NSCN-IM appoints new chairman ahead of final agreement

NSCN-IM appoints new chairman ahead of final agreement

Qhehezu Tuccu and Tongmeth Wangnao after being elected as NSCN-IM chairman and vice-chairman at Hebron, Nagaland on Monday. DH Photo

The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), the group leading the country's longest political conflict, on Monday elected Qhehezu Tuccu and Tongmeth Wangnao as its new chairman and vice-chairman respectively.

The posts were lying vacant since the death of its leader Isak Chishi Swu and Kholi Konyak. 

An NSCN-IM statement emailed to DH said the group's top leader Th. Issak Muivah announced their election at its headquarters at Hebron in Nagaland.

The development comes amid reports that the Naga groups are likely to sign a final agreement with the Centre to find a permanent solution to the decades-long political conflict. Swu, the veteran leader, who died in June 2016 had signed a "broad framework agreement" with the Centre on August 3, 2015. Konyak, one of the seniormost leaders died in December last year.

The NSCN (IM) had earlier said the framework agreement was signed on the basis of "shared sovereignty for peaceful co-existence" and the Centre agreed to accept the Nagas as a separate and unique identity. Nagas have never accepted to be part of India and have been continuously fighting for the protection of their unique identity. The fight saw large-scale violence and action by security forces till NSCN-IM signed a ceasefire in 1997. The NSCN-IM runs its "government" from camp Hebron.

Tuccu, 74 had joined the Nagaland National Service in 1980 and have served in several key posts before being elected as Swu's successor on Monday. Sixty-one-year-old Wangnao had joined the group in 1987.

"Th.Muivah reminded in his speech that Nagas are not losers, because, our forerunners like Imkong Meren and AZ.Phizo took the right decision at the right time that Nagas will be the master of themselves- their land and their future and Nagalim will be for Christ," said the statement.