Bangkok, Sept. 23: Even as he left for the Netherlands early this morning, discreetly escorted by Indian Embassy officials through immigration control, Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), seemed preoccupied with the events unfolding in the Naga areas.
Expressing apprehension about escalating violence among the Nagas, he alleged that “the Indian government” had once again started pouring arms and money “to foment violence” in Nagaland. There has been a fresh spurt of violence in the state with clashes between the NSCN (I-M) and its rivals.
“The main issue is that disgruntled Naga elements are being used by the Indian government to undermine the peace process. Does it make sense to weaken the party with which you are negotiating peace'” asked Muivah.
The Naga leader felt that whenever a peace process gathered momentum, “there are bound to be groups and individuals who feel marginalised,” and differences get exacerbated. Those feeling threatened by the peace process would desperately search for some kind of role for themselves, he said. But why should they be encouraged by New Delhi to act against a peaceful settlement, he wondered.
“I say it with full seriousness and responsibility that the government of India has started pouring in arms and money into Nagaland. This is happening when the Nagas are serious about seeking a peaceful solution. Does their conscience not tell them that what they are doing is wrong'” he asked.
Muivah alleged that this year automatic rifles running into a couple of hundred and ammunition to go with them have suddenly been acquired by groups opposed to the NSCN (I-M), especially the NSCN (Khaplang). He also claimed that the Khaplang group moves around escorted by the Assam Rifles in their vehicles.
He also alleged that those belonging to the “Federal Government of Nagaland” and owing allegiance to the Naga National Council, which had signed the Shillong Accord in 1975, have apparently started moving out of their peace camps and are on the offensive.
Ruling out the hand of the home ministry, which is facilitating the peace talks, Muivah claimed that this was the handiwork of some “other Indian agencies”. He argued that this was not possible without the consent of the people at the highest level in the government.
“If someone says this is not so, then does the left hand not know what the right hand is doing in India' Should we assume that this is because of mere incompetence' We keep saying that the Indian leadership has shown wisdom in seeking a peaceful and mutually acceptable settlement with the Nagas. But what kind of wisdom lies in sabotaging the search for a peaceful settlement'”
If this was being done to “condition” the peace process, Muivah claimed that such hopes would be belied. “Nobody should think that we can be frightened into submission,” he said.
It is not as if the NSCN (I-M) consists of people who are wedded to non-violence and have never killed their rivals. There is no ceasefire between the Isak-Muivah and Khaplang groups of the NSCN. However, the Naga leader claimed his organisation had shown patience by not retaliating in full measure.
“We have been in the peace process for nine years now and we do not want to spill any more Naga blood. That is why we have desisted from retaliatory action. But there is a limit to our patience. If India does not appreciate this, then it should be prepared to take responsibility for the undesirable consequences that follow.”
Claiming that Naga peace was indivisible, Muivah said, “There will be peace dividend for all the Nagas. That is why the entire Naga society supports the peace process. So why does the Indian government want to plunge us into violence once again'”