DIMAPUR, March 28 - After Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed NSCN-IM general secretary Th Muivah’s statement that New Delhi has said “yes” to integration of Naga areas as “erroneous”, there was no reaction from the outfit and instead it maintained a studied silence over the Government of India’s flat response over Muivah’s statement.
For two consecutive days, Muivah said the Government of India had agreed to integration of Naga areas in the Framework Agreement signed on August 3, 2015.
The NSCN-IM general secretary first claimed this on March 21 and reiterated the same while speaking to cadres at a Council meeting at Camp Hebron the very next day.
A local daily here reported quoting an NSCN-IM source that “there will be some meetings over this”. “The Government of India is very cautious while addressing the issue of integration vis-à-vis the Northeast, but at the same time if the issue of partnership of Nagas and India and the issue of integration of Naga areas is not addressed, there cannot be an honourable solution,” the source said.
The report said that a statement from the NSCN-IM is likely to be issued over the next few days making clear the context of statements from both Muivah and New Delhi. The Framework Agreement is understood to have included the concept of a pan-Naga body that would facilitate integration of Naga people across State boundaries. However, a clear picture of whether this would amount to integration of political boundaries is not clear.
There was no official response from the NSCN-IM. The indication is that notwithstanding Muivah’s strong statement, the organisation does not want to rock the boat further.
Muivah had made an impassioned speech at Camp Hebron last week to which there were animated reactions in Assam and Manipur over the weekend. Always sensitive to the reactions, particularly in Imphal Valley, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs quickly issued a rejoinder on March 25.
Naga talks interlocutor RN Ravi had, according to report published in The Assam Tribune, reiterated the Government of India’s stand that there is no agreement with the NSCN-IM on integration of Naga territories.
The NSCN-IM has been demanding integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Manipur has been vociferous in its opposition to this demand and has forced successive Prime Ministers to fly to Imphal and issue clarification on the territorial integrity of Manipur.