The article, How NSCN-IM Chief Muivah Let His Ambitions Take Over and Sabotage Naga Settlement in 1966 by Deepika Singh (News18.com, August 21, 2020) makes vigorous attempt to blame Th. Muivah, the General Secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) for sabotaging the Indo-Naga peace process in 1966 among other erroneous allegations. Her forceful and poorly presented article which attempted to discredit Th. Muivah and NSCN IM was marked by distorted narration and factual errors bereft of any truth. It is therefore considered necessary that historical facts need to be set right.
The first ceasefire between the Government of India and the Nagas under the aegis of Naga National Council (NNC) which was signed in September 1964 under the initiative of Nagaland Baptist Church Council set up a Peace Mission with Jayaprakash Narayan (a Sarvodayan leader), Bimala Prasad Chaliha (Chief Minister of Assam) and Reverend Michael Scott (a well-known human rights activist from the United Kingdom) as members. The Peace Mission however dissolved in 1966 as the members either resigned or forced to resign from either side of the negotiating parties. The peace process practically ended in 1967 although it lingered till 1972. It may be mentioned that on 24 July 1968, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India informed the Lok Sabha that the Government of India had no intention of resuming the negotiation.
Unfortunately, the historic effort of the peace process was marred by several serious incidents. The effort given by both the government of India and the Nagas for peaceful settlement were defeated and failed to find a meeting ground.
It is important to mention here to inform the writer that the NNC was passing through a period of internal conflict and turmoil in the 1950s. During this period the difference between A.Z. Phizo and some leaders of the NNC such as T. Sakhrie and Jasokie among others in terms of ideology surfaced prominently. Thus, T. Sakhrie was assassinated in January 1956 with the knowledge of the then NNC leadership. When T. Sakhrie was assassinated, Th. Muivah was never in the picture of NNC. He was then just in high school, and later joined college in St. Anthony in Shillong in 1958, and did post- graduation from Guwahati University in 1963.
Muivah joined NNC in 1964 and was democratically elected as the General Secretary of NNC in 1965. He was sent to China as a first Naga plenipotentiary in 1966 and returned in 1976 just after the signing of the Shillong Accord (November 11, 1975). The historical sequence and facts mentioned clearly speaks that Th. Muivah had absolutely no role in the whole political negotiation between the government of India and Nagas that took place during the First Indo-Naga Ceasefire (1964-68). When all these political development took place in the Naga areas and internal dissension erupted within the Naga underground groups, Th. Muivah was in China. When General Kaito Sukhai was assassinated in August 31, 1968, Th. Muivah was in China.
The accusation to Th. Muivah for murdering Namlo (Ngamlo) Konyak have no factual source in support of her argument. Perhaps Deepika is the first one to mention about this incident without historical authenticity.
It is also pertinent to mention here that Kevi Yallay, brother of A.Z. Phizo was one of the signatories of Shillong Accord (1975) on behalf of the ‘underground’. The Accord was condemned by Isak Swu, Th. Muivah and SS Khaplang along with many other Naga leaders, and thus left the NNC and formed the NSCN in January 1980. The NSCN blamed Phizo for not condemning the Accord. The allegation by Deepika that Muivah staged a coup within NNC has no historical factual support.
The writer’s effort was without any constructive objective to help bring solution to long drawn Indo-Naga political problem rather it is a misinterpretation and a misrepresentation of the Naga national movement with ulterior motive. She has very poor knowledge on the history of Naga movement or may be, she intentionally concocted the stories with malicious purpose. Her write-up is undisputedly, a political propaganda with an intention to derail a possible solution to the protracted Indo-Naga political issue.
By. Phungshok Khongreiwo, an Independent Researcher based in New Delhi. Views are personal.