Saturday, June 15, 2024
Your Page

The Truth About Sixteen Point Agreement 1960

It is the desire of all Nagas to know as to who actually is the real architect of the sixteen point agreement of 1960 and the Shillong Accord of 1975. The blame game must end and in order to do so, the career and activities of late Ralengnao Khathing Tangkhul, also called Major Bob Khathing, MC, MBE (1912-1990), cannot escape the scrutiny of history. He was Manipur Maharaja’s minister for Hills Administration before it joined the Indian union in 1949. Later he joined the Army as Asst. Commandant in the Assam Rifles and became an Assistant Political Officer in the then North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). He was inducted into Indian Frontier Administrative Service (IFAS) and served as political officer under Tuensang Frontier Division in 1954. As Naga political movement gained momentum, he advised the government for the formation of Village Voluntary Force (VVF) aimed at confronting Naga nationalists using Nagas. He was appointed Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Mokokchung in 1958 and went on to become Chief Secretary of Nagaland state in 1967
Ralengnao Bob Khathing Tangkhul, possessed an out and out Indian military strategist’s mindset and although a Naga by blood, he exhibited a very strong anti-Naga nationalist stance as a bureaucrat. There was nothing in him, either in words or action, to show he was a Naga. Naga Nationalism, to him, was an abhorrance and a dismissive subject in a Nehruvian mould. On the eve of Nagaland statehood, GoI utilized his experience as a soldier and as an Assistant political officer in NEFA area and also as Indian IFAS officer in the Naga hills, the GoI provided all bureaucratic leverages to him on the Naga political matter. From 1951 till statehood, almost a million Indian military poured into Nagaland and as hundreds of Naga villages turned to ashes, thousands of men, women and children perished in the genocide, the Indian military officer in him did not see human catastrophe occuring right under his eyes. The events of untold misery did not prick his conscience as a Naga. For the act of brutally suppressing the Naga political movement, the Indian Government awarded him Padma Shri in 1957, the fourth highest civilian award.
Bob Khathing Tangkhul was instrumental in the demarcation of Nagaland state boundary. A helicopter was provided by GoI to verify topography around Naga homeland and on many occasions Nagaland state boundary was drawn midair from the helicopter! He did all he could to minimize the physical boundary and segregate Nagas in order to fulfil a new plan taking shape in his mind after Nagaland statehood.
History clearly says he was a primary member in the committee who finalized the draft of 16 point Agreement. In short, Bob Kathing Tangkhul played a key role in dividing Naga ancestral land into Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Burma.
Prior to Nagaland statehood, Ino R.C Chiten Jamir, a pragmatic Ao Naga leader, was sent to Ukhrul and other Naga areas to appeal and to invite Naga brothers in Manipur to join Nagaland state. Meeting after meeting he was flately told that Tangkhuls and other Manipur Nagas were comfortable in the present circumstances under Manipur. Disappointed and dejected the team returned to Nagaland. Naga integration was there for the taking but the opportunity went by since it was rejected by Tangkhul brethren without consulting other Naga communities in Manipur.
After playing a pivotal role in the finalisation of 16 point draft agreement, ensuring the newly created Nagaland remained a mere 16,579 sq.kms of the total Naga ancestral homeland. The inauguration of Nagaland state on Dec.1, 1960 did not go down well with the Naga National Council (NNC) and Naga nationalists rejected the 16 point agreement and condemned the NPC.
Ralengnao Khathing Tangkhul was inspired by the creation of Nagaland state within the Indian union, carved out from the ancestral land of sixteen indigenous Naga tribes.
After Nagaland, he envisioned a dream of a separate Wung Tangkhul state within the Indian union, comprising of present Ukhrul District and other Naga inhabited areas of Manipur. By 1964, he gave shape to this plan when he called up and convinced a host of young educated Tankhuls to join the Naga political movement to work towards creation of Wung Tangkhul state. Very soon Ino Th. Muivah enrolled in the Naga movement at Viswema, Angami Country in February 1965. Many other graduates, PU qualified and matriculates from Tangkhul tribe sought enrollment in the Naga movement. So much water have flowed down the Dzukou valley since. Today the political narratives have changed but the facts of history will stay. Ralengnao Khathing Tangkhul, the Indian soldier, bureaucrat and diplomat was the real architect of 16 point agreement that led to formation of Nagaland state.
As the chief Secretary of Nagaland in 1967, he was instrumental in the formation of Nagaland Armed Police (NAP) and Naga Regiment which further eroded the strength and capability of Naga nationalists. Former comrades fought pitched battles, tribalism became a powerful tool which crippled the Naga movement. The steep division within NNC led to the signing of the infamous Shillong Accord on 11th November 1975. Here too, as Chairman of Administrative Commission, Nagaland, the Government of India had a faithful servant in Khathing Tangkhul to extract its pound of flesh from the Nagas. From 1950 to 1975, every page of Naga history is written in blood and tears. From Manipur Maharaja’s cabinet in 1948 to post retirement honorary duties in Nagaland, Major Bob Khathing Tangkhul, MC, MBE, Padmashree, Two time winner of Indian Army C-in-C medal winner, chased laurels of Indian Government by exterminating his own people with both sword and pen without any compunction. History is what it is.
(This Press release is issued after thorough deliberations with Naga National political leaders of the past, retired Indian bureaucrats and Indian military figures. Retrieval of office memos in Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.)
Media Cell