India’s Kashmir Move ‘Unacceptable’: Nagaland Leader

Modi wants to encourage trade, mainly via Myanmar, with South-East Asia, part of his “Look East, Act East” policy of expanding Indian influence in the region.

DESPARDES REPORT — Veteran Nagaland leader Muivah says New Delhi’s abrupt decision to strip Kashmir’s special status was ‘unacceptable’.

Thuingaleng Muivah is the leader of India’s oldest rebel organization.

The 85-year-old leads the National Socialist Council of Nagalim – Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) – northeast India’s largest rebel outfit with an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 members fighting for independence for more than four decades.

NSCN-IM, formed in 1980, along with other armed groups based in Nagaland – a Christian-majority state of 2 million- wants all Naga people unified in a new sovereign state called Nagalim.

But the August 5 decision by the Modi-led government to scrap Article 370 of the constitution that granted Indian-administered Kashmir a measure of autonomy has triggered anxieties across the northeast region.

Nagaland is safeguarded by Article 371A, which exempts it from following Indian laws.

Seven northeast states, including parts of Assam state, are protected under various clauses of Article 371. These states are also known as the Seven Sister States: Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland.

“India’s Kashmir decision [was taken] without respecting the history of the Kashmiris. [It] is not acceptable to us,” he said.

Expressing disappointment with the way the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi diluted Kashmir’s special status, Muivah said he feels “nothing short of betrayal” since India removed Kashmir’s special status and brought its only Muslim-majority region under direct central rule.

Rebel groups fear that the current Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government may dilute these constitutional provisions as part of its “one nation one constitution” vision. Modi wants to encourage trade, mainly via Myanmar, with South-East Asia, part of his “Look East, Act East” policy of expanding Indian influence in the region.

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