GUWAHATI: Thuingaleng Muivah, the “Ato Kilonser” (Prime Minister) of extremist group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), on Friday said the Nagas would co-exist with India but not merge with it.
In his 74th “Naga Independence Day” speech, he said the Government of India, through the Framework Agreement that was signed in 2015, had recognized the Naga sovereignty as it speaks of inclusive peaceful co-existence of the two entities sharing sovereign power.
The octogenarian rebel leader said ‘inclusive’ meant all Nagas in different administrative units and political camps are to be included in the agreement. The co-existence of the two entities is self-explanatory. It means the two peoples and nations will co-exist, he argued.
“Political and legal experts admit the terms ‘co-existence’ and ‘shared-sovereignty’ apply to two entities, not one entity. The Nagas will co-exist with India sharing sovereign powers as agreed in the Framework Agreement and defined in the competencies. But they will not merge with India,” Muivah asserted.
Giving a historical perspective of the Naga movement, he said the Nagas had fought back the British imperialist forces for decades and declared independence on August 14, 1947, on the eve of lapse of the British power. In 1950, he said, the “Constituent Assembly” of India had invited the Nagas to join the Union of India but it was rejected by the Nagas. He said they had also rejected the offer of joining the Union of Burma.
“This historical fact was reaffirmed by the subsequent conduct of plebiscite in 1951 where 99.9% of the Naga people voted in favour of sovereign independent Nagalim,” Muivah said.
He narrated how former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had sent armed forces to subjugate the Nagas with “brute force”. He also spoke about events preceding the NSCN-IM’s signing of a ceasefire agreement in 1997 after then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao had officially invited the group for a political talk in Paris, France.
“… The unique history of the Nagas was finally recognized by the BJP-led NDA government on July 11, 2002, during the tenure of former Prime Minister of India late Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Late (NSCN-IM chairman) Mr. Isak Chishi Swu and I came to India on official invitations consecutively in 2002, 2005 and 2010 by the Government of India for expediting the negotiations with more seriousness in frequent consultations with the Prime Minister of India,” Muivah said.
He said during the talks, the outfit had clearly spelled out the political stand of the Nagas that they were not asking for a sovereign and independent Naga nation from India.
“Nagas have been a free and sovereign independent people from time immemorial. Ours is a case of aggression on Nagalim by India and Myanmar. It is the Naga national resistance movement against aggressors where Nagas of all ages, genders, and status except a few traitors are involved…
“The Naga people have neither accepted the Union of India nor her Constitution at any point of time. History will ever speak of that fact. We will not accept them today and even in days to come. We have also told them that Nagas and Indians are two poles apart in terms of history, race, identity, culture, language, geography, political concept, and faith. Except for the common security and common commercial interests, we have nothing in common,” Muivah said.
He also spoke on the contentious issues of separate “Naga national flag” and “Naga constitution”.
“We are not asking for Naga national flag and constitution from the Government of India. Recognize them or no, we have our own flag and constitution. Flag and constitution are ingredients of our recognized sovereign entity and the symbols of Naga nationhood. The Nagas must keep their flag and constitution,” he added.