Naga political struggle is not six decades old
The treaty of Yandaboo took place on 24th February 1826 and soon the British Indian government decided to create a corridor to the east in their newly acquired territories of Assam, Cachar and Manipur for their political and administrative convenience and to keep an eye on the Burmese. From Fort William in Bengal, the authorities assigned Captain Jenkins and Lieutenant Pemberton, in January 1832, to lead the expedition and gain information on “TERRA INCOGNITA” the unknown and unconquered Naga country. They first came in contact with Angami Nagas and the Kuccha Nagas in the Naga hills. The fierce, unyielding and stealthy nature of the Nagas terrorised both the British expeditionary force and neighbours in the plains. The Angami Nagas were the first to encounter and resist British expansionists and the same spirit of resistance lit up in all Naga villages as the Britishers forayed into Naga homeland. In the decades that followed, the British, primarily with their superior firearms against spears and machetes of the Naga tribes, managed to subdue and administer a portion of Naga territory. The genesis of military and political conflict between Nagas and British expeditionary forces is clearly documented meticulously by historians.
From the first British expedition in the Naga Hills in 1832 up till 2015, so many historical events have taken place in Naga homeland. The simmering conflict went on as Naga villages resisted British power by raiding British subjects and assets very often and equally followed by harshest retaliations from the expeditionary forces, often killing inhabitants and burning down entire villages. The enrolment of Naga Labour corps during WWI, the formation of Naga Club in 1918, the historic memorandum submitted to Simon Commission in 1929, the Naga contribution to Allied forces during WWII, the Declaration of Naga independence on 14th August 1947, the Naga plebiscite on 16th May 1951, are all historical and political activism, a smouldering political conflict.
“The political conflict is about six decades old,” says the opening line in the Framework Agreement signed between GOI and NSCN (IM) on 3rd August 2015. The pertinent question is, will the Naga people, those living in Indian states and in Myanmar, accept a political document that reduces the Naga struggle to just six decades? Can any Naga worth his salt agree to logic that political conflict started only in the mid 1950s?
The Indo-Naga political conflict has two stages. The British period and the post Indian Independence period. History is clear that Nagas never welcomed Captain Jenkins, Lieutenant Pemberton and seven hundred British soldiers and seven hundred porters with grand feast and merrymaking in the winter of 1832. Instead they were harassed, opposed and resisted with great valour by the natives at every corner. It is now one hundred and eighty eight years in 2020! Naga club was a politically inspired institution borne out of a great conflict which gave the enlightened Nagas a political vision. It is hundred and two years in 2020! Simon Commission is ninety one years in 2020. The Naga Independence Day is seventy four years. The Naga plebiscite is seventy one years.
REVIEW OF FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT IMPORTANT:
The question is, about whose political conflict was the Framework Agreement signed? Which leader or group has the audacity to sign on a document that states Political conflict started around 1955-56? On this issue, NSCN (IM) leadership must seek a review with GoI on the text of Framework Agreement. We hope the GoI will accept the fact that six decades is just a fraction of Indo-Naga political conflict and necessary correction be initiated on FA. A people’s political journey cannot be dismissed in such an abject manner. It clearly reflects lack of Naga people’s consultation and participation prior to signing of FA. After five years and much secrecy, it appeared in public domain only recently showing excluding greater part of Naga history and struggle. Although the Framework Agreement has erased the golden years of Naga struggle, the Naga people must retrieve every page and chapter and GoI, as per Agreed Position between GoI and WC,NNPGs, must restore Naga identity by correcting Naga chronology of political conflict.
