NAGA ACCORD & ITS GENESIS
The historic peace accord signed by the government and the NSCN-IM on AUG 3rd came nearly 40 years after another similar treaty inked in Shillong failed to establish peace and led to a fracturing of the Naga rebel movement.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NAGA ACCORD & ITS GENESIS
NAGA AND INDIA
Pre Shillong Accord of 1975
The 1947 Naga-Akbar Hydari Agreement promised some amount of autonomy to the Nagas .
The 1947 pact was signed by the then Assam governor Akbar Hydari and representatives of the
Naga National Council (NNC) which recognised the “right of the Nagas to develop themselves
according to their freely expressed wishes” and promised some amount of autonomy.
However, the two sides differed on the interpretation of a clause that said the Naga Council
would be asked after a 10-year period whether they wanted the pact to be extended. Some in the
NNC rejected the agreement and this triggered the insurgency as well as operations by security
forces to put down the uprising.
The Sixteen-Point Agreement of 1960 led to the creation of the state of Nagaland by carving out
the Naga Hills from undivided Assam but did not address the underlying issues that had
triggered the insurgency. Moreover, the agreement was signed with the moderate Naga People’s
Convention and was rejected by the hardline NNC, which was the main group among the
Shillong Accord of 1975
The Shillong Accord of 1975(signed on 11Nov 1975) was an agreement signed between the
Government of India represented by the then Governor of Nagland LP Singh and Nagaland's
underground government represented by Kevi Yalie, M. Assa, S. Dahru, Veenyiyl Rhakho, and
Z. Ramyo. Rebels accepted the supremacy of Constitution of India without condition, surrender
their arms and renounce their demand for the secession of Nagaland from India.
The Indiangovernment wasrepresentedby LallanPrasadSingh,Governorof Nagaland.The
governorwasassistedbyM.L. Kampani,Jointsecretaryinthe Ministryof Home Affairs(MHA),
and bytwo advisorsforNagaland—M.RamunnyandH. Zopianga.
The Nagaland'sundergroundorganisationswere representedbyleadersincludingI.Temjenba,
S. Dahru,VeenyiylRhakho,Z.Ramyo,M. Assa,andKevi Yalie—youngerbrotherof Angami Zapu
Phizo,whowasthen-Presidentof the NagaNational Council(NNC) andwasin exileinLondon
from1956 till hisdeath.
The Liaisoncommittee of NagalandPeace Council(NPC)were representedbyfive churchleaders
like Longri Ao, M. Aram,L. Lungalang,KennethKerhuo,andLungshimShaiza.
1. The representativesof the undergroundorganisationsconveyedtheirdecision,of theirown
volition,toaccept,withoutcondition,the Constitutionof India.
2. It was agreed thatthe arms, now underground,wouldbe broughtoutanddepositedat
appointedplaces.Detailsforgivingeffectof thisagreementwill be workedoutbetweenthem
and representativesof the Government,the securityforces,andmembersof the Liaison
3. It was agreedthatthe representativesof the undergroundorganisationsshouldhave reasonable
time to formulate otherissuesfordiscussionforfinal settlement.
A supplementary agreement, detailing the process of depositing arms as per Clause 2 of Shillong
Accord of 1975, was signed on 5 January 1976. The agreement included the implementation
process of Clause 2, including the modalities for housing the underground members in peace
1. It was decidedthatthe collectionof arms,initiallyatcollectioncentres,wouldcommenceas
earlyas possible,andwill be completedby25 January1976. Initial placesof collectiontobe
organisationsandthe membersof the LiaisonCommittee.
2. Once all arms are collected,thesewillbe handedovertoPeace Council teamatthe respective
3. Peace Council teamwill arrange totransportthe arms from collectioncentrestoChedema
peace camp and arrange guards,etc.,for safe custodyof arms.
4. Similararrangementatagreedplace/placeswill be made inManipurwiththe concurrence of
the Manipur Government.
5. The undergroundmaystay at peace campsto be establishedatsuitable places,andtheir
maintenance willbe arrangedonlybythe Peace Council.Anyvoluntarycontributionfromany
source will be made tothe Peace Council whowill utilize the fundaccordingtonecessity.
The signing of Shillong Accord appears to have provided the final solution for the last twenty-
years of conflict that inflicted suffering and neglect; accordingly, a large-scale of arms were
surrendered, and the villagers enthusiastically participated in persuading the Naga underground
rebels to come out and join the mainstream. The agreement also seems to be a victory for Indian
government as Naga rebels agreed to accept the Indian constitution of their own volition, agreed
to deposit the arms, and formulate other issues for discussions as part of final settlement.
