By Kamal Morarka
Country is passing through interesting time, though the situation has become difficult. A Rajasthan High Court judge just before retiring pronounced that cow should be made national animal and passed some comment on peacock, which is so stupid that I wonder how this man could reach to the high court! But the large publicity that press gives to such obiter dicta, which is not part of the judgment, does not make sense. The cow as it is a sensitive issue, the government of India must make a policy on it, which I have said before, and then there should be a public debate. However, even the government of India under Narendra Modi will not be able to ban beef in Northeast or in Goa, and they themselves claim that. So a clear-cut national policy is required to end this arbitrary behaviour by vigilante groups or comments by some organisation or even by judiciary. I hope Mr. Modi will act on this.
The other disturbing part this week is that there is a report that a Naga Accord has been signed. In August 2015 an MOU was signed manner between Narendra Modi and the NSCN-IM (Isak-Muivah) group in a hurried way even the Home Minister was not privy to it. He was invited to signing and there was the photo opportunity. But nobody knows till today what are the contents of the accord. People have been asking; the government has been prevaricating. Now the report – if true as we do not know the content – is that government has given large concession to the Nagas, including some sort of judicial or financial provisions. In a way it is a step towards solving the problem, but the issue is not that. The Naga problem is pending since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru and A. Z. Phizo who was the Naga chief at that time. As usual Indian government wanted a settlement within the Indian Constitution and they did not agree. Finally, in 1980s and 1990s Isak-Muivah group looked more sensible and many rounds of discussions took place with Mr. K. Padmanabhaiah, the former Home Secretary, as the interlocutor. They held discussions in Bangkok, Norway, etc. etc. and it looked that some reasonable midway could be found. Suddenly when Mr. Modi singed this accord in August in 2015 in a hush-hush manner, people could not understand why this hush-hush. Mr Isak who was one of the two gentlemen was died after the signing of the accord as he was in the hospital.
Now we don’t know who have signed this accord. Is it the same group, the other group or jointly they have done it? Nobody knows. After all we have a responsible central government I really hope that they not done something which affect the sovereignty of the country. As it is a border state need to be handled differently. You may give them a degree of autonomy. But the funny part is the state to whom you have promised autonomy – Jammu & Kashmir. You have diluted that autonomy. Not now, diluted through the Congress years. And these people (current government) are very obvious they are saying it is a security issue. They don’t want to talk to Pakistan. So both things cannot happen. You cannot apply one yardstick to Kashmir and another to these states. You can however apply different yardstick but there has to be a common paradigm. I think it is high time the government call a parliament session to discuss these issues and give us its own paradigm. What is their approach towards settling issues with these ethnic groups? Nagaland is one, Arunachal Pradesh is one, Mizoram is one, Kashmir is a different kind of issue. India is too bigger a country and too important a country to act in a slicing manner.
On the one hand china gets very angry on Dalai Lama visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which of course government of India correct, China is not correct. But on the other hand is Kashmir; we cannot close our eyes and take a position that it is a security issue, we kill as many people as require but we will bring peace. No, no! Kashmir has got a long history, long agreements. Plebiscite was also the talk, but there also Pakistan is at fault. If they had withdrawn their troops as Mountbatten suggested to them that “withdraw your troops as per UN resolution and have a plebiscite”, Mountbatten’s reading was that the “people will vote for Pakistan”. They were not sure so they made a mistake. When they made a mistake India jumped at it. India said you have not withdrawn your troops, so there should be no plebiscite. Scoring point by both sides is ok, but that does not solve the problem. I hope intelligent people are there with Mr. Modi to advise him and I only hope that the Naga Accord has not created some fresh problem. Country after all is a running entity; governments come every five years and go. Mr Modi’s term is ending in two years, suppose he gets elected in 2019 again, then in seven years. Nobody is for eternity but the country is for eternity. Whatever has happened, you must take everybody into confidence. Parliament is the supreme body of the country; have an on-camera session of Parliament. There is nothing wrong with that. Keep the press out. But arrive at the consensus as to how to deal with these various angry, dissatisfied, unhappy citizens of India; they all are of course citizens of India.
This government’s attitude is: do not talk to Hurriayat, do not talk to Pakistan. Not talking is not a solution. In a democracy talk is a solution. Talking may bring solution after long time. But one thing is definite if there will be no talk, there will be no solution. We are eagerly awaiting information on the Naga accord from which we can find out whether we are on the right track or not. Let us hope it happens soon!
By Kamal Morarka