Tough talk from Th Muivah ‘Till last man standing’

Will never join Indian Union nor accept India’s Constitution. Tough talk and not surprising that it should come from Thuingaleng Muivah, the general secretary of the NSCN (IM) during an exclusive chat with The Wire on October 16. Eighty six years old, but the number pales when pitted against the fire that still seems to burn in the pit of the octogenarian leader of the oldest armed movement in the North East region. That it should come at this point of time when the peace process or political dialogue is reportedly caught in a deadlock with the NSCN (IM) not budging from its demand for a separate flag and Constitution, is again not surprising. From the interview given to Karan Thapar on The Wire it is clear that to Thuingaleng Muivah, the demand for a separate flag and Constitution is perfectly in line with the ‘fact’ that the Nagas were never a part of the Indian Union, neither by conquest nor by any agreement or pact. In short there is nothing documented to show that the Naga people  had come under the Indian Union, was his stand. It is this which has made the history of the Nagas unique, was his line of argument and to give it more substance, Th Muivah repeatedly pointed out that the Government of India too has accepted the ‘unique history of the Nagas.’ Since the Government of India has accepted the unique history of the Nagas, it is natural that the final pact has to be unique, was his line of argument and it was on this line that the NSCN (IM) general secretary dismissed any comparison with Kashmir whose flag and Constitution were withdrawn by the Government of India. Radical, this is what many will see in the stand of the 86 years old Th Muivah, but the fact that he still has his stand clear is what needs to be acknowledged by everyone.
Now with Th Muivah having spoken out his mind in clear cut terms, the question is on the fate of the ongoing peace talks. Till the last man standing, was a line used by the rebel leader and one definitely see the defiance in his tone and stand and that this should be so when a large number of civil society organisations in Nagaland seem amenable to the idea of a final pact sans the Constitution and flag is what makes his stand all that more noteworthy. Again it is not only the CSOs of Nagaland, but the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which has made it clear that it is ready to sign the final pact sans the flag and Constitution, explaining that these are subjects which can be pursued in due course of time. With the Government of India hinting on more than one occasion, with the occasional leaks to the media, that it could go ahead and sign the final pact sans the NSCN (IM), the question that is doing the round is, what then ? Will one see the days of the late 70s and early 80s after the Shillong Accord was signed in 1975 and there was bloodshed wherever the writ of the NSCN (IM) ran large ? If such a situation becomes the reality then rest be assured that it would not be a one way traffic and the chances of the hunter becoming the hunted too cannot be ruled out at all. The 21st century is no longer the late 70s and early 80s. This is what is worrying. Still not clear how the Government of India would have taken the stand of Th Muivah, but what is clear is that the general secretary of the NSCN (IM) has not minced words and he has made the stand of the outfit clear before the world.