The National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak Muivah (NSCN(IM)) signed a peace accord with the government of India without much buzz on Monday. No one expected that the 18 year long peace process will come to an end in such a silent way. The Naga civil societies including the Naga Hoho was also caught by surprise in the evening when the news broke out.
It’s a matter of pride and satisfaction for the Naga’s, but as the peace talks comes to an end, some questions pops up in our mind, the first being, is it just another Shillong Accord?
The NSCN was formed on January 30, 1980, five years after the Shillong Accord of 1975. The argument the three leaders Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and SS Khaplang gave on the formation was that they are not satisfied with the Shillong Accord and reasoned that the most vital demand, the demand of sovereignty has no mention in the accord. The decent was even visible when the NNC signed the agreement. Angami Zapu Phizo, the founder of NNC, himself was not there during the signing of the accord, as he was an advocate of sovereign Nagaland.
In the years that followed, the NSCN went for a spilt and emerged as two separate factions, NSCN(IM) led by Isak Chishi Swu and Th Muivah and NSCN(K) led by SS Khaplang. The NSCN(IM) entered peace talks with the government in Geneva in 1997. On the other hand, though the NSCN(K) declared ceasefire with the government of India and Myanmar in 2001, the refrained talks on grounds of sovereignty.
The NSCN(IM) leaders who once formed the NSCN only for the sake of sovereign Nagaland, however, gave up their demand and signed the Peace Accord on August 3. But, as said, history repeats itself, a vast section of the Naga rebels are unhappy with Isak Chishi Swu and Th Muivah for giving up the demand of sovereignty. The dissent was first visible with the NSCN(IM) in May. During the meeting between NSCN(IM) and the GoI in May, the issue of sovereignty was not mentioned at all. It has been learnt that, some NSCN(IM) leaders even protested this and made their views clear to Isak and Muivah.
SS Khaplang, on the other hand, made it clear, long back in an interview to NETV that the NSCN(K) will never compromise with the demand of sovereignty. Khaplang who is a Naga from Myanmar has a firm hold in the Eastern Nagaland area beyond Kohima. He at that time also condemned Isak Chishi Swu and Th Muivah for being insensitive to the feelings of the Nagas. However, on Monday, after signing of the accord between NSCN(IM) and GoI, the NSCN(K) leadership refused to make any comment immediately.
We all want a peaceful solution, the content of the agreement has not been made public yet, but it is clear that the NSCN(IM) leadership made morale compromise while going into an agreement with GOI. And if made, morale compromises can be more disastrous than being constructive. The history from 1975-till date is a living example of a morale compromise made in 1975.
As there is a dissent in the outfit, a future split cannot be ruled out. And if so happens it will be proved that history repeats itself.