Palpable inner contradictions Stand of the NNPGs
For the past 25 years or since 1997, the NSCN (IM) has been engaged in a peace process with the Government of India and in the process it must have learnt that the politics of peace is as dicey as the politics of the bush war it waged against the security forces of India. The politics of peace and while the NSCN (IM) has had to negotiate its way through the endless round of political talks at the Prime Minister’s level, it now has to deal with the ‘others’ who are otherwise of the ‘same’ feather, same in the sense that the others too had earlier taken up the gun against the Government of India, batting for sovereignty of Nagaland. To the NSCN (IM), it is not Nagaland alone but all Naga inhabited areas in the North East, particularly Manipur where the largest number of people under the Naga nomenclature live, outside of Nagaland. And Th Muivah and many of the top ranking leaders of the NSCN (IM) are from Manipur. This is why it has been batting for a Greater Lim or a Nagalim co-opting all the Naga inhabited areas in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam under one single administrative unit. It has not been spelt out but the demand for a Flag and a separate Constitution may be intrinsically linked to the demand for a Greater Lim, for a Flag and a Constitution could just be the seed needed to take forward the demand for a Greater Lim. As repeatedly noted in this column, Th Muivah is a far sighted leader and the demand for a Flag and a Constitution could just be the first step towards the realisation of a Greater Lim. This line of thought may become more clear if it is accompanied by the question, ‘if the Flag and Constitution demand is granted, then will the same be applicable only to Nagaland or to all the Naga inhabited areas, which come under the umbrella of Greater Lim or Nagalim as championed by the NSCN (IM) ?’ Geographically integrating all Naga inhabited areas may come later, but if a common Constitution and a common Flag tie these areas together then the next step can be discerned. By saying no to these demands, the Government of India may be saying that it can look beyond 20, 30 or even 50 years hence and since the BJP led Government at New Delhi has already ruled out Greater Lim, it may be saying it will not be a party in sowing the seeds of a Greater Lim. These are all possibilities that come to mind, but significant to note that while the NNPGs has fallen short of stating that it is not against the demand for a Greater Lim, it has not stopped from stating that the Nagas of Manipur will remain in Manipur and not be a part of the final agreement that is to be inked with the Government of India.
It is this inner contradiction which may just prove to be the biggest headache to the NSCN (IM). Now that the NNPGs has gone ahead and come out in the open where they stand in so far as the Nagas of Manipur are concerned, one may expect the NSCN (IM) to also come out with a sort of a rebuttal. One only hopes the differences between them remain on paper and does not go the way it did after the Shillong Accord was signed in 1975. One can still remember the number of ‘Accordists’ who were clinically executed before the anti-Shillong Accord group went to eventually form the NSCN in 1980. That the NSCN split into the IM and K group in 1988 is another manifestation of the inner contradiction within what they say is the longest running insurgency in the North East region of India. It is also significant to note that the stand of the NNPGs is absolutely in sync with what the people of Manipur, other than the Nagas, have been demanding all these years. Any solution inked after the peace dialogue should not compromise with the existence of Manipur as a geo-political reality and this entails the stand that the State Government cannot and should not be by passed in any manner, is the stand and it cannot be clearer than this.