A Naga Ultimatum
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A Naga Ultimatum


By Thuingaleng Muivah Tuesday, January 17, 2006


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This is crucial for the future of the Nagas.

Q: But what happens when India says it cannot accept this demand?

A: If India thinks it will deprive the Nagas in order to keep the Meiteis and the Assamese happy, it can go ahead. It may find some traitors amongst the Nagas to accept a settlement on those lines. But we will never accept a settlement without reunification of the Naga territories. This is the bottom line.

Q: But will you take the initiative to raise this issue with the Meiteis and the Assamese? And what about the contention made by some that other Naga rebel factions also should be included in the talks?

A: We tried, and there was not much of a result. The Indian government should work for a settlement based on the uniqueness of Naga history, which was accepted by former prime minister Vajpayee. We were never Indians, and we were never conquered by India. We can never be expected to agree to a settlement within the Indian constitution because we are not Indians. We did not accept the imposition of Indian rule in 1947 and fought for more than fifty years—and we will not accept it now. We want India to respect our unique history and work for a settlement by accepting that fact.

Q: How optimistic are you that this will happen?

A: I don’t know what Delhi has in mind, but we will not accept negotiations just for the sake of negotiating. We have made our position clear, and we have put all our cards on the table. Now, we want India to reciprocate. Other Naga groups will support our position because they know we will never compromise the interests of the Nagas. Only traitors will differ. Now, Khaplang’s people [members of a rival Naga opposition group led by S S Khaplang] are hobnobbing with Indian forces and working against us. But if India thinks it can make Nagas swallow a settlement of its own liking by using these traitors, I must tell you that they are living in a fool’s paradise. We Nagas will suffer, as we have, but we will never accept anything dishonorable.

Q: Are you apprehensive about a repeat of history, like in 1964, when the talks broke down?

A: It all depends on India. If the leaders in Delhi are sincere, they will have a settlement with the Nagas. But they must know there can be no peace in the region unless the Nagas have a settlement which takes care of their aspirations.



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