Hebron (Nagaland), Aug 14 (IANS): NSCN-IM general secretary T. Muivah declared on Friday that his group has not given up the demand for “sovereignty” for Nagas and integration of all Naga-inhabited areas.
But “if we keep on opposing the Indian leadership, it will be wrong”, Muivah said at the group`s central headquarters here near Dimapur while speaking about the peace accord his Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland signed with the Indian government on August 3.
Muivah was addressing an event to mark the 69th “Naga Independence Day”. It was his first public address after the August 3 pact.
The NSCN-IM leader said the Naga people shall be the master of their own fate and shape their destiny due to their unique history.
He said the two core issues — sovereignty and integration of all Naga areas — would never be compromised.
The NSCN-IM, which signed a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government in 1997, celebrates August 14 as Naga Independence Day.
It was on August 14, 1947, one day before India gained independence, that then Naga leader Angami Z. Phizo declared the independence of Naga region, triggering a bloody and prolonged armed conflict.
Discussing the peace moves, Muivah said: “We appreciated the Indian leaders who have realized that it is not possible to suppress the Nagas because it is a political issue and can be solved through political means.
“Are we also to realize that we cannot chase out the Indian military from our land?
“So the time has come … the Indian side and Naga side decided to keep the military solution away. After lots of deliberations, they have agreed that Nagas have a unique history,” he said.
“We told them that Nagas were never under the Indian union and Nagas were never won over by anyone. They have realized this and recognized the unique history of the Naga people,” he said.
“Let us understand that when Indian leaders (are) starting to respect the rights of Nagas, it is high time we must also start respecting them. If we keep on opposing the Indian leadership, it will be wrong.
“We have got to appreciate them. They have their own difficulties. We have understood that, and so we said we`ll try to find out an amicable solution,” he said.
“We told them that the government of India and the NSCN-IM will have to seek a solution by respecting the sovereign rights of each other.
“We are confident that the framework agreement signed on August 3 would provide for ensuring an inclusive peaceful coexistence of two entities,” he said, while describing the idea of a “shared sovereignty” between the Indians and the Nagas.
“India will exercise its rights while the Nagas will exercise their rights. Each will coexist by exercising their own powers. We will work out for the best through understanding,” Muivah said.