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BJP assures that Naga peace accord will not encroach intrests of north-east states

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New Delhi: In response to the opposition for allegedly keeping the nation in the dark about the Naga peace accord, the BJP on Saturday said the Centre had taken the Nagaland chief minister onboard while firming up the accord and assured that it will not impinge on the interests of states bordering Nagaland.

Source: Google images
Source: Google images

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Saturday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh here, and sought a copy of the accord signed between the central government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) on August 3.

The Congress has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government of signing the peace accord without taking any stakeholder into confidence, and overlooking the Constitution in doing so.

BJP leader and union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang was kept in the loop and had met Modi two days before the accord was inked.

“The chief minister has been continuously in dialogue with the prime minister and he met him even today (Saturday),” she said.

Zeliang on Saturday met Modi and said that states bordering Nagaland need not worry about their territory, but added that the content of the peace accord was not yet out.

“I also do not know anything about the accord. There is a need for the government to solve the Naga issue and it is doing it steadily,” Zeliang told a TV channel after meeting Modi.

He said he will meet Naga peace talks interlocuter R.N. Ravi on August 16 over the issue.

In Guwahati, union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju accused the chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh of having initially welcomed the peace accord and later backtracking.

“The chief ministers are making contradictory statements on the direction of (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi which was not a good sign,” Rijiju said and appealed to the Congress not to politicise the issue.

Rijiju said the security scenario has improved in the northeast but it needs to be improved further.

“The central government wants to develop the region as a commercial hub with its neighbours and improved security scenario is a prerequisite for this. This peace accord will help improve the security scenario in the region further,” he said.

The three northeastern states bordering Nagaland on Friday accused Modi of not consulting them.

Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh on Saturday called on Modi at his 7, Race Course Road residence in Delhi. The prime minister assured the Manipur chief minister that everything would be discussed with the states concerned before the accord is finalised.

Ibobi Singh then met Rajnath Singh at his residence at 17, Akbar Road. He sought a copy of the peace accord, saying the people of Manipur were anxious to know its details and had apprehensions that it would affect the territorial integrity of the state.

Rajnath Singh assured Ibobi Singh that the accord was just a framework and that it would not affect the territorial boundary of the neighbouring states.

He said the central government would invite the states for discussion while working out the final shape of the accord.

R.N. Ravi, the central government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, was present during the meeting.

On Friday, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala, addressing a press conference attended by the chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, said Modi “ignored the basic principal of cooperative federalism (by signing the accord on his own)”.

He said Modi did not even consult any of the three seniormost chief ministers — Tarun Gogoi of Assam, Nabam Tuki of Arunachal Pradesh and Ibobi Singh of Manipur.

Surjewala termed the government’s contention that it had consulted Gogoi, Tuki and Ibobi Singh on the accord as “a blatant lie”.

The three chief ministers have declared that they will not cede an inch of land for the accord.

One of the NSCN-IM’s most contentious demand has been the creation of Nagalim or Greater Nagaland comprising all Naga-inhabited areas of the northeast, which according to officials, had been “set aside for now”.

(IANS)

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What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

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Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)