NAGALAND AND NAGALIM:
The usage of “NAGALAND” instead of “NAGALIM” in the Framework Agreement has forced the WC, NNPGs to issue this statement. If the Framework Agreement was signed under ‘Nagalim’, no response would have been necessary due to the fact that the usage of ‘Nagalim’ is confined to NSCN (IM) members alone and their interpretation would have been irrelevant. To them “Nagaland” denotes the present geographical area of the Indian state of Nagaland. They discarded Nagaland and coined “Nagalim” in their political vocabulary to propagate a different narrative. However, suddenly on the eve of signing the Framework Agreement in 2015, they found the beautiful, blissful God given ‘Nagaland’ more profound and document worthy in place of the discomforting ‘Nagalim’. The leadership might simply justify and defend the use of ‘Nagaland’ in the FA citing ceasefire agreement or any excuse to defend the non feasibility of ‘Nagalim’. The sweet name of our nation ‘NAGALAND’ is a powerful name. No other name can replace ‘Nagaland’. It is inclusive of all Naga tribes and lands in Indian states and in Myanmar. It is wise to use ‘Nagaland’
WHO IS ANTI-NAGA:
In a recent statement issued in the name of Hutovi Chishi, Convener, steering Committee, NSCN (IM) on 18th August, 2020, there was a clear threat perception against the rest of Naga revolutionary groups, all tribes and sub tribes in Nagaland and affiliated organisations, NGBF and entire village chiefs. It was the NSCN (IM) who fell in line first with R.N Ravi when they signed FA on 3rd Aug. 2015 without consulting the Naga tribes. The Naga people, the Naga tribes have every reason to label NSCN (IM) as anti Naga for misleading the Nagas for twenty three years. The Naga tribes have given up hope on NSCN (IM) leadership to bring home a solution and therefore the tribal leaders and village headmen, in one voice, with WC, NNPGs as people’s mandated representatives, are demanding GoI interlocutor Mr. R.N Ravi to announce honourable and acceptable solution to the Indo-Naga talks. Which leader, then, has the authority to declare an individual or an organisation anti-Naga? The group desirous of an enduring peaceful co-existence or the group which is working very hard to sabotage and prolong the issue at any cost? WC believes it is for the Naga people to judge and decide which leader is anti-Naga.
ON SHARED SOVEREIGNTY:
On the issue of shared sovereignty narrative, that India is a federal state with each state sharing sovereign powers in the form of central list, state list and concurrent list is amply clear. The states are given space to exercise sovereign powers sourced from the constitution. In a nutshell this is shared sovereignty. If there is anything more the GoI has agreed on, NSCN (IM) must declare to the Naga people. As per the contents of the Framework Agreement, the talks had concluded by 2015, yet, the NSCN (IM) has not shared any written document nor held proper consultation with the stakeholders, i.e the Naga tribes on so many intricate matters that are going to affect each Naga individual and tribe every day. The secrecy will have to be revealed and Naga people will take the call on the idea of shared sovereignty, whether it will serve the purpose of all Nagas or few. On the other hand, the WC, NNPGs had invited and consulted Naga stakeholders at all levels from the day one. Neighbouring communities have been made aware as well. Every word in the ‘Agreed Position’ signed on 17th Nov. 2017 was meticulously chosen and inserted in the historic document in order to entrench the vision and aspiration of the pioneering Naga nationalists.
INTANGKI NATIONAL RESERVE FOREST:
While crying foul at Interlocutor R.N Ravi and robust Naga Tribal bodies, the main objective of NSCN (IM) political solution is one that looks to create a socialist pattern, holding on to the name of Christ, and remove the idea of private ownership and tribal jurisdictions of Naga tribes, dreaming of enforcing government ownership, nationalising of ancestral tribal lands and resources in the name of inclusive progress. The architects of this utopian political design on Nagaland sit silently at the back while incapacitated loose cannons and semi illiterate members from Nagaland are used as authors in their tirade against Nagas. This philosophy of borrowed legitimacy is very visible. This has led them to seeking from the GoI the permission to make Intangki National Reserve Forest and surrounding areas of Hebron camp as their resettlement and rehabilitation area as part of the Indo-Naga political solution. The only National Reserve Forest that Naga people have as a common property is the Intangki National Reserve forest. Neither Indian parliament nor the constitution can infringe on the land of the Nagas, particularly in Nagaland. Whether constitutionally, historically, legally or otherwise, Intangki Reserve forest is a sacred national property of the tribes of Nagaland. GOI is informed that the WC, NNPGs, along with fourteen tribes of Nagaland, NGBF, NTC, ENPO, CNTC and other Naga civil societies, reaffirm that integration of all Naga inhabited areas is a legitimate political and historical right and while the Naga people engage in democratic political process towards this objective and till such time, any agreement that disturb the status quo of pre-Hebron camp establishment at Intangki reserve Forest, and any consideration of any part of the reserve forest as a bargaining chip for rehabilitation shall not be acceptable at any cost. The traditional ownership of every Naga tribe over their ancestral land, whether Nagas in Myanmar (Burma), Nagas in Nagaland, Nagas in Manipur, Nagas in Arunachal or Nagas in Assam, on the ground, the spirit and flesh of each indigenous person inhabiting his own land settles the matter.
MEDIA CELL, WC, NNPGs.
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