Kohima, August 12, 2019:

Anxieties are running high in the Northeastern State of Nagaland after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir. After the abrogation of Article 370, many have been questioning whether these poses a threat to the Article 371 of the Constitution, which safeguards the indigenous people of the Northeast.

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After the Centre’s announcement on August 5, it was feared that the safeguards in the Northeast might disappear as well.

Former Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla was the first to sound the ‘red alert’ on Twitter, and newly-floated political party PRISM too warned that this could be a precursor to the eroding of rights Manipur. Assam’s

The provisions of the Article 371 basically protect the rights of the indigenous tribals, and the state that stands to lose the most if these provisions are stripped, is Nagaland.

Article 371 A, which applies to Nagaland, lends the state a fair amount of political autonomy – no act of the Indian Parliament will apply to the state if it interferes with the religious or social practices of the Nagas unless approved by the state legislature. On the other hand, Manipur’s Article 371 C is only restricted to its hills and offers significantly less powers to its hill districts council.

The situation grew so tense in Nagaland that Governor-cum-interlocutor RN Ravi felt it pertinent to clarify that the Government had no plans to scrap the Article in the long-troubled hilly state. Naga nationalist groups are currently in talks with the centre for even more autonomy, and the NSCN (IM) is still in talks with the Government for a ‘Greater Nagaland’: a land that will comprise all Naga-residing areas both in India’s Northeast and in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, frustrated with the slow-moving talks, the Naga organizations are inching closer and closer to rebellion. Amid simmering tensions in the State, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) issued a directive to all the federation units and sub-ordinate bodies to hoist the Naga National Flag at their respective Oking to mark the 73rd Naga Independence Day, on 14th August, 2019.

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