Politics of isolating the NSCN (IM) Acid test for Th Muivah
Isolate the NSCN (IM). This seems to be the mantra of quite a handful of power players whose presence can be felt but who still are invisible. It is this hand which can be felt/seen in the growing polarisation amongst some groups of the Naga people spread across the States of Nagaland, Manipur and now Arunachal Pradesh. It was not a floodgate, but one could see it coming out in all its manifestation once the United Naga Council, the apex organisation of the Nagas of Manipur, cautioned one and all not to repeat the 16 Point Agreement, a pact that was signed during the Naga People’s Convention of 1960. It is given to understand that no representative of the Naga armed group, read as the Naga National Council back in 1960, was a party to the 1960 Pact. The said Pact led to the formation of Nagaland State in 1963, but obvious that it did not come anywhere near addressing the armed movement of the Nagas. It may have been a co-incidence, but none would have missed that the anti-16 Point Agreement stand of the UNC came just a day or two after the NSCN (IM) made it clear that it will not tolerate a repeat of the 16 Point Agreement. A line which amounts to saying that it would not accept anything that falls short of what it sees as substantive-Flag and Constitution. Or as news agency IANS reported from New Delhi on June 8, the bone of contention could be something else, which is the proposal to form a Pan Naga Hoho. What exactly the Pan Naga Hoho would entail is still not very clear, but it could go beyond the territorial boundary of Nagaland and this is something which civil society organisations of the neighbouring States, particularly Manipur, would or should have wisened to. This apart, what however stands clear today is that pressure is being mounted on the NSCN (IM) to come on board and agree to what is being laid down and the public announcement of prominent organisations of the Zeliangrong bodies of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland that they would back the stand of the NNPGs fall along this line. The only question is how far the reach of the NNPGs is, say in Manipur or even Arunachal Pradesh.
The politics of peace or peace talk is certainly getting more and more interesting. Now as Zeliangrong organisations of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland have spoken out their stand, can one expect the other Naga organisations like the Mao Union, Naga People’s Organisation of Senapati, the Tangkhul Naga Long, etc to come forward and state their stand or back what the UNC has had to say ? The answer, if it comes, may be sooner than later, but the pressure being mounted on the NSCN (IM) is already clear. The politics of dividing the Naga people spread across boundaries must have obviously gone against the dream and political aspiration of the NSCN (IM), for it runs counter to their much tom-tommed concept of a Nagalim or Southern Nagaland or Greater Lim. In bringing in the NNPGs to the negotiating table in 2017, New Delhi may be seen to have pulled out an ace from its sleeve to corner the NSCN (IM) but the bigger question is whether a final pact without the NSCN (IM) can really be said to have resolved the Naga political issue. It will be interesting to see how things unfold, and for all the political astuteness shown so far, it is important for the top leadership of the NSCN (IM) to at least acknowledge that the Nagas of Manipur have a lot more in common with the Meiteis of Manipur and other communities here then they have with the Nagas of Nagaland and elsewhere. The peace process is now 25 years old, and remember a child born back then could well have got married and settled down with a family of his or her own now. This is how time has sped by and Thuingaleng Muivah was 25 years younger when the peace process started. This fact better get registered in the minds of everyone.