Th. Muivah, who has been considered to be a key figure in resolving the Nagaland issue for almost five decades , is ironically the part of problem himself explains Zasivituo Angami in this detailed analysis-
To begin with it is interesting to know that Th. Muivah he is not the indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland. His cronies also have similar status.
As per Nagaland Land Revenue (Amendment) Act 1978, December 1, 1963, the day Nagaland attained statehood, is considered to be the base year for determining an indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland. The state government claimed that the Register of Indigenous Inhabitant of Nagaland (RIIN) was being undertaken to prevent outsiders from acquiring fake indigenous inhabitant certificate for seeking jobs and be beneficiaries of government schemes
On this criterion, Th. Muivah is not the indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland. The Tangkhuls are not the indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland. Then, how can the recalcitrant Muivah claim to represent the Nagas of Nagaland? Moreover, he is responsible for killing of thousands of innocent Nagas of Nagaland during insurgency. He is, infact, the most unwanted person in Nagaland.
To understand this better, one has to look at the composition of Nagaland in context of the tribes. The indigenous tribes of Nagas of Nagaland are – 1. Angami 2. Ao. 3. Sema 4. Lotha 5. Chakhesang 6. Zeliang 7. Rengma 8. Konyak 9. Sangtam 10. Chang 11. Phom 12. Yimchunger 13. Khiamungan and 14.Pochuri. The other two indigenous tribes of Nagaland are – Kachari and Kuki.
Tangkhuls are nowhere in the list. Thus, Th. Muivah and his gun-wielding henchmen in Hebron camp or elsewhere have no locus-standi in Nagaland. They cannot own even an inch of land in Nagaland. These Tangkhuls who are settled in Nagaland, came after Nagaland attained statehood on December 1, 1963. Muivah himself came to Nagaland in 1965. As per provisions of RIIN also, his name cannot figure in the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland. Similarly, all the Tangkhuls are outsider.
How can they impose themselves not only as the residents of Nagaland but also as the ‘Raja’ of the Nagas of Nagaland ? Muivah is behaving as the king of Nagas. The reasons for such insulting and humiliating situation for Nagas of Nagaland are –
- Muivah has gun in his hand ii. Nagas of Nagaland are un-organised and hence their honour and self-respect is under challenge. Otherwise, how can an outsider like Muivah with handful of Tangkhul gun-men run his writ large over our Nagaland? Tangkhul Muivah is primarily responsible for the mass-killings of Sema, Angami, Ao and Konyak warriors and their commanders. Still, majority of the gun men in Hebron camp and in other NSCN-IM armed camps in Nagaland and Manipur are mostly manned by Semas, Angamis, Konyaks and other Naga persons from Nagaland only. But their commanders are Tangkhuls. They are commanded by Tangkhul commanders cleverly placed by Tangkhul Muivah. This reflects his preference for nepotism. It is like British pitted Indian soldiers against Indian leaders. Similarly, Muivah has pitted Naga warriors from Nagaland against their own Naga leaders from Nagaland.
To remain in ruling position in days to come, Muivah and his Tangkhul comrades are preventing the WC NNPGs (Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups) from joining in dialogue with Delhi through interlocutor RN Ravi who is our Governor also.
It is RN Ravi because of whom Centre agreed to talk to NNPGs in 2017 onwards. Since then, the dialogue with WC NNPGs parallel to NSCN IM is going on even more frequently than Muivah. NNPGs have met Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and previous Home Minister Rajnath Singh many times and made them clear that no agreement will be successful unless Nagas of Nagaland are actively involved. Thus, Muivah’s monopoly over dialogue is broken.
Angami Zapu Phizo led NNC movement since Independence in 1947. Th. Muivah joined NNC in 1965 when Ceasefire agreement was already signed with Central Government headed by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on September 6, 1964, a year before the arrival of Muivah in Nagaland.
