Nagas will co-exist, but never merge with India says NSCN (IM) chief

Hyderabad: The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) chief Thuingaleng Muivah on Friday (August 14) said that “the Nagas will co-exist with India, but not merge with India.” He celebrated ‘74th Nagaland Independence Day’ by hoisting the ‘Naga National Flag.’

While addressing the Naga people, Muvaih said “We are not asking for Naga national flag and constitution from the Government of India. Recognize them or not, we have our own flag and constitution. The Nagas must keep them.” He further added: “Our political salvation lies in clinging to our national principle and saying no to the dictation of the enemies.”

For over six decades, Naga nationalists have fought the Indian state for a sovereign ethnic homeland that would include Nagaland as well as the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar across the border. Over the decades, the Naga armed movement split into several factions, often at war with each other. In 1997, the NSCN (I-M) signed a peace treaty and started a dialogue with the Union government. There was little headway until 2015 when the NDA government signed a “framework agreement” with them– a development publicized as a major breakthrough by both sides.

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The peace talks with the Centre hit a roadblock after the NSCN (I-M) remained firm on its demands for a separate Naga national flag and Constitution. Muivah in his speech said that the Government of India has recognized the sovereignty of the Nagas in the Framework Agreement signed on August 3, 2015. He invoked that agreement to stake claims of ‘shared sovereignty’ with India.

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