Significantly, as the Indo-Naga political talks reached a critical stage it has drawn nation-wide attention like never before. The cry for early Naga solution is the ardent desire of every Naga and Indian as well. But Naga solution cannot be brought about at the cost of compromising our historical and political rights. We have had bitter and bloody experience with the 16 Points Agreement and Shillong Accord. These are nothing but political flattery to suppress the legitimate Naga political movement. Naga people should not allow such blunders to be repeated under the ongoing Indo-Naga political negotiation.
It took five years of intensive discussions that resulted to recognition of the uniqueness of Naga history and situation by the Government of India on the 11th July 2002 at Amsterdam. This historic declaration is the first ever that the GoI have admitted Nagas were never part of India at any given point of time and that the Naga issue is not that of law and order but political in nature therefore needing political solution. It also marked the basic foothold on which solution to be worked out as two equal partners. Notably, it shows that the uniqueness of the issue demands a unique solution in which the sovereign rights of the Nagas are realized, while the security and paramount interest of India is at the same time safeguarded.
The historic Framework Agreement of the 3rd August, 2015 brought about by the recognition of the unique Naga history and situation is no mean achievement for the Naga people. By signing the FA under the direct supervision of the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi, the Government of India has officially acknowledged the historical reality on the basis of which a permanent solution can be arrived at. The Government of India through the FA recognizes that sovereignty of India and the Nagas lies with their respective peoples. The agreement says, “Inclusive peaceful co-existence of the two entities sharing sovereign power”. By ‘Inclusive’ it means all Nagas and their territories in different administrative units and political camps are to be included in the agreement. Co-existence of the two entities means that Nagas and Union of India will co-exist. And the new relationship between the two shall be as defined in the competencies. This is the only political process to bring solution that is honourable and acceptable.
It may be recalled that the FA was not published to public domain right after the signing as competencies were yet to be worked out at the same time the contents needed safeguarding before the completion of the competencies that will determine the New Relationship between India and the Nagas. While appreciating the genuine concern of the Naga people to know the details of the competencies, we are constraint to inform you that some of the competencies are still under hectic negotiation as you all are aware of. Any agreement signed under Indian constitution can be openly published like others do. But the FA and the competencies being worked out with “outside the box” solution needs caution till its completion. Therefore, we shall surely bring forth before the people in due course of time for wider consultations.
Naga people need not be confused of Nagaland from Nagalim. On the 22nd March, 1956, AZ Phizo formed the Naga Central Government which was later renamed as Federal Government of Nagaland in 1959 that covers the entire territories of Nagas and its people. And that is how our land came to be known as “Nagaland’. Some got confused in the name between Nagaland the country and Nagaland the 16th State of India, mostly to non Nagas out of ignorance and to a few Nagas deliberately. During the National Assembly at Gilgal Camp held from March 27th – 2nd April 1996, it was resolved to use Nagalim in Naga term for Nagaland. Nagalim is derived from the Ao indigenous dialect as ‘lim’ stands for land. Thus, Nagalim denotes Naga nation spread across different states within India and Burma, manipulated and divided between these two nations just after getting independence in 1947 and 1948 respectively. Therefore, Nagaland/Nagalim carries the same meaning as is Tatar Hoho for Parliament, Yaruiwo for President, Kedallo for Vice President and so on and so forth. Thus Nagaland is used in Framework Agreement for the same context and reason.
To some Nagas, our flag may be just a piece of cloth but for the Nagas by blood and the NSCN, Naga Flag is our national and political identity, an inspiration and a covenant between God and Naga people. Nagas cannot bargain the God given rights for anything less than official recognition. Politically, any nation and its people are identified by the flag. In the same manner Naga flag is the political identity of the Naga people as a nation for which under its banner, more than 2,50,000 (two lakhs fifty thousand) Nagas have sacrificed their lives. There is no other way to go forward without the Naga flag.
There has been much talk about constitution in the run up to finalising the Indo-Naga political talks. Without constitution as the principles and laws that determine the power and duties of the government and guarantees rights to the people, how can a nation run? Constitution is our soul without which we cannot govern. At present, different Naga political Organisations or Governments are using their own adopted Yehzabos for their day to day governance. However, the provision for constitution that is being negotiated with the GoI for recognition will be that of the people where after solution, it will be properly drafted by experts, intellectuals and professionals drawn from all walks of life from Nagalim including international constitution drafting experts and legal experts on the basis of the final political agreement made between India and the Nagas.
To all of our people I earnestly appeal once again to be patient and allow the Naga talk team to secure our historical and political rights. Honourable, acceptable and early solution that is inclusive can only be achieved through the basis of Framework Agreement and Competencies being on the verge of completion. May God bless us and our land!
Maj. (Retd.) Hutovi Chishi
Convener, Steering Committee
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