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

Kohima: The Working Committee (WC) of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) said that the proposed settlement of the Naga political issue with the Centre must be inclusive of all Nagas to ensure enduring “peaceful co-existence between Nagas and Indians and also between Nagas and neighbouring communities”.

It said that the NNPGs has “not deviated from the core Naga aspiration”.

NNPGs stated that the Naga Tatar Hoho will be the apex body to legislate on sovereign matters concerning culture, customs, and procedures as with land and resources of the Nagas.

It added that a new political structure will be extended to the people living in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in the manner of Regional Territorial Councils. It said that this will be in the interest of Nagas and its neighbours and that a similar reform is to be undertaken for Nagas in Assam. “The interest of Nagas in Myanmar too has been outlined and boldly expressed,” it said.

The WC NNPGs said that as per “Agreed position” signed with the Government of India (GOI) on November 17, 2017, the GOI recognised the “political and historical rights of the Nagas to self determine their future in consonance with their distinct identity”.

The groups said that this represented the “soul, spirit, essence and aspiration of the Naga people” and so the Naga flag remains within the ambit of the GOI and WC, NNPGs ‘Agreed Position’.

As the Status paper has been brought out in the open, it claimed that the Naga tribes and the Gaon Burahs (GB), the customary guardians and peace-loving Nagas, understood and appreciated the “clarity of political structure in process”. Terming the contents of the status paper as practical, honourable and acceptable to the Naga people, it said that it fulfils the will and desire of the people at a present time.

It, therefore, said that Nagas must nurture the dreams and realise that it must start from the “first brick”, further adding that Naga tribes cannot be misled anymore.

Nagas and Indians to coexist:

“Since Nagas and Indians will co-exist, the Naga Flag will be honoured and given due respect and space it deserves. The flag has a cultural and spiritual significance. It is Naga identity,” the WC NNPGs said.

As it will be an integral part of the Indo-Naga solution, it said that the GOI has “clearly been told and reminded on the negotiation table”.

It recalled that on the eve of a political solution, the WC NNPGs encouraged all Naga tribal bodies and GBs in towns and villages to place Naga Flags in cultural and traditional institutions such as in the Morungs and village customary courts or the residences of Village chiefs. It urged the Nagas not to be confused on the issue of the flag.

“GOI respects and honours Naga sentiment, spiritual orientation and cultural identity the flag denotes. It is wrong to seek GOI’s permission on its usage. The destabilizing propaganda at play behind Naga flag and constitution is greater mischief against Naga tribes and the general public,” it said.

‘The WC NNPGs said that the “Agreed position” reaffirm and entrench the Naga political milestones particularly 1918– Formation of Naga Club, 1929–submission of memorandum to Simon Commission, Declaration of Independence from British rule on August 14, 1947, and the Naga plebiscite in 1951.

Comparison with the Framework Agreement:

The Framework Agreement (FA)which says that “The political conflict is about six decades-old” means that the Indo-Naga political conflict began only after or around 1955. It, therefore, said that an entity that describes the Naga political conflict as being about six decades old must explain to the people as to who and why the pre-1955 conflict decades became “inconsequential and erased”. “The cardinal error in the political document must be corrected,” it added.

The groups said that the signatories of the FA seemed to have understood and appreciated the intricacies of Indian constitution, based on which the talks reportedly “successfully concluded”. “FA as a political document has no real substantial ground on the issue of Naga self-determination, Flag, Constitution or Integration,” they said.

The groups then go on to say that currently, “Nagas are witnessing some frantic, dubious ambassadorial activities by a group of de-recognised, self-appointed civil society leaders”. According to them, these “ill-motivated Naga civil societies are further disintegrating and severing the fabric of Naga unity with their sponsored views and motives”.

The WC, NNPGs called out to the Naga HOHO, Naga Mothers Association (NMA), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Global Naga Forum (GNF) and other self-proclaimed Naga intellectual forums, scholar clubs and social media proponents of FA questioning why there is pin-drop silence on the glaring ommissions of historical milestones in the FA. It said that the “one-dimensional organisations are the real impediment to Naga society’s growth”.

According to them, the traditional Naga tribal institutions like the colossal 14 Naga tribes and other sub-tribes, Nagaland Gaon Burah Federation (NGBF), Nag Tribes Council (NTC), Eastern Naga People’s Organization (ENPO) and Central Naga Tribes Council (CNTC) are the real representatives of the people who act on “common sense and logic” and are not “remote-controlled”.

While Nagas are ‘fiercely loyal” to their soil and the occupational forces redrew the boundaries without Naga consent as Myanmar, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, it said that to regain the trust of neighbours, Nagas must learn to respect them, be rational in approach and exhibit patience and acceptance, which are essential components if “Naga integration is to materialise tomorrow”.

“There are certain social, political and historical truth in the Naga tribal spectrum and characteristics which cannot be altered neither by political solution nor by the intervention of UN, UNPO or friendly third country. A time has come for all Nagas to be practical and not emotional. We shall dream but work with reason,” it concluded.

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