The Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Nagaland, Kohima.
Sub: REPRESENTATION ON ASSAM- NAGALAND BORDER SETTLEMENT.
The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) respectfully place before your honour the following points of factual position on the long standing Nagaland – Assam Border issue with a sincere hope that you would graciously pursue it to retrieve the Ancestral, Traditional and Historical lands and restore it to the victim Nagas so as to fulfil the long cherish dreams of the people of Nagaland.
- The principle interest of the Colonial power in India in the 18th and 19th centuries were to seek their profit, desires and conveniences in the vast and rich land of India without any regard for the interest of the colonized land and its people. One such reason was that the Tea Cultivated Areas attracted their greatest interest in Northeast, and after the seizure of the Ahom Kingdom of Assam by the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826, the Colonizers coveted the Naga areas in the plain adjoining the Ahom Kingdom for their Tea cultivation. Unlike the Ahom Kingdom, the Naga Tribes had no central authority; the land belonged not to any government but to the Tribe and Village. Without the consent of the unlettered Villagers, the Colonial Administration illegally cultivated the virgin jungles belonging to the Nagas along the Nagaland – Assam plain areas into Tea Gardens and Reserved Forests which were subsequently transferred to Assam District by the then British Government of India solely for the purpose of the Administrative conveniences in total violation of the land owner’s right.
- This is the Core issue for which the Nagas for once are united in demanding its return right from the first formal meeting with the Simon Commission in 1929. The Nagas put up a petition to the Simon Commission for return of the Transferred Forests back to the Naga Hills. Then after 18 years, in 1947, June 27 to 29 the Governor of Assam Sir, Akbar Hydari came to Kohima and negotiated a Nine Point Agreement with the Nagas; where the Governor, the secretary to the Governor Mr Rastumji and the primer of Assam, Sir GopinathBordoloi, appended their signatures to document in their own hand, vowing to abide by all the terms of Agreement. One of the Terms of Agreement vide Point-6 (i) was the return of the Reserved Forests taken away from the Naga Hills. Quote:- “6 (i) to bring back into the Naga Hills District all the forests transferred to Sibragar and Nowgong District in the past”. Unquote.
- During August 1957, pursuant to the desires of the Naga People’s Convention, the Government of India amalgamated the Tuensang-Mon Area inhabited by Nagas of the then North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA) to the Naga Hills and formed a separate Administration Unit called Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA) but the transferred integral Lands of the Nagas were not included in the NHTA.TheNagas were greatly dissatisfied and demanded the creation of a full-fledged NAGALAND STATE with all their ancestral Lands included.
- It is undeniable fact that the State of Nagaland was born as the 16th State of the Indian Union on 1st December 1963 out of Political Agreement known as “The Sixteen Point Agreement” of 1960, with a Special Provision of Art 371A of the Constitution of India for Nagaland. In the course of discussion, the question of creating a separate State for Naga areas emerged and under Point 12 of the Memorandum, theNaga delegation demanded the return to Nagaland all the Reserved Forests transferred from Naga Hills to Assam during the British regime in line with a petition by the Nagas to the Simon Commission for “return of the Transferred Forests back to the Naga Hills” in 1929, and as per Agreed Point-6 (i) of the Nine Point Agreement of 1947.
- During the process of formulation of the Statehood of Nagaland the representative of the Government of India pointed out to the Naga delegation on behalf of the Government of India that the boundary of the new State have to be stated in the First Schedule of the Constitution if it was to come into being as a State. Accordingly under Regulation 6 of 1957 and Nagaland Act of 1962, the 3 Districts of Kohima, Mokokchung and Tuensang were notified in the scheduled would form part of the State of Nagaland but without properly defining boundary,inspite of the Nagas having their own proper traditional boundary with Assam.
