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Naga leaders returning home after 37 years
G Vinayak in Guwahati | December 08, 2004 17:06 IST
Last Updated: December 08, 2004 17:09 IST
It is going to be an official homecoming to Nagaland for Thuingaleng Muivah and Issac Chisi Swu after nearly three decades. The two top leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim had left the state in 1975 or thereabouts and have not returned since, except for a brief sojourn in 1999 under an unofficial arrangement.
Swu and Muivah, who head unarguably the most powerful rebel army in the north-east, had formed the NSCN in 1980 along with SS Khaplang, a Burmese Hemi Naga, to oppose the 1975 Shillong Accord between the Naga National Council and the Government of India.
Muivah, a Tangkhul Naga from Manipur's Ukhrul district, is a legendary figure in the underground movements of the north-east. He, as a member of the NNC, the forerunner of the NSCN, had trekked to China and back to the hills of Nagaland through one of the toughest terrains in the world in the early 1960s to establish links with the Chinese authorities and seek their help in liberating the Naga homeland from India's control.
The outfit has been in a ceasefire mode with the Government of India since 1997, but despite the truce very little progress has been made on substantive issues that involve territorial adjustments in the volatile north-east.
The outfit has also established a government-in-exile, called the Government of the People's Republic of Nagaland, which interacts with formal and non-formal world bodies and media. The GPRN sends emissaries abroad to garner support and raise funds for the Naga cause. It has an estimated 4,500 strong cadre base and is supported by a section of Aos, Semas, Zeilangs, Anals, Maos and Manipur-based Tangkhul Nagas.
Swu and Muivah are expected to reach Nagaland's commercial capital, Dimapur, early next week and are likely to spend a couple of weeks in Nagaland conferring with various groups and members of the civil society.
In June 2001, when the previous National Democratic Alliance government announced an extension of the ceasefire to all Naga-inhabited areas in the north-east, the Meites, who are opposed to any territorial redrawing of maps, erupted in anger.
Clearly, despite the hype and hoopla over Swu and Muivah's meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil, the ground situation is far from conducive to a solution to the Naga issue.
More reports from Nagaland
Read about: Naga Ceasefire