After Thuingaleng Muivah who ? Second rung leadership of IM

After Thuingaleng Muivah who ? This question gains credence in the backdrop of the fact that the NSCN (IM) supremo is in the winter of his life at 84. This is a question which must have done the round amongst the Naga people and even within the group he heads-the NSCN (IM). More importantly will anyone who succeed him be able to steer the journey of the armed organisation and the Naga people as effectively as he has done for so many decades ? As reported in The Week, there is as such no succession plan. So will there be a scramble amongst the senior cadres of the outfit to fill in for Muivah when the time comes ? If and when the final accord with the Centre is signed, then will the NSCN (IM) as an organisation continue to exist in whatever new avatar it takes or will it be given the formal burial ? These are all speculative questions at the moment, but sooner than later, the reality has to be faced and given the visionary leader that he is, Th Muivah must have surely started looking at all the possible avenues or must have looked and finalised the important points that need to be addressed. It is not for nothing why the report of his sickness was given so much publicity not only in Nagaland but in the neighbouring States too, and a look at the reality should tell its own story. The organisation that he heads is today regarded one of the most powerful and influential outfits in the North East region and reaching this ‘status’ could not have been possible without the quality of the people who lead from the front. And this is exactly what Muivah has been doing all these years. Like or hate him, there is just no way that one can ignore Th Muivah and herein lies the persona of the man.
Who are the people widely regarded as the second rung leaders within the NSCN (IM) ? This question is important for here one is talking about lieutenants, people who have been able to earn the trust and confidence of the top leaderships of the outfit and by extension the confidence of people on whose behalf the outfit first took up the guns and is today negotiating with the Government of India. And this is where Muivah and the leadership of the NSCN (IM) need to take a fresh look over their demands put up before New Delhi. Any demand for the Nagas need not necessarily mean dismembering any other neighbouring State, notably Manipur. Any solution that is worked out should ensure that the future of the Nagas is not put in conflict with the others, particularly the Meiteis of Manipur and elsewhere in the North East. As neighbours there are bound to be differences between the Nagas and the Meiteis, but this should not mean that a final solution should hammer in the last nail in the coffin of the relationship between the two communities. The NSCN (IM) and Th Muivah in particular cannot and should not try to turn a blind eye to the close relationships between the people of Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel, Senapati and the Meiteis who are settled in the valley of Manipur. Just how close this affinity is can be gauged during any train journey to mainland India when say a Tangkhul encounters a Meitei on the train. Can anyone in the NSCN (IM) deny this ? This reality should be kept in mind and in respecting this reality, Th Muivah can and will emerge a taller leader, a leader of not only the NSCN (IM) and the Nagas but a leader of the region.

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