An open letter to the leaders of NSCN (IM)

I wish to write to you with all due respect for what you represent and for what you are fighting for. I grew up in a place where you and your cadres are respected, loved and admired. We have always known your men being welcomed with the best roosters in the village and even the biggest pig depending on the number of cadres passing through the village. We were taught by the elders that you and your men are fighting for the freedom of our Naga nation. In our wild imagination as schoolchildren, we imagine you to be the equals of people like Gandhiji and we revered your name and your organization.

We were taught by the elders to use the term ‘akiliangmai’ which literally is translated as ‘our relatives’ in Lianglad. We played soldiers during our vacations and we named our outfit after the name of your group and mimicked the stories of the propaganda movies like ‘Ramcho Ramrin’, ‘Love in Nagaland’ etc. which were just a mime play to us because it was enacted in a non local dialect. Yet we love the movies and the characters in the movie because the heroes of the movie were supposed to be your men. As we grow up, we saw many of our fathers parting with their best pals with whom they had grown up together with.

Yet, we neither heard of them speaking ill of your ‘government’ nor your cadres. We never ever heard of anyone speaking up against your ideology not because of fear but because we share your dream of a free Nagalim and our gratefulness for your sacrifice for the cause of the Nagas. I remember an incident in way back in the ‘90s in which the Indian Arm Force bring all the people in my village and separately keep women, children and men for the whole day without food because their men were waylaid and they lost 5 soldiers just 3 km. away from my village.

No one in the village bear grudge against you even after that incident because the Indian soldiers are villains and your men, our heroes. There was a time when we almost live without salt because all connectivity to the outside world was cut off due to the ethnic clash in which you were involved. Yet we were happy to see our land being ‘freed’ even if we have to go without food. There were white flags in the front porch of every house in town to declare our support for you when you demanded ceasefire without territorial integrity and a week later a black flag replaced all the white flags because the demand was denied.

As time pass, in the last decade, we heard of new factions and outfits who split away from you but we called them greedy opportunists who are taking the name of the cause to meet their own vested interest of pursuing a place in the society. There are even some, who took the name of our tribe and start a revolutionary movement, a menace which we are all facing now and hoping that you will come out supreme. We believe in the Naga nation and are not ready to settle for anything less.

We remain loyal to you. No other outfit dared to set foot on our land and your men roam the streets like anyone of the aimless school dropout roaming the street whiling away the day. We have heard of media accusing your ‘government’ of illegal taxing and extortions. Yet, we do not look at you with the same accusing eyes of those people because it is your land and you the sons of the soil. There was an organization in Nagaland fighting against the taxation which was targeted at you equally with the rest of the groups. We do not make up such movement not because we are rich and could afford to provide everything that you ask for but because you are considered our protector, our would-be martyrs.

Over the years the student community had always rallied behind you and showed our support for the cause you are fighting for. When the top leaders came back from abroad, we were there singing the song ‘We shall overcome’ not because we love the song but because deep in our hearts we believe that we really shall overcome someday. When the public needs a voice to support your ‘government’, it is the student community who made a face and stand with you.

Let us not forget the recent Mao incident in which two young students one of whom was a widow’s only son being killed, not because of their foolishness but because they stood for you. We take pride that we have our leader who made the corrupt government tremble. Our mothers leave their homes and were in a refugee camp in another state for more than a week. We were not ashame though because you are our face. The infamous ‘Economic blockade’ of Manipur is a legacy of the student communities’ die hard support for you and the cause.

For all who you have been and what you stood for, our gratefulness and admiration will one day be with the dust of our bodies in our graves.

Let me also remind you that this support and admiration we have for you is so because we trust you and have faith that you will not betray us. We do not doubt that you will let us down. We have that childlike trust in you that you will protect our land and its integrity. On the contrary, there had been situations in the recent past which suggest the opposite. There had been instances wherein the public is squarely denied their basic right to pursue happiness. There had been instances in which locals were not allowed to use their resources. There had been murmurs about the cadres indulging in the very activity which your ‘government’ banned. The love and the admiration now seem to be evolving to fear.

The quietness may be the same but the reason for being quiet may not be the same anymore. Ukhrul is under siege by the Manipur Police commandos and the IRB commandos. Children and women living with fear in their own homes under their own roofs. We could not find reason blame the public. Tamenglong is a battlefield now.

Where does the discontentment come from?
And every Naga administered Facebook page is now engaging in a fierce verbal spat over an assault of a student in Maram center by the cadres of your ‘government’. Zeliangrong people and the Maramei are almost in a civil war. Thanks to the ‘national workers’ who attempted murder to deal with a menace of a drunken boy. Now he is in the hospital with broken limbs and jaws not to mention the internal organs being damaged by the thrashing. No statement from the people who did it heard yet. When it is some other group with no ideology who did this, we understand and forgive because of the low stature at which the public puts them. But when it is your men who did this, we feel betrayed, a spit on the face in return for being a loyal supporters and admirers of your ideology.

