Post Mortem

An appeal to Naga leaders and concerned Nagas

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/16/2020 12:33:52 PM IST

 It is very painful to see the divisions and differences amongst the Nagas on the issue relating to Naga Political solution. Nagas were one from the time immemorial but during the British rule, Nagas were divided and put some to Myanmar, some to Nagaland, some to Arunachal and some to Manipur for administrative convenience. However, whatever, and wherever they might be, we are Nagas and should be united, never to be divided. In the present Naga political talk it is learnt that Land integration of Naga contiguous area is not possible due to the objection of neighbouring states but Nagas will remain as Nagas.

May I appeal to our Naga leaders, intellectuals and concerned Naga citizens to ponder seriously over the Naga issue and guide the general public in line with the unity and the common interest of the Nagas. In this connection, I want you to revisit the Naga history and the sacrifices made for Nagas struggle for self determination.

It is noted that our Nagas aspiration for Self Determination has reflected from submission of memorandum to Simon Commission in 1929 by Naga Club. This has an impact on British India Rule in 1935 British Parliament has passed a bill and put Naga Hills under the Excluded Area of British-India governance which is equivalent to Independence. Meanwhile, movement for Nagas right for freedom was then organized under Naga National Council led by Late A. Z. Phizo. And in 1946 a delegation led by A. Z Phizo went to Delhi and met Mahatma Gandhi and informed him that Nagas are not Indian and their land also does not belong to India. Then Gandhiji replied, if you said you are not Indian and your land does not belong to India then the matter ends there. I cannot force you to join the Indian Union. Nagas have every right to be Independent. The delegation then came back home and declared Naga Independence on 14th August, 1947. However, from 1954 onwards the Indian Govt. deployed their forces to Nagaland and started shooting/killing, torturing, destroying the building/properties, burning of granaries, villages etc. and forcefully occupied the Nagas land. Despite all these sufferings, the Nagas did not give up but grows more stronger resisting the Indian forces. Slowly Naga Armies were well organized and fought with the Indian forces. However, in due course of time, the Nagas struggled for freedom went into rough weather of ups and down at some point of time yet Nagas never gave up and never have surrendered to their adversaries. That`s why Nagas struggle for political freedom has been continued till today.

In between, splitting of Naga Naional workers led to the formation of different groups and also took place in signing of Ceasefire Agreement, Accords etc but were all a failure. In the phase of all these, a group of Naga National Council who opposed to these accords or Agreement formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland led by Isaac Swu and Th. Muivah (NSCN - IM). The contribution of NSCN (IM) for spreading of Naga issue to different countries and earned a membership in UNPO is a great achievement for the Nagas. They have kept a life the Naga issue to this day.

Now with the effort of NSCN (IM) and the mandate given to them by the Nagas, the talk on Naga political issue with the Govt. of India (GoI) was started from 1997 and is continuing to this day. Some may disagree but this is the truth and no one can deny. Through negotiation with the Govt. of India Framework Agreement has been signed on 3rd August, 2015. Under the Frame Work Agreement, the Government of India (GoI) has recognized the Unique history of the Nagas, Share Sovereignty between the two entities and peaceful coexistence. The unique history of Nagas are declaration of Self Determination for Freedom (from 1929), claiming of their legitimate rights for freedom (1946), Naga Hills put in the Excluded Area passed by British Parliament, Nagaland was one time put under the Ministry of External affairs (GoI), Nagas lived a different lifestyle in governance and have their own social, political, cultural and traditional identity, and their life stock also different from Indians and extra and extra. That is the unique history of Nagas recognized by the GoI. The Naga political history is a unique one quite different from other state like J&k, Manipur etc. and should not be taken for comparison.

Again, the two parties have agreed the Share Sovereignty between the two entities which means sharing powers between the two different nations. Also the two parties agreed peaceful coexistence. So under the Framework Agreement there is a scope for demand of Constitution and Flag and is negotiable. Nagas knew that they need India and should live peacefully with the Indians but GOI has to accept what has been agreed and not to cheat the Nagas again like the Akbar Hydari Ali Agreement.

My dear Naga fellows, Naga solution is the fight for our legitimate rights to self determination and exchange of the sacrifices made for Naga cause and not the package. No doubt package may be there but the priority is our rights for freedom. When we think of Naga solution remember how many of our beloved Naga intellectuals, good leaders , Naga patriots etc. has been killed and tortured to die beyond imagination, how many houses, granaries, properties burnt down and how many has been made to starvation. Let us also think of how long Nagas has suffered. We have to consider the sacrifices and sufferings in exchange of solution and not the mere package. And above all, I earnestly appeal to fellow Nagas particularly the Naga leaders of any organizations/groups not to criticize the negotiators and not have differences and divisions amongst us. Let us also not support our adversaries to divide us again. Whatever problems/differences crop up should be settled within us through the goodwill and in the spirit of brotherhood. Nagas will live with Nagas and not with our adversaries. Let us not sell out our legitimate rights at the expense of facilities or favour. Let us do what is good for Nagas. Bear the differences and amicably solve the problem. Let us also remember that Naga solution is for all Nagas. Nagas have fought together for their rights from beginning so solution will also be for all Nagas. Let us not be apprehensive of that facility or that package or power. Everyone should get his/her own share of what one has contributed even for being a Naga. A system for fair treatment to be evolved by the Naga leaders after the settlement.

Now, Negotiation taken over 23 years has worried the Naga people and every Naga wanted the solution at the earliest. During the period much consultations and discussions have been made with NGOs, Civil Societies, Political parties, Intellectuals, Individuals etc by both the GoI and the NSCN (IM). They have done research after research. They have fully understood all the problems of the Nagas. So no individual or organization or group should mind that their opinions or suggestion are not taken because they filtered all the different problems and taking care of the common interest. So let us not criticize or discourage them but support them and pray to God to give them wisdom and good health to settle the Naga issue in the larger interest of the Nagas and for peaceful coexistence.

Wanthang Rengma (Retd.) Director (G&M), Dimapur

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