Though a late-comer, Muivah charmed Phizo and managed to capture the post of secretary of NNC superseding several senior Angami and Sema officials in NNC hierarchy. Phizo was in exile in London since December 1956 under the patronage of Rev. Michael Scott. Muivah got free hand to manage the affairs of NNC and its armed wing. He placed his Tangkhul faithfuls at every key post in NNC and its armed wing by-passing seniors from Nagaland. When he realized that his position in NNC and its Army wing has become strong and unshakable, he mobilised non-Angami section of NNC and betrayed Phizo. The ceasefire of September 6, 1964 which continued upto 1967 and six rounds of talks were held with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi under the leadership of young and energetic General Kaito Sukhai, was abrogated because of notoriety of stubborn Muivah. Indira Gandhi offered anything less sovereignty; she was prepared to give more than what is guaranteed in Article 371A. Even integration of Naga inhabited areas could also come during those days because people in neighbouring states were not so alert and conscious. Our relations with all the neighbouring states were cordial. In addition, Indira Gandhi was bold enough to make concerned states agree to her proposal. We lost that golden opportunity because of an arrogant outsider Muivah. He was day-dreaming for sovereign Nagaland. Notable leaders like T. Sakhrie, JB Jasoki, Vizol, Sillie, Hokishe Sema, SC Jamir, Dr. Imkongliba Ao, P Silu Ao, TN Angami and thousands more prominent personalities of Nagaland told categorically at every available opportunity right from 1947 onwards that demand of separate Nagaland is not feasible. All the Prime Ministers right from Nehru till Narendra Modi have told clearly that no further division of country would happen come what may. But Muivah isn’t prepared to budge.
Th. Muivah saw a road-block for him and his Tangkhul men in the rise of Gen. Kaito Sukhai – a young revolutionary from Sema community. He hatched a plan to get rid of him. This time, Muivah managed to target all the Sema leaders. As a result, Scato Swu, Kughato Sukhai and Zuheto Sema along with his Sema supporters withdrew from Muivah group. They set up their headquarters at Satakha in Sema area. They kidnapped Mhesiu and Ramyo, the president and secretary of Naga Federal Government (FGN of NNC) just to show Muivah that they could avenge the murder of Kaito if they wanted. These two men of Muivah were freed. And at Satakha on November 1, 1968, the Council of Naga People (CNP) was formed and NNC was dissolved as it had failed to arrive at any solution of Naga problem. The CNP formed Revolutionary Government of Nagaland (RGN) which was willing to accept an honourable place within the Union of India. Scato Swu assumed the charge of office of Prime Ministership and Kughato Sukhai became the President of the Revolutionary Government of Nagaland.
Hokishe Sema became Chief Minister in February 1969 and Naga National Organisation (NNO) became the ruling party. Hokishe tried his level best to bring an acceptable solution to Naga problem. When P. Shilu Ao, the first Chief Minister stood against Muivah, he was attacked twice. JB Jasoki, a resident of Khonoma and close associate of Phizo told Muivah that demand of separate Nagaland was not tangible. Nagas also cannot survive as a separate identity with nil resources between two giant nations – India and China. There would be no fear from India but communist China would swallow Christian Nagaland and USA cannot come to rescue Nagas. The advice of Jasoki was enough to infuriate Muivah and he an assassination bid happened soon targeting Jasoki. Jasoki was attacked when he was returning from church on one Sunday in Kohima and his wife was seriously injured. Muivah had to hold himself back from any such future bids against Jasoki due to Angami pressure and opposition.
Hokishe Sema was at the top of hit list Muivah had readied. But Hokishe was determined that regardless of threat to his life he should do something concrete for the welfare of Naga people. He called upon Naga youth not to be misled by Muivah and waste their springtime of life in jungle.
On 8 August 1972, while returning from Shillong after meeting Governor BK Nehru accompanied with his daughter Kaholi followed by Rev. Kejung Ao in a separate vehicle, Muivah’s militants ambushed his car from a distance of hardly fifteen feet and fired more than 100 shots from two directions, left and behind, at a spot hardly 3 km from Kohima. His bodyguard and driver were killed on the spot. His daughter Kaholi was seriously injured. Hokishe Sema escaped unhurt. The news of ambush spread like wild fire in Kohima, people assembled and shouted in anger against Muivah, the Tangkhul, and his cronies. They condemned the dastardly act of Tangkhuls. Hokishe Sema was not an ordinary leader. He was a visionary and foresighted Naga leader who had a vision about developed and self-reliant Nagaland.
