Everyone across the Northeast, as well as political commentators and observers of insurgency movements, were keenly looking forward to this day, October 31. It will be now a red-letter day in the history of Nagaland. For on this day as the entire Nation celebrated National Unity Day, to uphold the integrity and unity of the country, the world witnessed the end of a seven-decade long insurgency.
The Naga Peace Talks, also often called Naga Talks have finally concluded. A settlement will be announced soon and the treaty will be signed after a thorough discussion with the State governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
We extend our deepest appreciation to the negotiating parties of the peace talks for making the historic breakthrough. Thank you Honourable @PMOIndia Shri @narendramodi and @AmitShah for the political will and concern for the #Naga people.— Neiphiu Rio (@Neiphiu_Rio) October 31, 2019
It's indeed a historic breakthrough, for it took 22 years to witness this day. The NSCN-IM, led by Late Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, signed a ceasefire agreement with the Union government in August 1997. It was a rollercoaster ride for both sides and probably the longest dialogue in the history of insurgency.
Known as the mother of all insurgencies, Naga insurgency started as early as the 1950s, though the seeds of secession were sowed in the later part of 1940. It was the strong sense of Naga nationalism, that led to the declaration of Independence from British India on August 14, 1947, a day ahead of the rest of the country.
The formation of Naga National Council, and eventually signing of the Shillong Accord in 1975, led to the formation of Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), as Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chisi Swu along with SS Khaplang which condemned the Accord terming it a "complete sellout of the Nagas". Angami Zapu Phizo, however, remained the father figure of the Naga secessionist movement till his death in London on April 30, 1990. He is still considered as the father of Nagaland.
The Naga movement, witnessed a lot of bloodsheds and factional clash, particularly after the split of 1988, when Khaplang parted ways with Isak-Muivah. Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah finally signed a ceasefire agreement with the Union government in 1997. SS Khaplang, who originally hailed from Myanmar, led the NSCN-K faction, which is yet to come to talks with the government, however, after Khaplang's death in 2017 and intensive operation by Myanmar Army, the strength of the faction is now negligible.
People across Northeast are hopeful that the successful conclusion of the Naga Talks will also ensure smooth sail for other insurgent groups of the region. The region which has witnessed 7 decades of insurgency has also been witness to the casualties of 2,762 soldiers, more than 10000 insurgents and over 40,000 civilians since 1979. Everyone now awaits new dawn, in Northeast and particularly in Nagaland.