With a note of this few incidents, we cannot help but think if we are under suppression to get liberated from a nonexistent oppression? Is it relevant at this age to rule with muscle? Have we not seen how regimes were overthrown by the public in the recent years? Are we not entitled to a even a little gratitude for all our love and admiration we had for you? Are we not the people for whom you are fighting for? It is your ‘government’ because of the Nagas and not vice versa. Could we not do with a little modesty from the cadres when they are in town? We dread the idea of our leaders being overthrown and targeted because of the foolishness of some few trained-for-jungle boys.

I would like to make a sincere appeal to all our right thinking leaders and responsible martyrs to think twice and if that does not help, think hundred times over and show restrain and give space for mutual understanding if not respect, in your relationship with the people for whom you claim your allegiance.
PS: All other outfits may not take this letter as a mileage. The people understand when you are involved.

Faithfully yours,
Public Voice
Tamei, Namraining.

A loud mouth in high gallery

Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd), Forest Colony, Kohima.:    11 Nov. 2013

This is one amongst the “loud mouths” who stood on “the high gallery” set up by ACAUT on the 31st October 2013 at Dimapur. Mine was perhaps the loudest voice in terms of volume even if it had no appreciative content from the stand point of NSCN (IM). My point of distaste lies in the NSCN (IM)’s indirect manner of demeaning others who may not share the same trend of thoughts as they do. So let me loud mouth some more. I had made a public statement that if I had misrepresented truth that day I would gladly and humbly render a public apology once pointed out to me. That offer still stands.
However unclear, for the very first time the political philosophy, the perception of who NSCN (IM) believes they are and the direction being taken by them on the subject of self-determination is filtering into the public domain. Whether we agree or disagree, this is a very good beginning for a thought exchange on both sides and a blessing for us all. I doff my hat to them for this. For much too long a time, the God given gift of brain has been lodged in the trigger finger of the NPGs. That had made them dangerous ‘thinkers’ to barter our lives trying to express what we believe in. This slight shift towards a desire to reason is a welcomed breath of fresh air, knowing well that the finger is still not too far away from the trigger. The NSCN (IM) surely understands that no one’s opinion is sacrosanct in this world. We are expected to contend with the conflicting views and find a common path that serves the honest will, not induced will, of the majority if we hope to succeed.


This exercise has never been undertaken on a broad base appraisal and there has been a great deal of confused misgivings. In as far as I am concerned I have maintained a healthy regard for NSCN (IM) at least for taking negotiated settlement to the forefront which no other NPGs have been seen doing other than to raise tax. Having said that, it is about time that some  of the existing critical questions that have been plaguing the minds of the people should be shared and cleared with sincerity in the absence of malice. My role here is  a mere messenger carrying the people’s confusion that has often been heard, for enlightenment, in the hope that  the intended desire for REASONING is not misplaced where the messenger lands up becoming the target in the shooting range instead, which I certainly do not relish. I do this for the people as much as it is necessary for NSCN (IM) if they truly hope to have the Nagas behind them.

1. Many a time there has been reference made to the “National principle” of which the public at large is not aware. What is this National Principle?

2. Without mincing words the Naga National Struggle began with NNC/FGN as a united Naga Movement which the Government of India could not fragment until Shillong Accord appeared in the horizon which Mr. Phizo failed to denounce. The honourable National duty of all the senior national leaders of that era should have been to impeach Mr. Phizo in a legitimate way and not allow our national house to collapse around us. Instead we set up a conflicting parallel organization that introduced infighting and from then on we have been steadily climbing down the hill.  Today Naga Tribal Council (NTC) has done exactly what NSCN did in the past. Instead of salvaging Naga Hoho which was a legitimate official forum of the Nagas of Nagaland and creating a Pan Naga platform for all Nagas from other States which also is a needed forum, NTC was more absorbed in creating another entity which now is on a collision course with the other NGOs and within each individual tribe.



We Nagas do not believe in history and therefore have been condemned to repeated it plain and simple. Now NSCN (IM) is banning NTC for doing exactly what it did in the past. We as a people have been blessed with a complete lack of patience and foresight, so complacently content with digging our own graves just to identify ourselves as leaders. Coming back however, NNC was the only Organization which had the true mandate of the people. No one can deny this fact. NNC (Accordist) still mislead the people as National Workers after their capitulation. They identify themselves as NNC “Accordist” and in the same breath say Shillong Accord did not exist. This is the faction that has no further reason or legitimacy to continue in the National Movement. Their very name defines them. This kind of tomfoolery still finds acceptance in some Naga loyalists but most Nagas are waking up to their reality. The point that needs cool contemplation is the existence of NNC (Non-Accordist), people who did not accept the Shillong Accord. From a very technical stand point they are the organization which still has a legitimate linkage with the plebiscite of 1951. So purely from this technical point of view again, if NPGs were to unify it still has this house to shelter under and let Isak and Muivah lead the united house or anyone that has the honourable support of the majority and revitalise the plebiscite. One tax one Govt. can then have a meaningful conclusion.