The detractors and critics of the Shillong Accord maintained that the Clause 3 that stated
"reasonable time for the underground representatives to formulate other issues for discussion for
the final settlement," still remained unimplemented -- as most of the Naga people and the Naga
National Council(NNC) leaders abroad didn't agree to endorse the agreement. They even
criticized saying that the agreement was signed by "representatives of the Naga underground,"
rather than the organizations like NNC or the Federal Government of Nagaland(FGN).
However, many Nagas, who were not reconciled being part of Indian union of states, condemned
the agreement that ultimately created factionalism among the rebels. When the negotiations were
going on before signing the agreement, it is said that Isak Chisi Swu, then-NNC Vice-president,
and Thuingaleng Muivah, then-NNC General secretary, with 150 rebels were on their way back
from China and Burma-Naga territory where they established their base. Some critics also point
out that Phizo, then-NNC president and who was in exile from 1956 in London, neither endorsed
nor renounced the agreement; though, his younger brother Kevi Yalley represented underground
organizations and signed Shillong Accord. It is also believed that both Isak and Muivah tried
their best to convince some of their colleagues, especially Phizo to condemn the agreement,
including sending a seven-member delegation urging Phizo to condemn the Shillong Accord
without delay; however, it looks Phizo remained silent and their voice went unheard.
Formation of NSCN and it’s break up
Both Isakand Muivahafterfive yearsof signingthe accord,decidedtorestore the damagedimage of
the NNCfor havingacceptedthe Indianconstitution,openlyrejectedthe agreementtermingitasa
"betrayal"bythe NNCand censureditas a complete "sell-out"of the Nagarights,includingderogatory
remarksagainstPhizo,andswore to fightfor unquestionablesovereignty;thus,the trioMuivah,Isaac
and S. Khaplangcreated National SocialistCouncil of Nagaland(NSCN)breaking-up[abandoning] from
theiroldorganizationNNCon2 February1980. NSCN,inspite of emergingasa strongrebel group,
The NSCN had started life demanding the creation of “Greater Nagaland” or “Nagalim”. This
would be sovereign Naga territory, wedged between India and Myanmar. It did not recognise
existing national borders or state boundaries. It would consist of the Naga-dominated areas of
Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as parts of Myanmar to unite 1.2 millionNagas
By 1988, NSCN wasfurthersplinteredontribal linesintotwodifferentfactions—NSCN(K),under
Khaplangleadership,andNSCN(IM),underIsakandMuivahleadership.Afterthe deathof Phizoon30
April 1990 in London,NNCfurthersplinteredintotwomore factions—NNC(A),underPhizo'sdaughter
Adinoleadership,andNNC(K),ledbypreviousNNCVice-presidentKhodaoYanthan. This accord was
rejected as a sell-out to the Indian government. This led to bloody internecine clashes as both
factions sought to establish their dominance in Nagaland.
GOI Initiative for peaceful settlement
The government established contacts with the NSCN-IM in the mid-1990s to explore the
possibility of holding peace talks. Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao met Muivah and Swu in
Paris in June 1995. Late Union minister Rajesh Pilot, an old northeast hand, played a key role in
wooing the Naga rebels to the negotiating table during meetings in Thailand, where the NSCN-
IM leaders established a base and acquired several businesses.
This was followed by contacts by Rao’s successor HD Deve Gowda and other senior government
officials, mostly in Europe and Thailand, before the two sides agreed to a ceasefire in July 1997
to pave the way for talks.
The NSCN-K too agreed to a truce with the government and began peace talks in 2000. In 2012,
the UPA government formulated an agreement to be signed with the Naga groups, but it was shot
down by Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress.
In March 2015 the Khaplangfaction,led byS.S.Khaplang,broke the ceasefire withIndiaandis
suspectedtobe behindaseriesof violentattacksinMizoramandArunachal Pradesh,where 18
personnel were killedinanattackon an Armyconvoywhichattracted surgical operationbyIndianArmy
across IndoMynamar border.
Naga Peace Accord of 03 Aug 2015
The group of NSCN(IM) met Mr. Modi in June this year and demanded a lasting solution to the
Naga problem. Mr. Mazamo added: “We want integration and want all arbitrary boundaries
The government signed a peace accord with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-
Muivah), one of the largest insurgent outfits. The agreement was the culmination of over 80
rounds of negotiations spanning 16 years, with the first breakthrough coming in 1997 when a
ceasefire agreement was sealed with NSCN.
R.N. Ravi, the Naga interlocutor, signed the accord with the NSCN-IM at a much publicised
ceremony at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence. Besides Mr. Modi, Home Minister
Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval were present. The details of the accord
were not released by the government, and there is no clarity on the “sovereignty clause,” being
demanded by the insurgent group.
Besides the IM faction, there are two more groups — Khole-Kitovi (KK) and Reformation (R)
— were not part of the accord.
They signed a ceasefire agreement with the government till April 27, 2016.
