The Naga question

‘Resolve the Naga question first’: In Nagaland, the demand to defer the Assembly polls gathers pace

The election is scheduled for February.

Weighing in on the demand by Naga civil society groups that the central government resolve the Naga question before conducting the Assembly election, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) has insisted that any attempt to ram the election through would “show the insincerity of the Centre”.

Nagaland is expected to go to polls in February. But the run-up has been dominated not by campaigning but by speculation about a “final solution” to the six-decade-old dispute – the Naga Peace Accord as it has come to be called – being around the corner. Talks to settle the dispute have been going on since 1997, primarily between the Centre and the NSCN(IM), and a breakthrough was reportedly reached in 2015 when they signed a framework agreement. The details of the agreement are yet to be made public but it is understood to acknowledge the “uniqueness of Naga history and culture” in exchange for the NSCN(IM) respecting the “primacy of the Indian Constitution”. The NSCN(IM) waged a decades-long insurgency to create a sovereign Nagalim, or Greater Nagaland, comprising Nagaland and the Naga-inhabited areas of neighbouring states, before agreeing to a ceasefire in 1997.

“When the people of Nagaland are expecting a solution, it is not wise to talk about elections,” VS Atem, formerly the chief of the group’s armed wing and now a key member of its collective leadership, said. Atem claimed that their negotiations with the Centre’s interlocutor RN Ravi were at the “final leg”. He refused to provide a more specific time-frame.

Asked if the NSCN(IM) would call for a boycott of the election if the Centre goes ahead with it anyway, Atem said the group will decide on “any future course of action” only after the Election Commission officially notifies the election.

Broad support

The ruling Naga People’s Front has supported the demand to defer the election. “NPF has decided that the election should be deferred and a solution should be discussed first,” said Imkong Imchen, the state’s health and family welfare minister. “On December 15, we even passed a resolution in the Assembly urging the Centre to fast-track the solution.”

Imchen claimed that conducting the election without finding at a solution to the Naga question would “create great divisions in the Naga society”. “If the election happens now, the talks will be relegated to the dustbin,” he said.

The opposition Congress, meanwhile, accused the Centre of misleading the Naga people. “Ravi has been saying a final solution would come soon and even the President said the same when he was in Nagaland last month, but now they are talking of the election,” said K Therie, the party’s state president. “They are creating confusion and keeping the Naga people guessing. They should not behave this way, they should come clean when the final solution will come.”

Another reason for the political parties’ reluctance to participate in an election before a solution is worked out is their apprehension that the legislators would have to give up their seats for an “interim government” when the solution does finally arrive. “What is the point of conducting the election if the government has to be dismissed anyway?” asked Imchen.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is allied with the Naga People’s Front, took a more measured position, saying the “issue of the election is different” from the purportedly imminent final solution. “We also support a quick solution, but it is difficult to quantify the exact time it would take,” the party’s state president Visasolie Lhoungu said. “We will have to go by the directives of the Centre and the party high command.”

Both the Naga People’s Front and the Congress, however, said they would contest the election if it is held. “We will have no choice but to contest then,” said Imchen.

Therie concurred: “We will participate but we want the solution first.”

Imchen added that if the central government brushed aside the pleas to defer the election, it would send a wrong signal. “After all, actions speak louder than words,” he said. “We are the ruling party, yet we are willing to forgo power. Why can’t they do it?”

On Tuesday, the interlocutor Ravi told a Nagaland daily that the election was unlikely to be deferred unless there was “sufficient substantive change in the facts on the ground”.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.