Local, non-local bogey raised as NSCN-IM pressured to go for Naga settlement

Nagaland today is a land where tenants dream to be landlords by harassing the owners, Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) said.
Image of tribals in Nagaland used for representational purpose. (Photo|Hemanta Singha/EPS)
Image of tribals in Nagaland used for representational purpose. (Photo|Hemanta Singha/EPS)

GUWAHATI: Pressure is mounting on the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) to go for the settlement of the protracted “Naga political issue”.

An amalgam of seven other Naga extremist groups raised the bogey of locals and non-locals as the NSCN-IM has stuck to its guns on the demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution, which delayed the long-cherished settlement.

“Nagaland today is a land where tenants, with Government of India’s help, dream to be landlords through harassing and brutalising the owners with symbolic tools like integration (of Naga areas), flag, constitution, Pan Naga Hoho etc,” the Working Committee of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) said in a statement issued late Monday evening, hours before the NSCN-IM’s crucial “national assembly” on Tuesday.

Most top leaders of the NSCN-IM, including its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, are Manipur Nagas. The leaders of the NNPGs are mostly Nagas from Nagaland.

The NSCN was formed in 1980 and it suffered a split in 1988. One group, led by the late Isak Chishi Swu and Muivah, came to be known as NSCN-IM. The late SS Khaplang, a Burmese Naga, led the other group, NSCN-K.

The Working Committee of the NNPGs said back then, the NSCN-IM leaders, who did not own a hut, were welcomed by the “hospitable” Nagas to Nagaland.

“Today, in the name of political dialogue, the Government of India has facilitated southern Naga IM leaders to extort our people and utilize much of Nagaland’s money to buy and develop farmlands and construct mansions and other assets in…India and abroad.”

“With such grandiose luxury accumulated over three decades, it is very easy to hide behind powerful slogans like greater Nagalim, flag, constitution etc., to soak in the wealth of Nagaland for few more decades…” the statement further said.

Recently, the NSCN-IM rejected the Centre’s offer of the use of the Naga flag for cultural purposes.

“It is unthinkable for NSCN to accept Naga national flag as cultural flag as hinted by Government of India. Naga national flag that symbolizes Naga political identity is not negotiable,” the NSCN-IM had said.

But the Working Committee of the NNPGs said, “Nagas cannot be prevented by wrapping oneself cosy in extra-large Naga flag, unwritten Naga constitution or Naga integration. These elements will be most precious and desirable if Naga tribes rely on practical aspects rather than be a slave to sentiment and emotion.”

The NNPGs are ready for settlement and they have already stated the contentious issues could be pursued post-settlement.

For the past few months, the NSCN-IM has been under tremendous pressure to go for a solution. In March, Nagaland minister and BJP leader Temjen Imna Along had ruffled its feathers by stating that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said the Nagas would not achieve a separate flag and constitution even in 400 years.

Then, in a hard-hitting statement, Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton, also of the BJP, had said some senior insurgent leaders were averse to the solution so that they could continue to enjoy the comforts of life with money collected as taxes and through extortion.

It was followed by former Chief Minister SC Jamir’s statement that an “earthquake” was staring at Nagaland with its epicentre in Delhi. Later, Kuzholuzo Nienu, who is an MLA, stated that it was a “take it or leave it” moment for the NSCN-IM.

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