Nagas and India will remain two separate entities : Thuingaleng Muivah-VII
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.
TM : You’re right, you’re right because that is the history.
KT : About ten days ago, it emerged that you wrote to the Prime Minister – I think on February 25 – saying that there was a serious deadlock and, you said, that the talks must now happen at the highest level, which I presume means the Prime Minister-
TM : Yes, yes.
KT : That they should happen without precondition, and that they should happen outside India in – what you called – a third country.
TM : Sure, sure, sure. I said that.
KT : What reply did you get from the Prime Minister?
TM : You know, we have not received officially [a reply from] the Prime Minister himself. We have not yet received.
KT : Eight months, nearly, have gone by. You’ve got no official reply. Have you got an unofficial reply ?
TM : You know, after having agreed on many issues, approaching from political angles; of history of the two Nations, two peoples. So since it is a political issue between the Nagas and the Indians, it must be settled at the highest level – Prime Minister level – without any precondition. That was the first point we agreed upon. Yes, Narasimha Rao also said, “Yes, yes.” So, the venue of the talk will have to be outside India, somewhere in third countries. Yes, yes you’re right.
No, no, no. Political issue is a political issue. This political issue, which has been agreed upon by the highest [level] – Prime Minister – has all been betrayed. And, now, the Ministry of Home Affairs is dictating to us now. Ravi is dictating to us. Now, he’s the Governor of Nagaland, now he’s dictating to us. Is that the way, huh? Is that the way? This is the problem! The problem is not with us, but with the Indian Government, you know ? That is why we said, “You are not for a solution.”
KT : Let me put this to you, it is almost impossible to believe that the Prime Minister himself will conduct the discussions, and it’s almost impossible to believe that he will agree to the discussions happening outside India. In which case, what will the NSCN do? If he refuses to talk to you directly, if he refuses that the discussions should happen outside India, what will your organisation do?
TM : Sensible people should not expect that the Nagas will say, “Yes, yes,” to the diktats of the Indian Government. No, the Government of India must respect, according to what we have agreed … but like Nehru, like Morarji Desai, “Without any compulsion we will exterminate the Nagas.” That is how they used to utter. See ? The same thing is being repeated. Of course, to that kind of attitude, Nagas will bow down ? No. No. We’ll stand to the end. Yes, our history is our history. India needs to read [this] history. If they will respect us, we will also respect them. That is now the position.
KT : Muivah, I have to ask you this, I’m asking you bluntly. Are the talks about to breakdown and collapse ? Have you reached that point ?
TM : No, you know, if the Indians would continue to impose their will on us, yes, Nagas will not bow down to the Indians, no. So, that must be the end, that must be the end. And are you to blame us if this thing happened ?
KT : So you are seeing the end of the road ? You are seeing the end of the road ?
TM : Haan, you are right, you are right. That is why we have given our words. Yes, since we have understood each other and our history is also unique and our right is also as you have admitted.
KT : I’m asking you one more time for clarity, this is so important. Is the NSCN close to walking out of the talks ? Are you close to saying, “This has gone on for twenty-three years, we’re not making progress, bye-bye”?
(To be contd)