Post Mortem

Objection to War Memorial in Mokokchung

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/31/2020 12:52:03 PM IST

 We  honor, recognize and support  the historical foundation and political rights of our Naga people. The history of the Indo-Naga protracted conflict, amongst the longest armed conflict in  recent history,  is because India Government could not accept the simple but  clear declaration of the Nagas’ desire to be left alone. Rather, in response, the Indian Government’s full armed operation was launched in the Naga Hills and by 1955 a  full scale war started. 

The Indian Security Forces including the Assam Rifles invaded Naga-land in rampant violation of our fundamental human rights, security and sovereign rights.  This severe asymmetrical conflict ensure that Naga vision and aspiration for their future as a separate, independent entity was suppressed.  In the conflict, hundreds and thousands of Nagas were ruthlessly killed.  We may never get to the totality of the armed atrocities, but the scars and the trauma are real.  Women, including minor girls  were raped,  sodomy were committed on boys and men, churches were desecrated, granaries and villages were repeatedly burned, families who were uprooted had to live in the jungle for years while fleeing from the brutality of the Indian Army. Mangmetong village, in Mokokchung District was burned a record nineteen times. The grouping of Naga villages in classic style Concentration Camps was a systematic tool to achieve complete and cruel control of the people and to crush the Naga movement. 

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act  was introduced in 1958 to specifically deal with the Naga freedom movement. Ever since, every right thinking Nagas and our neighboring states including outsiders have repeatedly demanded to repeal this Act. Delhi has used this draconian Act elsewhere also.

As it is, AFSPA is a long-standing, wounding,  humiliation  for Nagaland, the  North East and Kashmir. Even today, endless army trucks rumble in and out of Nagaland each day and the Indian army parades up and down the streets of Nagaland brandishing their weapons.   Nagaland continues to look like a militarized war zone. But the people yearn for peace through honest and transparent negotiation. 

We the Nagas are trying to move forward, but we are also struggling in our journey towards  healing from the trauma and  challenges that have emerged within  the new social and political realities. And we are still waiting for justice, reparation and recognition for the atrocities Nagas  have endured all these decades in the hands of the Army and the Assam Rifles. 

We are sorry for the loss of the Indian Army personnel on Naga soil while in duty in their attempt to quell the Nagas’ aspiration for freedom.  We share the pain of the families who lost their loved one. It is a history of tragedy, suffering and loss on both sides.  But we strongly object and question the proposed combined War Memorial, to be inaugurated in Mokokchung Town by Inspector General Assam Rifles (North)   in memory of  the 357 Army and Assam Rifles personnel lost in Nagaland. We object the rationale and the narrative  to the construction of the War Memorial issued by  a senior Assam Rifles Official on 29th January 2020 to the media, “Since 1955 when insurgency first cast its ugly shadow in Nagaland, lives of 357 personnel from the Army and Assam Rifles have been lost.  Their sacrifice has not been in vain for Nagaland today is limping back to normalcy and is an important cog in India’s Act East Policy. The Assam Rifles authorities in Nagaland felt it was necessary to have a memorial that was befitting the supreme sacrifice made by our men in uniform and one which also acts as a beacon of motivation for future generations in the state and country”. He added, “The sacrifice of these brave men has been the reason why peace and near normalcy has be restored in Nagaland...”  While “Mokokchung”, it  further explained, was  chosen as the site for the War Memorial, “Due to its centrality, richness in culture and because a large number of soldiers were martyred in the district in the line of their duty”.  

Mokokchung is the place where only 25 years ago in December 27, 1994 an extraordinary case of massacre, indiscriminate rape and arson  was carried out by the Indian Army. The citizens of Mokokchung remember that day as Ayatia Mokokchung – the Lamentation of Mokokchung.  We have not forgotten. We commemorate it every year. 

Keeping history in perspective, we are shock and hurt by this calculative insensitivity and decision executed by the Assam Rifles. We demand an inquiry if any informed consultation with the Naga people was taken in this regard. We are insulted with the dominant narrative and the lack of depth and understanding of the Indo-Naga crisis on the part of the Indian Security Forces.  We appeal to the Government of India to take cognizance of this matter and rectify the blunder made in the historical reading, narrative and inauguration  of the War Monument  in Nagaland by the Assam Rifles.  

We do not want our history distorted nor manipulated. We hope the great people of India will extend her support and understanding to our Naga struggle and position. We cannot believe that the statement above made by the Assam Rifles Official represent the thinking of the Indian Army. The arrogant triumph a list mindset revealed by it is not worthy of India. 

Concerned Nagas

Awa Jamir

Akum Jamir

Toshi Longkumer

I. Temjen Jamir 

ZenikhotsoIralu

AnunglaMollier

Bendang Jamir

Lima Longchar

Imojen Jamir

Yangerla Imchen

Sunep Jamir

Narola Ozukum

AvibuTerhuja

Arsashi

I. Ayangla

Zulukumzuk Pongen

Apong Longchar

Daniel Longchar

Monchumo Ovung

Chinok Pongen

Suponenba

T. Akangtemjen Longkumer

Akhrie Kiewhou

Avitho Terhuja

Toshinaro Longchar

 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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