THE HISTORY OF NAGA NATIONAL MOVEMENT

Who are Nagas?

The Naga people (pronounced as Na-Ga) are a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. The tribes have similar cultures and traditions, and form the majority ethnic group in Indian state of Nagaland, with significant presence in ManipurArunachal Pradesh and some small population in Assam. The Naga speak various distinct Tibeto-Burman languages, including Poumai (Poula), Sumi, Lotha, Sangtam, AngamiPochuriAo, Mao (Emela), Inpui, Rongmei (Ruangmei), Tangkhul, Thangal, Maram, and Zeme. In addition, they have developed Nagamese Creole, which they use between tribes and villages, which each have their own dialect of language. However, all the official function has been conducted in English language so far as I know.

Indo-Naga conflict has been started since British left India: The Nagas are the first settler in Naga ancestral homeland and we/Naga have been living as free nation until British colonization taking place in south East Asia. Nagas have been fighting to British and to the India and Burma for their illegal occupation of Nagalim. The Naga nationalism begin in 1 91 8 when 2000 Nagas (included from most the Major Naga tribe under the leadership of Mr. R.S. Ruichumhao) as labor corps sent by British Government to France returned. They together with the British officials, formed the Naga Club in 1 91 8 providing the socio­political foundation for the Naga nationalist movement. The social legitimacy has been a part of the Naga struggle for unique history, political representation and dignity. Starting way back in 1918 by the Naga Club, the Naga ethnic movement was further entrenched in 1929 when the Club submitted a memorandum to the Simon Commission in which it stated that those from mainland India and the Nagas have nothing in common. The Naga Club was followed up by the Naga National Council (NNC) formed in 1946 by the charismatic leader A Z Phizo. We need to study what happened to Naga’s Freedom Declaration on 1 4 August 1 947 which was an undeniable fact? Why wouldn’t the UN recognize the Nagas independent Declaration even when it was said to have communicated via telegram?

NNC conducted plebiscite in 1951 where 99.9% voted for free Nagaland. The period of the 1950s, 1960s and the 1970s were turbulent periods in Naga inhabited area with insurgency and counterinsurgency resulting in civilian deaths. In 1964, a Nagaland Peace Mission was formed which signed a ceasefire with Phizo, only to last till 1968. In 1975, the Shillong Accord was signed in which the NNC agreed to give up arms and accept the Indian Constitution. Muivah and Swu, who were then NNC members revolted, and went on to form the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980 with S S Khaplang. In 1988, the NSCN split due to leadership differences into the NSCN (IM) and the NSCN (K).  Then came NSCN (U) out of NSCN­ IM, and Likewise NSCN K split into NSCN ­KK & NSCN­ R in the recent past. At the end of the day, whether it is NSCN-­K, NSCN­-IM, NSCN-­R, NSCN-KK etc they are Nagas, they are our people. Thus, the discourse of Naga’s political movement suggests that the Naga national movement had earned with blood, sweat and tears. And it was technically and forcefully fragmented and put them into the hands of many internal and external actors creating multiple stakeholders so that until all these slices are brought together, it cannot be put to shape. Thereby, I strongly advocate for reconciliation and shun factional clashes for money (taxes collection) and power (leadership). Listen to people’s voice and work together by leaving all differences aside in order to attain our goal. There are many professional experts in their own field of which collective leaderships is an example. They know exactly what is to be done. We ought to respect one another and support toward reconciliation for NPGs. Without peaceful solution and without unity of Nagas it will be fighting a losing war; and we must select the deserve candidate to lead our society.

 

What is the history of the Naga movement?

The British, who annexed Assam in 1826, constituted the Naga Hills district in 1866 and followed a policy of non-interference towards the hill tribes. As British paramountcy in India ended, A Z Phizo, president of theNaga National Council (NNC) declared independence on August 14, 1947. Since then the Naga Hills have been in turmoil, and despite creation of a separate Nagaland state in 1963, the movement has continued. After the sign of Shillong Accord in 1975 by NNC the NSCN were form by Isak Chisi Swu, Th. Muivah and Khapland. NSCN (IM) and India have Prime-Ministerial talk; in 1992, the then Governor, M M Thomas, a clergyman from Kerala, made the first successful move to get in touch with the NSCN. On June 15, 1995, then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao first met Muivah and Swu in Paris. A ceasefire was agreed upon with the Government of India with effect from August 1997. Subsequently, former prime ministers H D Deve Gowda (February 1997), A B Vajpayee (September 1998) and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (December 2004) also met them. At least 50 rounds of talks have been held between the two sides at various levels. Still the talk is under process but there was no result at all.

When the Peace talks were take place?

The relentless endeavor of the Peace Mission, actively supported by the church leaders headed by Rev. Longri Ao and the liberal help and patronage of the State Government, finally resulted in an agreement for Cessation of Fire signed by the then Governor Mr. Vishnu Sahay, on behalf of the Government of India and the Peace Mission while Mr. Zashei Huire, Mr. Biseto Medom and Mr. L. Benito had signed on behalf of the NNC underground government. Even though the agreement was officially declared on 6 September 1964 by organizing public meetings and special prayer meetings all over Nagaland, the actual agreement was signed on 23 May 1964 at Sakraba Village in Phek district. The ceasefire was widely welcomed in Nagaland. Eventually, the level of talks was raised and the venue shifted to Delhi culminating in six rounds of talks in 1966 to 1967 between the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi and the underground leaders.

