In his eagerness to bring the NSCN-IM to the negotiating table, it is believed that the government interlocutor, Ravi, assured Muivah that about 5,000 cadres of the NSCN-IM would be drafted into the Border Security Force (BSF) as part of their rehabilitation process.
The practical difficulties in implementing this plan and the consequent deep differences within the various wings of the central government are what have held up the nearly-orphaned accord. These pre-conditions for clinching the framework have become a major sore point for various arms of the government – the Home Ministry, the Department of Personnel Administration and Training (DoPT), and the governments of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Assam – the concept of greater Nagaland (Nagalim), as espoused by the NSCN-IM, is intended to be carved out of these very states.
Home Ministry sources say that the demand was quite absurd, and should have been dismissed right away, if not for anything else but for the fact that the NSCN’s cadre strength was hardly above 1,000. “I do not know why the interlocutor had to make such a promise,” said the above mentioned officer.
Two problems have cropped up because of this assurance. One, Muivah is insisting that the recruitment/qualification criterion for BSF be diluted to appoint his cadres and two, he has had to suddenly bump up his cadre strength to 5,000!
As of now, the DoPT has rejected the proposal to recruit 5,000 cadres of NSCN-IM because most of them are not fit to be inducted into a central paramilitary force (CPMF). This refusal of the DoPT is bound to upset Muivah who has mobilised over 4,000 additional cadres and is training them in various camps around Dimapur.
The second problem has the makings of a tragicomedy. Muivah may have quickly scrambled together 4,000 additional “cadres” because there is no dearth of unemployed youth, but he’s having a bit of a problem training them enough to qualify for recruitment into BSF. Muivah has raised nearly five battalions of “cadre” currently undergoing training in various camps around Dimapur. But he does not have the equipment to train such a large force that has emerged out of nowhere. As a result, he is procuring plastic replica of the American M16 assault rifles in large numbers from a toy maker in Noida, near New Delhi, to familiarise his just-born cadres with the weapon.
This is a comical situation, but nobody is laughing. Because Muivah’s statement about making “Naga sovereignty” a non-negotiable issue carries an underlying tone of threat that if his cadres are not absorbed into the BSF, he will open old demands. A bigger concern for the central government arising out of this outlandish BSF job mela is this: The Naga secessionist group, which had become a dysfunctional, discredited and a moribund entity, has got a fresh lease of life since the “historic” accord last year. It’s ranks have suddenly swelled with the promise of thousands of jobs in the air and if those jobs do not come through, who knows what spurned unemployed youth can do. Even if they have only toy guns.
That’s why you don’t hear much about the Nagaland framework accord in New Delhi these days. (Agencies)