Close to common meeting point: Muivah

New Delhi, August 24 : The Indian government and the Nagas have come close to a common meeting point following the signing of a framework peace agreement earlier this month, NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah has said.

“We are also coming closer to the meeting point which is yet to be finalised,” he said in an interview published in the latest issue of the Northeast Sun magazine.

“Naturally, it (the final peace accord) will also revolve around sharing of powers, even sharing of sovereign powers.

“When Naga people’s aspiration is respected by the government of India, and likewise in the same way the Naga people respect the sovereignty of Indians, we will become closer to each other and co-existence of the two entities will be worked out.”

The central government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) signed a framework agreement on August 3 that is expected to lead to a final peace accord.

Muivah said this was a new agreement because there has been a lot of a development, “on both the Indian side and our side”.

“But the solution has to be found from the framework that is already defined. The Indian side has officially acknowledged that the history of the Nagas is unique and the situation is also unique. And it is the first time that India has recognised the history of the Nagas,” he said.

Based on this uniqueness of Naga history, a solution would be worked out, he said.

Asked how long it would take to sign the final accord, Muivah said it depended on the central government. “How close the Nagas will come to India will depend on how far the government of India respects the rights of the Nagas.”

The NSCN-IM leader said that when the Indian government took this kind of significant step, “should we (Nagas) not try to understand the Indian side more? Should we not understand their limitations?”

According to Muivah, an interim governing body would be formed after the final accord but it might take some time because adjustments would have to be made. Asked if the accord would be based on Naga customary laws, he replied in the affirmative, saying the Naga Hohos or tribal bodies would get more powers. “That has to be done because the tribes themselves must have a say because they know their benefits and they know their requirements,” he said.

When pointed out that some individuals and groups have started saying that Muivah was from Manipur and Nagas from Nagaland should not expect much from the accord, he said these people were “totally confused”. “Naga issue is a Naga national issue not a state-wise issue. We have been fighting for all this after the creation of the Nagaland state. If the 16-point agreement (that created Nagaland state) was final then we would not have come up to this stage,” he said.

“It was not the desire of the Naga people but the act of the traitors who were used by the Indians to sabotage the national politics.” He said the Indian government has now officially recognised the uniqueness and the history of the Naga issue and the situation too. “We are seeking solution solely in the interest of all the Nagas. Those who are talking of Nagaland state in terms of Naga issue, sorry, I pity them. We have been fighting for the rights of the Nagas wherever they may be but the Naga politics should not be interpreted in terms of the Nagaland state,” he said.