Before the agreement was signed, Mr. Modi spoke to leaders of various parties, including the
former Prime Ministers, Manmohan Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda, Mallikarjun Kharge of the
Congress, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, Mayawati of the BSP, Nationalist Congress
Party chief Sharad Pawar and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
PM also spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart
Jayalalithaa, besides Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya and Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang
and DMK president M. Karunanidhi.
The 'accord' was really a "framework agreement" on how to proceed with setting the terms of a
According to sources, the "framework" agreed upon by the NSCN (IM) rules out not only
sovereignty but also any change in state boundaries. The latter means that territorial integrity of
states like Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, which comprise Naga-inhabited areas, will
remain intact. The framework also has the Naga rebel outfit agree to disarming of its cadres,
though the finer procedural details will only be worked out through further negotiations.
Naga problem was a legacy of British rule, says Modi
After the government signed a peace accord with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland
(Isak-Muivah) on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Unfortunately, the Naga
problem has taken so long to resolve because we did not understand each other. It is a legacy of
the British rule. The colonial rulers had, by design, kept the Nagas isolated and insulated. They
propagated terrible myths about the Nagas in the rest of the country…They also spread negative
ideas about the rest of India among the Naga people. This was part of the well-known policy of
divide and rule of the colonial rulers.”
Joyson Mazamo of Naga Hoho, the apex body of the Naga tribes, told The Hindu: “Until and
unless we see the contents of the accord, it is difficult to say anything. We were not involved in
the talks with the government, though. The I-M group does not represent the entire Nagas but it
has popular support.”
After Monday’s accord, NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, who signed the
pact, said in a statement, “Better understanding has been arrived at and a framework agreement
has been concluded, based on the unique history and position of the Nagas and recognising the
universal principle that in a democracy sovereignty lies with the people.”
He said: “After decades of confrontation and untold sufferings, the Nagas decided to have
political dialogue with the Government of India in view of the acknowledgement that the
government will seek a peaceful solution, leaving aside the military solution.”
What does the new 'historic' Naga peace accord have that the Shillong Accord of 1975 did
Will the terms of the new agreement go any further?
There will be no tinkering with the existing territorial boundaries of states, government sources
have said. However, “cultural integration of Nagas living in states other than Nagaland will be
facilitated through special measures”. It would also provide for the financial and administrative
autonomy of the Naga-dominated areas in other states. The broad outline of the deal gives rise to
The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India contains provisions concerning the
administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Financial
and administrative autonomy could take the form of giving these powers to the Naga-districts in
Manipur. Till now, the hill districts of Manipur (which include the districts that NSCN and
others wanted for Nagalim) have depended on Imphal for their funds. The application of the
Sixth Schedule has been a contested issue in Manipur. With Sixth Schedule status, the councils
may also be funded by the Centre, reducing their dependence on the state government.
For decades, Manipur has been caught in a mesh of insurgencies, stemming from issues of
identity and the demand for greater self-determination. Clashing ethnic identities and the
counter-insurgency measures of the government have left the state distraught. Under the new
peace accord, will minority tribes in a district with Sixth Schedule powers be prepared to live by
the customary laws of the majority tribe?
It’s not as if all Nagas have the same customary law. “There is a lot of diversity in the customary
laws of the Nagas themselves,” says Phanjoubam, “the Nagas, the Maos, the Hohos, everyone
has different beliefs.” These laws would have to be harmonised. “It can be done but it cannot be
done tomorrow,” he said.
Why only the NSCN(IM)?
In Nagaland, the first of many questions is, how broad is this peace? The government has signed
a deal with just one of the many – though one of the biggest – insurgent groups operating in the
state. At the ceremony where the Agreement was signed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said:
"Our oldest insurgency is getting resolved, it is a signal to other smaller groups to give up
But will the other groups acquiesce? What complicates matters is that, based on the information
in the public domain, the deal holds concessions only for Nagas in Manipur which t might have
something to do with the NSCN(IM)’s composition.
And what of Naga sovereignty?
The other anxiety in Nagaland surrounds the question of sovereignty, so crucial to the NSCN’s
original demands. Says Phanjoubam, “There is nothing in this for the people of Nagaland – no
Nagalim, no sovereignty.” Probably it may be diluted in favour of greater economic autonomy,
more stakes in the extraction of mineral resources, for instance? Or even greater autonomy at the
grassroot level, through Sixth Schedule powers?
Prime MinisterNarendraModi promisedtoconsultnortheasternstatesinfinalizationof the detailsof
the peace accord signedwithNSCN(I-M).
The Manipur chief ministerandalsohisNagalandcounterpartTR Zeliangseparatelymetthe Prime
Ministerhere duringwhichthe issue relatedtothe Nagapeace accord was discussed.
"Manipurchief ministerwasinformedthateverythingwouldbe discussedwiththe state governments
concernedbefore finalisationof the accord,"a state governmentstatement.
A similarassurance wasgiventoZeliang .
Naga accord rules out sovereignty, map change