- The Naga delegation was advised to take up boundary issues under the provision of Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution of India after accepting the State.After discussion, the Government of India had agreed to place on record in connection with the Nagaland State boundary with Assam the following Agreement and the Nagas had agreed to accept “Statehood”. Point – 12 of the Sixteen Point Agreement,Quote; “The Naga delegation discussed the question of the inclusion of the Reserved Forests and of contiguous areas inhibited by the Nagas. They were referred to the provisions in Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution, prescribing the procedure for the transfer of areas from one state to another”.Unquote.
- It was on the basis of the final agreement arrived at in July 1960, that Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, on 1st August 1960 announced in Parliament, the Government of India’s decision to established “Nagaland” a state comprising the territory of the then existing Naga Hills Tuensang Area. Government of India could not make definite arrangement at that stage before Nagaland become a State on the question of restoration of transferred areas but the issue was kept open for future settlement under the Constitution of India. The then Prime Minister of India even went on to say in the Parliament that “Agreement is Agreement; it will be implemented in Toto”. Unfortunately things never emerged as expected inspite of promises of the then Prime Minister of India who unfortunately passed away prematurely in 1964, and the Nagas today feel deceived by the words of the Articles in the Constitution of India.
- After accepting Statehood, the Naga people had hoped that the Government of India, according to their assurance given to the delegation and as had been enumerated in Point-12 of the Sixteen Point Agreement, would take immediate action to readjust the boundaries between the two states of Nagaland and Assam by returning all the Reserved Forests and other areas transferred out of the then Naga Hills to Assam. For nearly sixty years now, the Naga people have been still waiting without any solution to the problem insight. The Naga people have become restive and emotionally charged with doubt that the fate of “Sixteen Point Agreement” of 1960, the very basis of Nagaland Statehood would also meet the same fate as that of “Nine Point Agreement” of 1947.
- Altogether there were eight Agreements signed between the two neighbouring states, a supposedly and hopefully a Neutral Forces even, was deployed in the troubled areas but the so called Neutral Forces under the control and command of the Head of the Police Forces of Assam was not equal to the task. In every past agreement Assam betrayed Nagaland. There were intermittent loss of lives and troubles in the Area. The two neighbours even fought a Border War.
- Assam claims of 1925 Inner line as the Boundary between Nagaland and Assam. This Inner line was never meant to be Land Boundary between the two states. This Inner line was constituted by the British long before Indian Independence and placed in their own convenience for administrative purposes so as to preserve and protect the unique life of the Nagas from the exploitation from various sophistications of the advance Societies and undesirable persons from outside.In the light of the above, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) firmly rejects the 1925 Inner Line to be the boundary demarcation between Nagaland and Assam as it has no historical or traditional basis.
- The Assam government frequently sends out strong Armed Police parties to Nagaland border areas and treat the Nagas as foreigners and annexes even Naga ancestral and traditional lands from the defenceless and innocent Naga Villagers.Nagas have lost maximum ancestral, traditional and historical lands to Assam.
- As a matter of fact the first boundary of the then Naga Hills District was notified in 1867 and then rectified in 1875 and Notification issued vide No. 89 No 3386 P. dated Fort William, 24th December 1875. The Ancestral, Traditional and Historical territory and that of the Reserved Forests of the Nagas therein as Naga Hills District of Assam was properly demarcated in this Notification. This boundary of the Naga Hills District of Assam is ultimately the State boundaries of Nagaland and Assam.
Therefore, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) urges upon your honour to react appropriately on the issue and impress upon Government of India to act on the points of Agreement Nagas already had with the Government of India to respect the successive agreements and invoke Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution of India and arbitrate the Boundary of Nagaland and Assam on the basis of the Nagaland-Assam boundary demarcation Notification issued vide No. 89 No 3386 P. dated Fort William, 24th December 1875 as mentioned in serial No 12 above and restore the long awaited Ancestral, Traditional and Historical lands along with the Transferred Forests of the Nagas.
TONIHO YEPTHOMI NRIBEMO NGULLIE
President NTC. General Secretary NTC
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