Due to differences from communist Muivah, Thungdi Chang had formed another parallel government.
Thus, there were four parallel governments in Nagaland in 1970s, all at the same time – i. Government formed by NNO headed by Chief Minister Hokishe Sema ii. Revolutionary Government of Nagaland (RGN) formed by Council of Naga People (CNP) headed by Kughato Sukhai – President and Scato Swu – Prime Minister iii. The Underground Government headed by Thungdi Chang and iv. Federal Government of Nagaland of NNC headed by Muivah.
Thus, Naga society was fragmented into pieces beyond imagination.
Governor BK Nehru who had special responsibility over law and order of the state under Article 371A(1)(b) banned NNC on September 1, 1972 and doors of any direct talk with undergrounds were finally closed by the Central Government. This was done after over sixty extensions of the ceasefire spread over a period of eight years from September 6, 1964 to September 1, 1972. The Peace Observers Team was finally desolved because Governor BK Nehru took over the law and order subject of the state government. The Army was put in service and Muivah’s men were being chased. Hundreds of our people were killed in counter and encounter among various factions of undergrounds and also with Army. The rival factions of undergrounds were spying for Indian Army against each other. After banning of underground factions, the underground cadres and their leaders had lost its zeal and also the halo which surrounded it. The Undergrounds destroyed the moral backing provided to them by Peace Observers Team and the church leaders. More so by British missionary and promoter of secessionist demand of NNC, Rev. Michael Scott. This embarrassing situation occurred in our Nagaland because of intractable Muivah.
General Mowu Angami, commander of Muivah’s militants was captured by Indian Army on March 16, 1966. Around 100 Naga guerrillas were killed on June 7, 1969 by Government troops near Jotsoma. Three Naga militants were killed by Army near Kohima on June 20, 1971. General Thinusillie Keyho, commander of Muivah faction of dying NNC, was surrounded by Government troops on December 22, 1971. The exchange of firing was enacted.
The fight for supremacy in various factions of underground was rampant. The innocent Naga citizens, particularly promising youths, were killed on charges of spying for rival factions and for Army. Thus, 4000 Nagas were killed in the group clashes enacted under the command of naughty Muivah between September 1964 and August 1972; eight years only. What for? The illusion of independent Nagaland spread by Tangkhul Muivah, an outsider.
Because of social chaos and instability caused by headstrong Muivah, JB Jasoki Government of Nagaland was dissolved on March 20, 1975 and president rule was imposed on March 22, 1975. The Indian Government and NNC (Kevi Yallie – Phizo group) signed Shillong Agreement on November 11, 1975 which provided limited autonomy for the Naga region within India. AZ Phizo kept quiet hinting his silent support but wayward Muivah repudiated the Shillong Accord on December 1, 1975. Some 45 militants and 27 civilian Nagas were killed in 1975 in the group clashes between pro and opponents (Muivah group) of Shillong Accord 1975. All the signatories of Shillong Accord 1975 viz. Kevi Yallie Phizo, M. Assa, S. Dahru, Veenyl Rakho, I. Temjenba and Z. Ramyo were assassinated by Muivah’s hardcore gang. Naga militants under the command of cruel Muivah killed some 50 innocent individuals in Assam on January 5, 1979. Seven government soldiers were killed in a Muivah’s militant attack on March 27, 1979.
This led to another split in NNC. Th. Muivah and Isak Chishi Swu established National Socialist Council Nagaland (NSCN) under deep influence of Chinese Communism on January 31, 1980. As an ardent follower of Mao-Tse-Tung and Chau-En-Lai of China, Muivah gave up Christianity and became an anti-Christ. As an atheist, he declared “Nagaland for Communist.”
