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Nagas do not need another plebiscite; 1951 mandate concluded Nagaland as independent nation: Adinno

NNC plebiscite

Naga plebiscite symbolized collective desire for sovereignty: NSF

KOHIMA, MAY 16: The Naga National Council (NNC) today affirmed that Nagas do not need another plebiscite as the 1951 mandate had decisively concluded Nagaland’s position as an independent nation.
The claim was made by NNC president Adinno Phizo on the occasion of the 74th Naga Plebiscite Day observed at Peace Hall, Chedema here. Adinno’s speech was read out by NNC spokesperson Kolezo Chase in her absence due to ill-health.
“In recent years, some people, ignorant of our own position, have mooted the idea of another plebiscite or a referendum. Nagas do not need another plebiscite.
A referendum is not applicable in our case as the sovereignty of Nagaland has nothing to do with the internal affairs of other sovereignties. Another plebiscite may be necessary in cases of dispute in the mandate. The mandate of the Naga plebiscite was beyond dispute”, she said.
Adinno affirmed that a referendum may be necessary for secession but the Naga case was not a secession case.
“The plebiscite 1951 mandate had decisively concluded Nagaland’s position as an independent nation”, she said adding that the mandate reflected the aspiration of the entire Nagas of all regions.
“It was inclusive and not exclusive. However, self-exclusion was also a choice because plebiscite exercise itself was voluntary”, she said.
Seventy-three years ago today, the NNC had called for a voluntary national plebiscite to be conducted on May 16, 1951. It was necessitated as the Government of India, particularly the Assam administration had not only doubted the independence of Naga people but also challenged the veracity of the independence of Nagaland as declared on August 14, 1947, she said.
The challenge was in the Naga Hills district administered area and the plebiscite was conducted in the areas where the challenge was thrown, she said, adding that in other un-administered areas, there was no such challenge.
The object of conducting the voluntary plebiscite was to let the world know of our independent status since ancient times and also to ratify our unique position as established by the independence declaration, she said.
“It was to show India and the world of our aspiration that there was an effective unity of the Naga people.
The plebiscite was not to decide on whether or not Nagaland should become a part of India.
The purpose was to make our position perfectly clear by the people’s mandate in print and to put on record the result achieved through the democratic process”, she affirmed.
The NNC tabulated the result of the plebiscite and formally announced the result in March 1952, and the result was a resounding 99.9% ‘YES’ mandate for independence, she said.
“Plebiscite 1951 has since remained a time-tested Naga oath. Whether or not, India recognized the plebiscite was not an issue”, Adinno said.
The mandate of the plebiscite gave the solid basis for all future political talks with the neighbouring countries occupying the Naga country, she said.
“It had closed all doors for any discussion within the constitutional framework of any other sovereignty”, she said.
Lamenting that out of ignorance or confusion, some people are continuously harping on finding a solution to self-created problems within the Constitution of India, she said that the occupation situation is the political problem and it has to end first for serious and meaningful dialogue to begin.
“Plebiscite mandate is a path-finder towards that direction. So long as this historical fact is ignored, there will be no break-through in any political talk”, she declared.
Meanwhile, Adinno also conveyed salutations to the living legends, who had participated in the voluntary national plebiscite and also remembered those participants who are no longer alive.
Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) vice president Mtseisuding said the Naga history is not just a series of events but is a saga of resilience, courage and the unyielding pursuit of sovereignty.
Through this momentous plebiscite in 1951, the Naga people spoke with a unified voice by voting 99.9% in favour of Naga Sovereignty, sending a powerful message to the world about our collective desire for sovereignty, he said.
Reflecting on the significance of the event which stands as a testament to the unwavering resolve of the Naga people, as a voice of the young Nagas, he said “we are compelled to ask ourselves this question: Where are we heading towards sovereignty today?”
He wondered if Nagas are closer to achieving the dreams and aspirations for which the forefathers fought so valiantly.
“The Naga plebiscite of yesteryears symbolized our collective desire for sovereignty. It was a momentous occasion that embodied the hopes and aspirations of our people. Yet, as we stand here today, we find ourselves grappling with internal divisions and external pressures that threaten to undermine our unity and dilute our purpose”, he said.
We are compelled to reflect not only on the significance of this historic event but also on the challenges that we continue to face in our pursuit of sovereignty, he said.
Expressing that one such challenge is the enduring policy of “divide and rule” employed by external forces, he said this divisive policy has sown seeds of exploiting internal divisions and rivalries by pitting us against each other, seeking to weaken our resolve and thwart our aspirations for sovereignty.
“Today, in solidarity, the NSF advocates for a cause that transcends boundaries and speaks to the essence of humanity – Naga unity. We carry the torch of our forefathers’ legacy. We cannot afford to allow internal divisions and external pressures to derail our quest for sovereignty”, he said.
Nagas must confront a reality that weighs heavily upon us – if we are divided amongst ourselves, how can we hope to stand against the external forces that seek to undermine our aspirations for sovereignty, he questioned.
In this, he called upon all to rise above the petty squabbles and conflicts that threaten to tear the Nagas apart.
“As we strive for the unified lim and glory of the Nagas, let us transcend the barriers that divide us ~ whether they be of ideology, geography or personal ambition. Let us build bridges of understanding and cooperation, reaching out to one another with empathy, respect and a willingness to listen and learn. Together, let us rebuild our house, brick by brick, until it stands as a beacon of hope and resilience for generations to come”, he said.
Calling upon all to remember the words of wisdom by the forefathers, who understood the importance of unity in times of adversity, the NSF vice president reminded that the Naga forefathers stood together, shoulder to shoulder, against external forces that sought to oppress and divide the Nagas.
“It is our duty to honor their legacy by following in their footsteps and forging a path of unity and solidarity for future generations”, he said.
Chaired by NNC kilo kilonser Shevohü Keyho the observation commenced with prayer by Associate Pastor of KABC Dr Imsutoshi Lemtur while special numbers were presented by Chedema Thenuko Krotho and Rengma Baptist Church Kohima.
NNC Advisor Dziesevilie Kesiezie tendered the vote of thanks.
(Page News Service)

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