The first round was held on 18–19 February in New Delhi and the underground delegation was led by Mr. Kughato Sukhai, their “Prime Minister”. The other members were Mr. Imkongmeren, “Vice President”, Mr. Issac Swu, “Foreign Secretary”, Mr. S. Angami and Mr. Dallinamo. The final round of talks with the Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi was held in New Delhi on 3 October 1967. In all peace talks in New Delhi, the underground delegation was led by Mr. Kughato Sukhai. However, no positive agreement could be reached as a result of these talks. The people became disenchanted with the violence and yearned for peace. After talks with the NSCN (IM), the Government of India heeded the wishes of the people and on 25 July 1997, the Prime Minister, Mr. I. K. Gujral, in a statement in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, announced a ceasefire with effect from 1 August 1997 for a period of three months. The ceasefire declaration was followed by setting up of a Cease-fire Monitoring Cell to enforce the Ground Rules as laid down by Government of India. The ceasefire was later extended further. However, according to the UNPO, in 2009 the NSCN considered the biggest impediment to peace to be the refusal of the government of India to officially extend the ceasefire to all Naga-inhabited areas outside of Nagaland. Clashes continued between the Indian army and the NSCN cadre.

 

Who are the NSCN?

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) is the council of Naga people represent from all most all Nagas tribes which was formed on January 31, 1980 by Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and SS Khaplang, who were all opposed to the NNC signing the Shillong Accord in 1975. But as differences cropped up, Khaplang moved out to form the NSCN(K) on April 30, 1988, with the original group coming to be known as NSCN (IM).

The NSCN (IM) has a strong international network. In 1993, it was admitted to the Unrepresented Peoples & Nations Organisation (UNPO). In Amsterdam, it has the Naga International Support Centre, intended at making known to the world the Nagas and their struggle. The UK-based Naga Vigil is yet another organisation providing vital support. NSCN President Isak Chisi Swu give speech in the UN regard the right of Indigenous people. They were supported by Naga civil society including very powerful person in the society, Naga intellects, Naga scholars, and various civil student bodies.

The NSCN(IM) movement, often called the “mother of all insurgencies”, is also held responsible for rise of insurgent groups in other states of the Northeast. Its ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand has created problems, with Assam and Manipur refusing to give even an inch of land.

What is the objective of the NSCN?

The NSCN are demanding Naga nation; primary aim is a Greater Nagalim comprising all Naga-inhabited areas, irrespective of whether they are in India or Myanmar. The NSCN-IM’s manifesto is based on the principle of socialist-democracy for economic development and a spiritual outlook — ‘Nagalim for Christ.’ Incidentally, the Nagaland Assembly passed a resolution back in 1964 supporting inclusion of all Naga-inhabited areas under one umbrella. Since then it has adopted the same resolution four more times, provoking a counter-resolution in Assam and Manipur each time.

Who are the NSCN leaders?

The NSCN (IM) leadership was headed by Sumi Tribe Mr. Isak Chisi who is God fearing leader and it has a dominance of Tangkhul Naga tribe inhabiting Senapati, Ukhrul, Chandel, Dimapur, Burma and Tamenglong districts of adjoining Manipur. Mr. Thuingaleng Muivah, a Masters from Gauhati University, is general secretary and ‘prime minister’ of the Government of People’s Republic of Nagalim (GPRN). Th. Muivah is not like by many Naga intellects for his communist ideology but most of the educated youngster respected to Visionary leader Mr. RH Raising who belief in Naga socialist-democracy and who is the right hand of Isak Chisi Swu the president and Th. Muivah the prime minister and the NSCN. Isak Swu is chairman. It has the number of leaders called collective leadership who belong to various Naga tribes, a full-fledged nine-member ministry, the four major ministries being home, defense, finance and foreign affairs.

Where does the NSCN get funds from?

NSCN (IM) funds were contributed by Naga civil societies who were financially sound in the very beginning, like similar insurgent outfits in the area, collects “taxes” from the people in Nagaland and other “Naga-inhabited areas” on a regular basis. The GPRN has an annual budget of Rs 250-Rs 300 million. Intelligence reports also say that it collects portions of extorted funds of other outfits of the region in lieu of training, arms supply and shelter. Intelligence reports also say it earns money through narcotics trade. With an army of about 4,500 men, top NSCN(IM) leaders live outside India, mostly in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. It also had camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar, but most cadres have shifted to designated camps in Nagaland after it signed a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India on August 1, 1997. Leaders and supporters are said to have business interests in Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh and other countries. Its headquarters have also shifted to Camp Hebron in Nagaland.

What is the current status of the Indo-Naga Conflict: The Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) has signed an agreement on August 3 2015. Both the party is willing to bring peace in the region by solving the conflict and the Modiji led BJP party are committed to solve the decade old Indo-Naga conflict in the earliest. The present talk is under process and they are negotiating on “shared-Soveriegnty” which is negotiating outside the constitution of India in Prime Minister level talk. Hopefully, there will be some solution might come out for final settlement by the end of this year.

 

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