meeting was proposed by the Arunachal Naga Students Federation (ANSF). The ANSF had stated that the meeting was proposed to the Government of India so that the people of the three districts would be aware of the Framework Agreement and the peace process. The idea was to enable them to meet and interact with the representatives of both the Government of India and the NSCN(IM). Obviously the matter is quite contested as yesterday the All Arunachal Pradesh Border Students Union (AAPBSU) issued a statement opposing the meeting. They termed it a greater threat to the state's territorial integrity than the threat posed by the Chinese claims. What is clear is that the bulk of voices at the moment seems to be against the proposed meeting.
AAPSU's stand on the issue is predictable. The Union has taken up various issues in the past; one major issue that they had taken up was their objection to the Chakma and Hajong refugees living in the state. This movement had propelled AAPSU from only talking about education-related issues to social and political problems as well. The movement was headed by none other than Nabam Rebia, who later served as the speaker during the tenure of Nabam Tuki.
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What is interesting is that an objection has surfaced from the ENNG. According to reports, the ENNG was formed on January 14, 2016. The group had declared the Naga areas in the three districts as a 'peace zone', and stated that they would not tolerate violence and extortion in the area. They had also resolved to set up an armed wing named the Eastern Naga Independent Army (ENIA) perhaps to 'enforce the peace'.
In April 2017, The Telegraph reported that the ENGG had begun extorting contractors operating in the three eastern districts of TLC. They also reported that according to intelligence sources, the group had been formed by the NSCN(IM) to counter the influence of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), who had abrogated the ceasefire with the Government of India in 2015. The NSCN(K) has had a wider influence in these districts for long. The report also shed light on the leadership of the group. The group is led by Tosham Mossang, who has adopted the pseudonym R Stephen Naga. He had previously unsuccessfully contested the state legislative assembly elections twice.
By November 2017, the ENNG issued a statement that they would not accept affecting the territorial integrity of TLC as a result of the Framework Agreement. They stated that the only solution to the Naga political issue is full fledged sovereignty.
Read more: Sovereignty, Integration and the Naga Peace Process
It is interesting that the MHA has Kiren Rijiju as a Minister of State. It begs the question whether he had recommended the meeting on August 9 to his senior minister. However, the ball is, at present, in Dorjee Khandu's court. How he chooses to play could affect many things including the BJP's prospects of getting elected for the first time in Arunachal Pradesh.