A high-level delegation of the Working Committee (WC) of the NNPGs meeting interlocutor and Nagaland governor RN Ravi in New Delhi on February 24 Credit: File image

Kohima: The Working Committee (WC) of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) said that the Naga people and the Naga tribes have “every reason to label NSCN (IM) as anti-Naga for misleading the Nagas for 23 years” and have given up hope on NSCN-IM leadership to bring a solution.

A lengthy statement from the WC NNPGs began by pointing out the Framework Agreement signed between GOI and NSCN (IM) on August 3, 2015. “The political conflict is about six decades old,” said the opening line.

Citing chronological reference of history, the NNPGs questioned if the Naga people, those living in Indian states and in Myanmar will 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?” it questioned.

It said that the Indo-Naga political conflict has two stages — the British period and the post-Indian Independence period. The Naga club was a politically inspired institution borne out of a great conflict which gave the enlightened Nagas a political vision and it is hundred and two years this year, it said. “The Naga Independence Day is seventy four years. The Naga plebiscite is seventy one years,” it added.

Review of the Framework Agreement

The NNPGs questioned 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,” it questioned and said that the 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,” the NNPGs said.

According to the NNPGs, the Framework Agreement has “erased the golden years of Naga struggle” and so the Naga people must retrieve every page and chapter and GoI, as per Agreed Position between GoI and WC,NNPGs, and must restore Naga identity by correcting Naga chronology of political conflict.

Use of the word “Nagaland” instead of “Nagalim” in FA

The NNPGs said that the usage of “NAGALAND” instead of “NAGALIM” in the Framework Agreement has forced them to issue the 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, it said.

The group said that according to the NSCN-IM, “Nagaland” denotes the present geographical area of the Indian state of Nagaland. It alleged that the NSCN-IM discarded Nagaland and coined “Nagalim” in their political vocabulary to propagate a different narrative.

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’, it said. As per the NNPGs, no other name can replace ‘Nagaland’ and that it is inclusive of all Naga tribes and lands in Indian states and in Myanmar and therefore it is wise to use ‘Nagaland’.

NSCN-IM as anti-Naga?

Highlighting about a statement issued by Hutovi Chishi, Convener, steering Committee, NSCN-IM on August 18, the NNPGs said that 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 said that it was the NSCN-IM who fell in line first with RN Ravi when they signed FA 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,” it said.

As Naga tribes gave up hope on NSCN-IM leadership to bring solution, it said that the tribal leaders and village headmen, in one voice, with WC, NNPGs as people’s mandated representatives, are demanding the GoI interlocutor to announce an “honourable and acceptable solution to the Indo-Naga talks”.

It added “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”.

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On shared sovereignty

As per the NNPGs, shared sovereignty implies sharing sovereign powers in the form of central list, state list and concurrent list where states are given space to exercise sovereign powers sourced from the constitution, as India is a federal state.

It said that if there is anything more the GoI has agreed on, NSCN (IM) must declare it 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, it said.

“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,” it added. It goes on to say that on the other hand, the WC, NNPGs had invited and consulted Naga stakeholders at all levels from the day one and every word in the ‘Agreed Position’ signed on November 17, 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 is sacred national property:

As per the NNPGs, while crying foul at Interlocutor RN 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”.

It alleged that the “architects” of the utopian political design on Nagaland sit silently at the back when “incapacitated loose cannons and semi illiterate members from Nagaland are used as authors in their tirade against Nagas”. It said that the 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”, the groups said.

It said “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”.

The groups informed that along with fourteen tribes of Nagaland, NGBF, NTC, ENPO, CNTC and other Naga civil societies, it 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”, it concluded..

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