Nagas and India will remain two separate entities : Thuingaleng Muivah-III
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.
But then you added, “They will not merge with India.” What do you mean, “Nagas will not merge with India”? What do you mean by that “merge”?
TM : No, we will not merge. Why ? Because Indians are insisting on their own right ? On their own right but to what extent can that be appreciated or acceptable to us ?
KT : But can you explain to me, when you say you will not “merge”, what do you mean by the word “merge” ?
TM : Of course, merge means we will not become a part of the Indian Union. We will not become.
KT : You will not become part of the Indian Union ?
TM : No, we will not become part of the Indian Union.
KT : You won’t be part of the country called India?
TM : No, we will not become a part of the Indian Union and a part of the Indian Constitution, a part of this or that. Because-
KT : You said you will not be part of the Indian Constitution ?
TM : How can we be under them ? Even if, I say, if we are going to be a party or sharing sovereign right with each other, that has to be worked out.
KT : But this is very important, so I’m clarifying it. You are saying to me you will not accept the Indian Constitution?
*Nods in agreement*
KT : Is that right ?
TM : How can we accept the Indian Constitution ?
KT : If you don’t accept the Indian Constitution that means you won’t be part of India, you’ll be a separate country.
TM : We cannot accept the Indian Constitution as our Constitution. We cannot do that. Why ? Our history is clear, our rights are clear, we were never under the Indians.
KT : But if you cannot accept the Indian Constitution, you won’t be part of the Indian Union. Is that right ?
TM : We will never be a part of the Indian Union.
KT : Never ?
TM : Never.
KT : In which case, India and Nagaland, or Nagalim, as you call it, will be two separate countries.
TM : You know, Nagas, their lands are not to be treated under the Indian Union. That must be clear, that must be made clear. Why ? Because our history is unique.
KT : That I understand, but you’re then talking of a concept of shared sovereignty where Nagaland, or Nagalim, and India are two separate entities and remain two separate entities. This is what you mean when you say you won’t merge, you won’t become one country, you will be a separate country.
TM : We are bound, so long as we are compelled. We are bound, you know, because we cannot place ourselves under anyone. The right of the Nagas, our history, must be respected. If they are going to respect ours, we’re glad to respect theirs also, but to what extent ?
KT : So, I’m just clarifying, you will never be part of the Indian Union, you will never accept the Indian Constitution ?
TM : *nodding*
KT : Yes or no ?
TM : Now, if you’re not respecting our, why should we respect yours ? It’s not possible.
KT : Once again, Muivah, this is the position of your organisation, the NSCN. But other Naga groups, the Naga National Political Groups, have taken a very different view of what is meant by share sovereignty. In a statement that the Naga National Political Groups issued on August 31, they say there is already shared sovereignty in the Indian federal system. They say sovereignty is shared between the States and the Centre along the lines of the Centre list, the State list, the concurrent list. In fact, that statement says, and I’m quoting, “In a nutshell, this is shared sovereignty.” So, for the Naga National Political Groups, sovereignty can be shared within the Indian Constitution between the Centre and the States. They differ from you. Once again, they differ from you.
TM : You know, that was not the decision of the Naga people. Right from the people, the Nagas have made their decision very clear; nothing of that kind has been, I mean, committed to the Indians, or to anyone.
KT : So who do the Naga National Political Groups speak for, when they say that they believe there is already shared sovereignty within the Indian system? You want shared sovereignty from the outside, they say it already exists within the system. Who do they speak for ?
TM : You know, since the starting point needs to be cleared. Yes, were Nagas under the Indian Union or how ? When ? This must be the question because you are claiming that Nagas are under Indian Union.
KT : But, once again, what I’m pointing out is just as Nagas are divided over the importance of a flag and Constitution, your group insists on a flag and Constitution; the Naga National Political Groups are not concerned, they don’t care whether there is one. Similarly, over this issue of sovereignty there is, again a divide. Your group insists that you will not be part of the Indian Union, that you will not accept the Indian constitution; the Naga National Political Groups are prepared to be part of the Indian Union, part of the Indian Constitution. The Nagas are split.
(To be contd)