Kohima, May 16: Today is a significant day in the history of Naga politics as the people supposedly opted for an independent Naga nationhood through a plebiscite in 1951.
It was on this day in 1951, the Naga National Council – the first Naga political organization – conducted a plebiscite for independence of Nagaland under the leadership of A Z Phizo. The NNC always claimed that
99.9% opted for independence of Nagaland, and the result was dispatched to the United Nations Organizations (UNO) in New York. But the Government of India had never accepted the plebiscite.
This year due to the lockdown no formal function was organized, but on the occasion NNC president, Adinno Phizo sent out a message. “In a way, it is regretted that we are unable to have a public gathering to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Naga Plebiscite Day as planned due to surge of the Covid – 19 positive cases in our land in recent days. However, in time like this we all have to be careful for personal safety and public welfare, and pray to the Almighty God that the pandemic is controlled,” she said.
Adinno, daughter of AZ Phizo, said under the leadership of the then president A.Z. Phizo, the NNC organized and brought the Naga people to a plebiscite, giving an opportunity to openly decide on their own free will to stay independent or to join India. The result was 99.9% to stay independent, she claimed.
She said when a copy of the outcome of the Naga Plebiscite was given to India, the then Prime Minister Nehru was furious and said, “I will not allow Nagas to be independent.”
“When the Naga delegation told him they are “not asking independence from India”, then he got more furious. And that was how the history of the conflict began with India ever since,” she said.
The NNC president said Nagas are not Indians, and Nagaland is not Indian territory. As such, they are not “rebels” or “underground”. She went on to say that Nagas are living in their own country since time immemorial. Not only that Nagas have a unique history of not entering into any written treaty with any foreign power.
“As Indians saw the Nagas determination they became hostile to our people. We got the information that they wanted to capture NNC President, A.Z. Phizo – ‘Dead or Alive’. And when that failed, India invaded Nagaland and committed atrocities on our people to frighten us to submission but nobody surrendered. Then they burnt down our villages and granaries to force our people to become refugees, but unlike other countries our people returned with community spirit of helping one another and rebuilt their villages.
“We are proud and immensely grateful to our people in the villages for their patriotism and tenacity,” Adinno said.
She said this year Nagas have entered the 74th year of conflict with India since it gained its independence from Britain.
“In failing to subdue the Nagas, the Indian Government is using few Naga factions in their political game against us, forgetting their past history of under foreign occupation. Nagas and Indians have no shared history in anyway. We never had any political problem nor territorial dispute with India at any time in the past. As such, Nagas are not demanding anything from India, except to leave us alone,” the NNC president added.
(Page News Service)