Chief Minister Vizol Angami an arch-rival of Muivah resigned and SC Jamir of United Democratic Front (UDF) formed the government as Chief Minister in April 1980. Muivah got Jamir government collapsed and JB Jasoki of NNDP became chief minister on January 5, 1980. Due to rampant killing, large scale extortion at gun point, kidnapping for money and chaos in the state, Jasoki was compelled to resign and SC Jamir took over as Chief Minister on November 18, 1982. Jamir resigned on October 27, 1986 and Hokishe Sema took over as chief minister on October 29, 1986.
Due to Muivah’s dictatorial behaviour, NSCN suffered a split and SS Khaplang faction named as NSCN-K was established. The war of supremacy started. Muivah was ruling the empire of extortion in thousands of crores. Now NSCN-K encroached. Both groups became blood-thirsty of each other. This side, Chief Minister SC Jamir concentrated on development and tried to motivate the youths that slogan of sovereignty was a myth. His 20 page booklet ‘Bedrock of Naga Society’ published in the year 2000, punctured the Chinese plan of Muivah. Muivah tried to kill SC Jamir by ambushing his convoy four times at four different places – Kohima, Nagaland Guest House Delhi, Piphema and Changki.
During these turbulent days, various Prime Ministers tried to solve the Naga problem. SC Jamir had worked as Union Minister in the union cabinet of Nehruji, Lal Bahadur Shastriji and Indiraji. With rich experience in Delhi and with close proximity with central leaders, Jamir brought additional budget and started working on two fronts – first, finding permanent solution to Naga problem and second, rapid development of Nagaland. Jamir influenced various Prime Ministers – Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, HD Devegowda, Atal Behari Vajpayee and now Narendra Modiji. This he could do because 1. Jamir was not for secession of country and tried to find solution under constitution of India, 2. He was honest enough to use government money judiciously for youth welfare and development of Nagaland particularly weaker sections.
China does not want to see Nagaland as developed state, so is Muivah. To fulfil the desire of his Chinese masters, Muivah killed thousands of promising Naga youths and the veteran Naga leaders. How surprising is the fact that he attacked seven times to kill Hokishe Sema and four times to kill SC Jamir. Both these Naga leaders in contemporary Nagaland are epoch makers and the architect of modern Nagaland. They are the light in darkness. But scoundrel Muivah treated both of them as his sworn enemy.
From August 1, 1997 till August 2020, 23 years have gone, nearly 100 talks have taken place. But solution is nowhere in the sight. Reason? Scoundrel Muivah. This Chinese agent will die without any solution. Maoist Muivah is a faithful bet of Xi Zinping. Muivah is now old enough, 86 years, suffering from the host of incurable diseases. He can go to sky any time.
Narendra Modi has sent RN Ravi as Governor of Nagaland not to enjoy the pleasure of Raj Bhawan but to pave the way for permanent solution of Naga problem. As long as Ravi remained confined in the four walls of Raj Bhawan in the early few months, he was good for Muivah. But the moment he started pro-acting for finding solution he has become bad for selfish Muivah. Muivah has sounded alarm –“Bhago ! bhago !! Ravi is a dangerous man.” And same Muivah has started sinister campaign for Ravi’s removal. Muivah has written to Prime Minister for replacing Ravi from the post of interlocutor. Naga Hoho (NH) and Naga Mother Association (NMA) have been pocketed by Muivah and so both these civil organisations are dancing to the tune of Muivah.
The bogus Naga Hoho and Naga Mother Association have been disowned. All the fourteen Naga Tribal Hohos, Nagaland Gaon Burha Association, Naga Tribal Council and Working Committee of Naga National political Groups (WC NNPGs) have disowned Muivah and his NSCN-IM as the greatest enemy of Nagas of Nagaland. They have written letters to Prime Minister not only to retain Ravi but to empower him more so that permanent solution is found soon. If need be, by-passing Muivah.
(Zasivituo Angami is a Delhi based independent researcher and native of Nagaland. The views expressed are personal. )