Naga historical facts existed long before the Simon Commission visited Kohima in 1929, but for lack of clarity we may begin with the memorandum to Simon Commission by Naga leaders and members of the Naga Club established under the aegis of the British administration to articulate and express theminds of the Nagas. The Naga Club met Simon commission under Sir Atlee in Kohima in 1929 and was presented the famous memorandum to the Simon commission signed by members representing various Naga tribes. In which among others it was clearly stated that the Nagas would never agree to be under the teeming millions of Indians where half of them hates us for our pork and the other half hates us for our beef.In other words the Nagas were never under British India and they never conquered us.
The memorandum impressed the Commission so much that this memorandum was taken up in the British Parliament and a proposal known as Copeland Proposal was considered.
According to which it was proposed to make all the hill tribes of the Northeast to be made a British Protectorate a part from India. However due to absence of a seaport this proposal could not be implemented. Therefore, under the Government Act of 1935 the Naga areas was categorized under”Excluded areas”. This continues till the end of WWII when the British government was compelled to grant full independence to India. At this time Sir Atlee became the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Accordingly the British government through the then Governor General of India advised the then interim Prime Minister of India Shri Jawaharlal Nehru in 1946 to contact the Naga leaders before trying to include them within independent India.
The interim Government of India thereby sent two emissaries namely Sir Akbar Hydari the then governor of Assam province and Shri Gopinath Bordoloi the then premiere of Assam province, to meet the Naga leaders 1947.
In the meantime the British administration under Sir C. R. Pawsey the then DC Naga hills district had already renamed Naga District Council into Naga National Council. Therefore it was the emissaries of the Government of India who held several talks with the NNC from January to June of 1947.
The NNC had made it clear to the emissaries of India that freedom of religion, tribal culture, customary usages, tribal laws etc, are to be accepted and that its original boundary as made by the British government in 1875 to be restored and all the Naga inhabited areas to be amalgamated into a single administrative unit.On fulfilling these conditions the Naga people will join Indian Union. Accordingly the famous Hydari Agreement or better known as the Nine Points agreement was drawn up and signed by both the parties.
In spite of repeated assurance to include this agreement in the Constitution of India (whereit was pointed out that Shri Gopinath Bordoloi represented the eastern part in the Constituent Assembly of India). However this agreement and commitment of the Government of India was never included in the Constitution of India which was officially enacted on 26th January 1950. This led to the NNC declaring the unilateral plebiscite on 16th May 1951, with the slogan that Nagaland belongs only to the Nagas.
Instead of acknowledging its failures the Government of India imposed draconian law such as Assam Public Maintenance Law, followed by Marshall Law and finally replaced by Indian Armed Forces Special Powers Act which is still going on. The Indian Armed Forces inflicted innumerable atrocities on the Nagas such as killing, raping, maiming, burning of houses, grouping etc. These atrocities had attracted the attention of the world leaders. To avoid international criticism Shri Jawaharlal Nehru decided to take some steps i.e creation of NHTA in 1957 by adding a small portion of promised territories known as Tuensang Frontier Division with Naga Hills. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru decided to completely bifurcate this area into a separate state in 1958. In order to show that it was on the request of the people of Nagaland, a request was sought from the then Naga People Council. Accordingly NPC submitted a memorandum in 1959,which was discussed and entered into another agreement known as 16 Points agreement. In reality this agreement is generally a reiteration of 9-points Agreement, this isseen in point No. 12 & 13 of the 16-points agreement. However, like the previous agreement with the Naga people the Government of India failed to take any step to demarcate the newly created state of Nagaland. Whereas, according to Article 2 & 3 of the Constitution of India it is the duty of the Government of India to demarcate the new state.
Incidentally, it was the Assam government which filed writ petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 1988 to declare the imaginary Inner Line to be made the boundary between Assam and Nagaland. This was hotly contested from the beginning till 2014. In this connection it may be noted that the legal boundary of the state of Nagaland should be according to the commitment made by the Government of India both in 9-points Agreement of 1947 and reiterated in points 12 and 13 of the 16-points Agreement of 1960 and in accordance with Article 363 of the Constitution of India, all courts are barred to interfere in any matter which the Government of India has entered into agreement with any party even prior to the enactment of the Constitution of India.
Thus the Hon’ble Supreme Court finally directed the Government of India take steps in 2014. It is unimaginable that while the Hon’ble Supreme Court clearly acknowledging the historical factswhy the Government of India should not fulfill it’s commitment.It would be a mistake on our part not to stand on the historical reality while dealing with the Government of India.It may also be noted that Nagaland is the only state in the country without a legal boundary.
Theodore Zeldin, one of Britain’s finest intellect stated -” If anyone wants to plan for the future, one must go back to the past” to understand this present so as to plan for the future. We as members of Christ for Nagaland must stand on the word of God, for Jesus said “It is written thou shall not tempt the Lord” and defeated Satan.
Vihielie Sekhose IAS, Retd
Former Advisor, Border Affairs, Nagaland
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