NSCN-IM lambasts Naga MLAs of Manipur

The NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah criticised the eight Naga MLAs of Manipur for opposing Kukis and called them "spineless" in his Naga Independence Day speech.

NSCN-IM lambasts Naga MLAs of Manipur

The Nagaland-based rebel outfit National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah)  (NSCN-IM), led by Thuingaleng Muivah, has criticised the Naga members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) in Manipur, who have joined hands with 32 others to oppose the Kuki tribe’s demand for a “separate administration”. The NSCN-IM called the Naga MLAs of Manipur “spineless” for their action.

On the eve of the special session of the Manipur Assembly on August 21st, eight Naga MLAs backed the move of Chief Minister N Biren Singh of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to exert pressure on the Union government not to listen to the demand of “separate administration” of the Kuki community following the three-month-long ethnic violence in the state between Kukis and Meiteis

Irrespective of party affiliation, Manipur has ten Naga MLAs in the assembly. The Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLA Losii Dikho was the sole legislator among the five from the party to not support the move. National People’s Party MLA from Tabudi constituency, N Kayisii, was also the only one among his party’s seven MLAs to not support this move. 

This development took place on August 8th, after a meeting of 40 MLAs of Manipur in New Delhi. Against this backdrop, a resolution will likely be moved at the special session of the Manipur Assembly, by Singh’s government, which will seek to maintain the territorial integrity of the state. 

In other words, the demand for a separate union territory by the Kuki tribe will be turned down by the majority of Meitei legislators. The eight Naga MLAs are supporting the BJP’s move.

The memorandum also categorically sought implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur and added that the collection of biometric data of immigrants from Myanmar has started in the state and it “should be expanded and strengthened”.

The 40 MLAs also reiterated the earlier demand of Singh’s government that the Union government has to withdraw the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki armed groups “at the earliest”, stating that they have violated “the ground rules.” 

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), currently, is in talks with the SoO groups and has recently extended the ceasefire agreement with them. 

However, the Muivah-led NSCN-IM harshly criticised the eight Naga MLAs in Manipur who were among 40 legislators that recently submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling them “spineless”. 

“The Nagas of Manipur were caught off-guarded when these ‘spineless MLAs’ joined hands with other 32 Meitei MLAs to submit a representation to the Prime Minister of India on the issue that has nothing to do with the political aspirations of the Naga people,” the NSCN-IM said.

According to the NSCN-IM, the memorandum to Modi is “in totality against the voice of the Naga people demanding early implementation of Framework Agreement of 3rd August 2015 to meet the political right and legitimate aspiration of Naga people. For their reckless representation, NSCN condemns the eight MLAs in strongest terms.”

The NSCN-IM, which has been observing a ceasefire with the Union government since the 1990s, has reiterated its demand for a greater Naga homeland, which includes territories with a significant Naga population in Manipur. The BJP government in Manipur opposes the demand of the Naga outfits for a “greater Nagalim”.

Muivah, the leader of the NSCN faction, is reportedly leaving for New Delhi to hold talks with the Union government over the Naga peace deal on August 21st. Before that, while addressing the 77th Naga Independence Day, he claimed that the demand for a Naga nation-state should not be seen as an aggression on the rights of other communities and that the Nagas aren’t begging for land from anyone but demanding what belongs to them.

“Nagas have every right to build their nation-state in their land. And that should not be viewed as an aggression on the rights of others”, Muivah said during his Independence Day speech and asserted that the “Nagas are a sovereign people, who have been living in their own land from time immemorial”.

“This free Nagalim for Christ is our portion of land from God. We must possess it and defend it at all costs. No power on earth can stop the moving wheels of history. We will keep going”, the 89-year-old leader asserted.

The Naga MLAs of NPF and NPP haven’t responded to the accusations levelled against them by the NSCN-IM.

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