Naga Peace Accord: Can NSCN-IM start afresh?
The people of Nagaland have literally paid for the bullets that could shoot them anytime. Muivah has also crippled society through inter-community disputes and genocides.
Through this article, the author establishes the pattern that led to mass hatred against TH Muivah. How his acts of violence have now rendered him defenseless and he is constantly hit by blames and distrust. The author in a very minor way tries to join the dots of Muivah’s past deeds and present condition.
The stage had been set, intentions finalized and deliberations done. In the tenth month of 2019, a solution to the overly prolonged Naga peace talks seemed imminent. The people of the state were happy and hopeful- they were seeing rays of sunshine in their grim saga of violence and all eyes were set at the negotiating parties.
However, though, the agreement has been caught up in unnecessary turmoil. How did this dip come about in the rising graph? That was because the prime negotiator of the Naga people- TH Muivah and his faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN IM) erupted like a volcano on the unsuspecting populace and started burning their hopes of peace through lava of “Separate constitution and flag” which had no place in the framework Agreement.
This knot of why the NSCN IM created an intentional deadlock is not too difficult to detangle, Muivah has his future secured via not letting the peace talks conclude. But while the talks were being conducted in the national capital, arguments made, issues deliberated upon and discussions were taking place… The people of Nagaland were not only hopeful, but they were also observant.
They observed an undying pattern- of Muivah repeatedly shutting down any avenue of peace. He has been a perpetual vandalizer– he sabotaged peace in 1966, he condemned the Shillong accord of 1975, handed over Chinese guns to the youth of Nagaland, monopolized the aspirations of Naga people in 1997 by claiming to be the only stakeholder and finally in 2019 too, he brought in a forced angle of ‘constitution and flag’; all of this to keep the pot boiling and this was where the patience of every concerned Naga citizen brimmed over.
The fact that NSCN- IM is loathed by common people comes to the limelight through a statement made by The Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), wherein they urged the interlocutor R N Ravi to sign the peace deal at the earliest with or without the NSCN-IM. This happened in March 2020 and was probably the first time NSCN IM was publicly discredited. This opened flood gates and hate came pouring from every direction.
The people of Nagaland are tired of being a bait to one man’s greed and this general sentiment is reflected in many statements by civil societies and organizations- Nagaland Gaon Burha Federation, 14 Tribal Hohos, NNPGs, NTC, CNTC and many more. They collectively called out NSCN, stripped them of any and every right of being the sole mouthpiece of Naga political sentiment and disowned the organization.
But ‘why now?’ one may ponder. Because the people of Nagaland have been living in an era of terror; they feared for their life! And this is not an exaggerated hypothesis. This is the truth.
In “Nagaland and TH Muivah’s terrorist activities” published in 2005, authored by W. Shapwon Heimi, a detailed account of atrocities that NSCN IM unleashed on the people of Nagaland is provided. On page 20 of the aforementioned book, Heimi states “…In this plan, they summoned all the Naga national leaders and Naga army officers for a meeting for mutual understanding through a compromise formula. The Naga national leaders and Naga army officers welcomed the meeting programme as a good gesture for unity among themselves, and thus, they came for the meeting. But Muivah and Isak captured all of their opponents and killed them. Because they refused to accept Muivah’s socialist political ideology.”
Further, he states on page 46 states “…In the last twenty-five years, the Isak-Muivah group had committed horrendous atrocities on the Naga people such as killings, massacres, torturing, threatening, intimidation, kidnapping, robbery, looting, money extortion, etc” and goes on to list the atrocities.
In a report titled “Genocide committed by IM Terrorists under the leadership of Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah (From 1989 to 2005) published in 2006, one can find an illustrated account of how IM terrorists uprooted 275 villages of Manipur state in the pretext of Naga-Kuki conflict; killed about 160 people of Sumi community, 71 Chakesang people, 59 people of Lotha community, and 836 people of Kuki community. All of these were innocent common men who wanted peace, development, and prosperity; their fault? Only one- not agreeing with Muivah.
Additionally, NSCN stands for the National Socialist Council of Nagaland … socialism is at the core of NSCN’s ideology. The constitution that it vehemently is demanding to be recognized as the separate constitution of Nagaland is based entirely on principles of Communism and at the same time has been rejected unanimously by the Naga society. This is because socialist or communist ideology alike will certainly eradicate the Naga identity. Nagas are proud people and having the state exercise all control on their land, produce, customary laws will never be acceptable to them. They will not let the blanket of homogeneity crush their identity. And homogeneity is all that Muivah will bring. Thus, bringing the storm to a smooth sailing voyage towards peace in the name of a constitution that will deny Nagas their identity has not gone well with the people.
Muivah has also broken the backbone of Naga society economically by extorting money. On 29th June the NSCN IM, in response to the Hon’ble Governor’s letter responded saying that they levy ‘taxes’ on the people. What authority does an underground militant group has to levy taxes? And what is this money used for? The people of Nagaland have literally paid for the bullets that could shoot them anytime. Muivah has also crippled society through inter-community disputes and genocides.
Today, their rage has finally erupted and it has consumed Muivah’s dreams. They have decided that they do not need a mouth piece. They believe that Muivah is a mere outsider, commonly called ‘Manipuri Naga’ on various social media platforms. An outsider who has ruined the foundation of the Naga Society through barrels of his gun. Muivah is a man who has been blissfully swimming the river of blood having a gala time but now the river is drying up. At this point, it is upon the NSCN IM to decide which path to pick- of peace or oblivion.
(Anandita Singh is a research scholar at Centre for North East Studies, New Delhi. )