Post Mortem

Former UNC presidents’ response to Z. Lohe

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/19/2020 1:12:04 PM IST

 We the undersigned had issued a Joint Statement on the article captioned “ Who convened Naga People Convention”  by Thepfulhouvi Solo, published in Nagaland Post on 25th March, 2020. A rejoinder to our statement given by Z. Lohe offers yet another opportunity to clarify with sincere intent of correcting the fallacies and extraneous issues presented therein.

It is accepted that blunders committed must be repented and must not be repeated. According to Z. Lohe a rejoinder had been made by him to Kharingyo Shimrah’s article published in dailies on 8.2.2017 purportedly attributing the formation of Naga Club to R. S. Raichumhao after his return from France as a member of the Labour Corp. There has been, we believe no counter rejoinder in this regard and therefore the matter should rest at that. The 21st  Labour Corp was raised from the Naga Hills and the 22nd Labour Corp was raised from Manipur. It has been confirmed that R. S. Raichumhao was one of the few literate members and led the 66th Company of the 22nd Labour Corp.  Mr Kharingyo’s views in his article does not have the endorsement of any Naga Organisation or forum in Manipur but it also does not take away historical facts. As such citing Kharingyo’s writing as an instance to debunk our joint statement to T. Solo’s article and as being unrepentant on this count is irrational.   

The Joint Statement of 3 former Presidents of the UNC has been alleged as containing distortions of Naga political history and implications upon pioneers of the State of Nagaland. This is not only faulty but misleading as would have been Z. Lohe’s intentions. His rejoinder is hereby refuted in sequence.  

1. In the plebiscite held on 16 May, 1951. Mr Kreni Dili of Chowainu village, Mr Hrili Mathibo(Akamu) of Song Song village and Adani Asosii of Punanamei village were the volunteers who submitted signatures/thumb impressions of the Mao-Maram Nagas (undivided Mao which included Poumai and undivided Maram which included Thangal and Upper Zeliang) at Kohima. The copies of the plebiscite document will prove the veracity of this clarification. 

Further Mr Sanyi Johnny of Tungjoy village (Sepoumaramth), a member of the NNC delegation that met Mahatma Gandhi and a close associate of A. Z. Phizo was actively involved in the organsing of the plebiscite and contributed resources for the same. 

Though all the Nagas in Manipur could not physically participate in the plebiscite due to connectivity and transportation constraints of that time, they endorsed the plebiscite in favour of Naga independence.  Z. Lohe must understand that number was never the issue when the plebiscite was held but it was the “political decision” of the leaders and Naga people and the implication of such a plebiscite which consolidated the Naga struggle for Independence.

It was the Zeliangrong people who received A. Z. Phizo, the President of the NNC in 1956 and escorted him on his way to East Pakistan (Bangladesh) via Peren-Tousem(Tamenglong)-Cachar(Assam) with one Tadingpou Gangmei  leading the volunteers. Tadingpou Gangmei, 

a student undergoing a technical course left studies after meeting with Phizo and joined the Naga Army. He retired as Major and was Tatar till his death.    

2. The merger of the Manipur Naga Council(MNC) with the NNC in 1957 finds reference in the Naga Hoho’s ‘White Paper on Naga Integration’ published in 2002. In 1957, the MNC formed particularly to protect the political interest of the Nagas in Manipur in the context of the Naga movement joined the mainstream armed movement when the office bearers of the Council including K. T. Angnal Anal, President and Z. Ramyo, Secretary joined hands with NNC(Page 84 Naga Insurgency by Dr M. Horam). Mr Lohe states that he has not ever heard of this merger. 

3. Z. Lohe has stated that all member of the Naga Integration Committee (NIC) who contested in the 1972 Manipur Legislative Assembly Election on the plank of Naga integration were defeated and by a rather strange logic, he infers the defeat as a referendum of the rejection of Naga integration by the Nagas of Manipur. Wrong again. Not being a registered political party, the NIC could not field candidates in its name and so NIC members contested as Independent candidates. Three NIC members namely, Rishang Keishing, K. Envey and Peter Pheiray were elected as Independents. It is a different matter that some members of the NIC subsequently merged with the All India Congress party on 4th August, 1972 under an agreement which stated that “the Congress Party does not oppose Naga Integration movement  and does not consider Naga integration movement as anti-national, anti-state and unconstitutional activity”. However joining electoral politics diverted the aims and objectives of the NIC and resulted in weakening of  the Naga Integration movement both in Manipur and Nagaland.    

Opposed to Z. Lohe’s inference of the NIC performance in the 1972 election, the return of only 4 NPF candidates out of possible 11 seats in the 2012 Manipur Legislative Assembly Election, where he was a star campaigner of the NPF should be accepted as a result of the total effect of many factors that come into play in electoral politics and not as a rejection of Naga integration. Z.Lohe as one who had contested election and also tasted defeats should best be able to understand this fact. 

4. A difference in quality has been drawn by Mr Z. Lohe on NNC cadres from Nagaland being mandated and being voluntary as he puts it in the case of South Naga cadres. He states that each of the NNC cadres from Nagaland were sponsored by 10 households as per the resolution of the NNC and therefore “mandated” while this resolution was not implemented in other Naga areas and hence “voluntary”. On this point, elders have confirmed that the same resolution of 10:1 ratio of sponsorship of NNC cadres was applicable to the Nagas in Manipur also. We would like to point out that Nagaland State was inaugurated only in 1963 whereas the armed movement of the NNC started  in 1955 much before its creation. He also assumes that “voluntary” service in the Naga National movement was inferior than the mandated recruitment as was done in Nagaland. The separate labeling of service in the Naga movement as “mandated” and “voluntary” and ascribing the Nagas in Manipur to the latter category wholesale is abominable. We would also add here for Mr Lohe’s benefit that any revolutionary movement surely cannot do without the impassioned volunteers with a cause.  

5. Under Point No 5, Mr Z. Lohe presents his core sentiments on which we would like to share our views as briefly as possible in the following paragraphs.

Mr Z. Lohe in his rejoinder has made it look as if we blamed the pioneers for failure to invite the right Naga leaders in Manipur to the NPC of 1957 and after. But what we did was to question the locus standi and mandate of the NPC and we reproduce an extract from our joint statement which Z. Lohe must have missed or understood otherwise -

“Had the Naga People’s Convention and agents of the Government of India not hijacked the process of the National political movement from Phizo and the Naga National Council by those educated and well placed bureaucrats at the behest of the Indian agencies it would have been a totally different story” 

The Nagas in Manipur and the undersigned signatories in particular are not ignorant of the sufferings and the horrible experience that the Nagas in the then Naga Hills District  and  Free Naga areas went through during the period of 1955 to 1964. The heroic struggle and the unimaginable sufferings of killings, torture, rapes, burning down of villages and granaries,  forced labour,  groupings and concentration camps, horrendous life of exile in the jungle, plagues, starvations and deprivations undergone by our people In Naga Hills and Tuensang areas  have been well documented. 

(To be concluded)

K. S Paul Leo

Former President

United Naga Council

Gaidon Kamei

Former President

United Naga Council

L. Adani

Former President

United Naga Council

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