Nagas and India will remain two separate entities : Thuingaleng Muivah-II
The readers must have read the news of this interview on October 17 and many would have seen the interview (recorded or live on October 16) of the interview. Nevertheless the full transcript of the interview which is long, very long, is being reproduced here courtesy The Wire. The interview will be serialised and we hope the readers enjoy it and gain an insight on the subject.
On October 16, in an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, the general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) Thuingaleng Muivah revealed that there are still sharp differences that are separating the NSCN from the Indian government. He repeatedly and forcefully said that the Nagas will never be part of the Indian Union nor will they accept India’s constitution.
He said there could be no compromise on the NSCN’s insistence on a Naga flag and Naga Constitution. “We have stood our ground on these two non-negotiable issues and we shall continue to stand till the last man standing”, he said. Muivah added that Naga organisations like the Naga National Political Groups or several civil society organisations, who are not insisting on a separate flag and Constitution, are “traitors”.
In a 55-minute interview, the 86-year-old Muivah also sharply criticised RN Ravi, the Interlocutor and Nagaland Governor. He says Ravi has “betrayed” the NSCN. He said “he has thrown us away” and that he was acting at the behest of the Home Ministry.
The following is a transcript of the interview, edited lightly for clarity and style.KT : So, you’re saying, on the flag and on the Constitution there is no compromise. You insist you have to have both ?
TM : Yes. Now, allow me to say this. Since Indians have also agreed our sovereign right, our history being unique, yes. Then they said, “Yes you’re right, Nagas have rights. But Indians have difficulties, their own difficulties, and how to solve this?” That is what they started talking. So, we started talking, among the Nagas ourselves, “Since Indians have recognised our rights, our history, and our sovereign right also, we must also try to appreciate their difficulties.”
This must be done. Why ? To come closer to each other. That must be done. That was the step we took and after some months, approvals came from your side, openly declaring : On the basis of shared sovereignty, we have to seek a solution. We have to seek a solution on the basis of shared sovereignty.
KT : I want to talk to you about shared sovereignty. I first spoke to you about the flag and Constitution and you made it clear that because Nagas have a unique history, they should have a unique solution. That unique solution is a flag and Constitution; what has happened to Jammu and Kashmir cannot apply to Nagas. Let’s now come to the second issue which is this question of shared sovereignty.
The Framework Agreement of August 2015, between the NSCN and the Indian Government, speaks of sharing the sovereign power and refers to the Government of India and the NSCN as two entities. Explain to me how do you, how does the NSCN, understand the term ‘sharing the sovereign power’?
TM : Yes, because our history is clear, we are sovereign people. Our history is clear, we were not under anyone. So, our sovereignty is ours. Because history should lay clear.
KT : But what does the term ‘sharing sovereign power’ mean to the NSCN ? How do you interpret it ?
TM : Since that is the proposal coming from your side, we also took the step they have taken seriously. Since they have recognised the unique history of the Nagas and our sovereignty also, we must also try and understand them. That is the step we took, okay ? So, Indians will have to understand this. So, when the Indian authorities, some of them openly said that, “Well, Indians will have to share their sovereignty with Nagas, and the Nagas will have also share their sovereignty with India.” That must be the way to seek solution. That is the idea they started talking. Sharing with us. Okay, if it is so, since they have also become more rational, starting to respect the Nagas. We also took a positive step to understand and appreciate that.
KT : I understand. Both sides, you’re saying, need to share sovereignty with each other. “The Nagas will share sovereignty with the Indians and the Indians will share sovereignty with the Nagas”. That I understand. But let me quote to you what you said on the fourteenth of August last year and, for the sake of the audience, I’ll point out your organisation considers August 14 as the Naga independence day. Now, this is what you said, I’m quoting, “The Nagas will coexist with India, sharing sovereign powers as agreed.”
(To be contd)