Naga insurgency: Blame it on WWII, says RS house panel

Naga insurgency: Blame it on  WWII, says RS house panel
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GUWAHATI, July 25: As Nagaland stands at the threshold of achieving the long-elusive peace solution, the Rajya Sabha standing committee on home affairs in a report said that it was the WWII that united the numerous Naga tribes and clans and converted them to modern guerrilla fighting machines, providing them with arms and ammunition left behind by Japanese army to wage their armed struggle for sovereignty.
The department-related Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs headed by former home minister P Chidambaram in its 213th report on security situation in northeastern states that was presented in Rajya Sabha on July 19 stated that Nagaland also blamed the policies of British that prevented the Naga tribesmen to mingle with the greater Indian society.
“The British followed a policy of least interference in the Naga-inhabited areas. In 1873, the British introduced the inner line system that prevented the people from the plains, except the Christian missionaries, from entering the Naga-inhabited areas. The policy of inner line helped to prevent dilution and disruption of the Naga culture, but contributed to their isolation and prevented their integration with the mainstream society,’’ the report said.
Then came the Government of India Act, 1935, on the recommendations of the Simon Commission, by which the Naga Hills were declared as ‘Excluded Area’ but continued to be administered by the Assam government. The report said, “This new arrangement was somewhat in line with the demands of the Nagas, who did not want the Naga territory to be attached with India.”
The committee states in its report, “World War II had a significant impact on the Nagas. It brought unity and integration among different tribes and clans, introduced them to modern guerrilla fighting and provided them a huge cache of arms and ammunition left by the defeated Japanese Army. After the end of the war, the Naga Hills Tribal Council was formed in April 1945 to help in the relief and rehabilitation work. It was converted into the Naga National Council (NNC) a year later with the aim of social and political upliftment of the Nagas.”
It said that though initially, the NNC sought to establish a political solidarity of all Nagas and inclusion of Naga Hills within the Assam province of free
India with sufficient autonomy, after Independence of India, demands for independence of Nagas were voiced from all quarters of Naga society. “NNC rejected the offer of autonomy under the Constitution of India and in 1951, under the leadership of the then NNC President Angami Zapu Phizo, a referendum was held on the issue of Naga independence. The Nagas voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence. They went on to boycott the first General Elections of independent India in 1952,” the report adds.
The centre, in an attempt to curb the secessionist tendencies, deployed army units in Nagaland and conducted a crackdown on the activities of NNC in 1953 and in response, the Nagas formed a parallel government and a parallel army of their own. Soon the Naga Hills region was embroiled in large-scale conflicts and violence. Phizo left Nagaland in 1956 and ended up in London with an aim of mobilising international support for the cause of the Nagas.
After NNC was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 in 1972, large scale counterinsurgency operation was launched which culminated in the signing of the Shillong Accord on November 11, 1975, between the central government and Naga outfits. This accord did not end the insurgency and rebellion against this accord led to the formation of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980. In 1988, due to inter-factional rivalries, NSCN was split into two factions, the Isak-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM) and the SS Khaplang faction (NSCN-K). Both the outfits had an objective of establishing a “Nagalim? or greater Nagaland, comprising all Naga-inhabited areas of the States of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Myanmar. (TNN)