3. NSCN(IM) claims they have the National mandate. Many have yet to understand how that “national mandate” was obtained. High percentage within the masses talk of the dissenting leaders being wiped out as traitors before the National Assembly, that was supposed to have been called in Eastern Nagaland, for disagreeing to the formation of NSCN. Others add that even if that was so, the mandate would have been for that consolidated NSCN before its further fragmentation into so many other factions. Necessarily that national assembly’s mandate would have become null and void with the emergence of NSCN (IM) and so many other factions. This is where the fundamental issue as to who are real and who are not the mandate holders when linked to legitimacy for tax collection. None of the NPGs have taken time out to educate the masses. It is incumbent for them to do so now and garner the support of the masses as was the case of the generation that went before us.

4. The most asked question is what kind of negotiation is being conducted between NSCN (IM) and the GOI? Why is this being kept so secret? Whose sovereignty is NSCN (IM) fighting for if not for us? If it is for us, we too are serious stakeholders and we have a right to know what our future is going to be. Is Naga Peace talk being compromised on account of GOI’s inability to sort out the issues of other Tribes in other States in connection to integration issue? These are the festering questions which are in everyone’s mind but keeping silent for fear of guns. Without answering these questions, claiming loyalty becomes a big task.
5. There are more but the final question for this round is: Should Nagas ever get our independence what kind of Government is being proposed to be established? Would it be a democratic one or the present form of the organization with Collective Leadership, one hierarchy without a party system? This too has to do with our future and this issue I had raised in my earlier writings saying “ are we fighting for our independence so as to lose our individual freedom?” Our people, the stakeholders, have the right to know the answers to all the critical question raised from not only the NSCN (IM) but from all the NPGs. We have been lead blindfolded thus far and the time to remove it is rife. The people are searching for a real FATHER. Please clear our minds. This is loud mouth signing off again. God bless. NPN

Voice of a retired worn out Indian government officer

Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd); Forest Colony, Kohima.:    7 Nov. 2013

This is the voice of one of the “retired and worn out Indian government officers” who had participated in the Dimapur ACAUT rally of 31st October 2013. There were only two of us who fit that bill: Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd) and T. Solo IFS (Rtd). It is true, we are retired and also worn out by all the ‘topsy-turvy’ injustices that is being perpetuated against the Nagas by the Nagas. I would have considered it more manly and honourable if my name had been taken straight on rather than hedge around the bush with derogatory insinuations like… “Agents of Indian Intelligent wing”… what the hell is that supposed to mean anyway?

Does speaking the truth make one a member of Indian intelligent wing? If so, it would be my fervent prayer that there still are some members of the ‘Indian Intelligence wing’ within the NSCN (IM) left who would be prepared to listen to truth and reason. I would also appreciate if the IM can point out to me what untruth I have uttered  during the rally and I am more than prepared to humbly render my apology to them in public.  In the name of the Almighty God I declare without any doubt or fear in my mind and in my heart that I have tried as best I can to remain  a true and faithful Naga with all my short comings, maintaining a sincere concern about the plight of  our Naga people. UNBIASED TRUTH as I honestly understand it is all I would prefer to represent as a Naga rather than be silenced by ill intended irrational allegations or be cowed down by guns of injustice.
The break of silence by the NSCN (IM) is taken as a welcomed development. It allows the people of Nagaland to assess their vision and put their rationality to test. Let us candidly put our perspectives on the table and “Let the people judge it”…this I endorse full heartedly.

Truth No.1: No matter how deviously the Government of Indian plays its ‘divide and rule’ games in the psychological and financial fronts, the common citizens of Nagaland have never deviated from the original call for freedom. They still believe that it is their God given right to fight for their freedom against foreign yoke. I too am one of them. Note: There is no crack, no division within the Naga civilian population in this belief. None! They have faithfully been paying their taxes on demand thus far, however unjustified. Can we say the same thing about our freedom fighters? Look at fragmented state of our NPGs overwhelmingly dictated by GREED, nothing more nothing less. As Christians, can they put their hands on the Bible and honestly say this is not a fact? The word  UNITY does not exist in their dictionary. “Sovereignty” is just another excuse to sustain their individual greed at the cost of the people. Their kind of ‘sovereignty’ would probably be better described as “Mafia” on ground reality situation.


The GOI has well and truly succeeded in every front breaking the backs of the Nagas. They watch their creation with contemptuous glee as all the cold blooded Frankensteins with reckless pride, uncompromising egos and insatiable greed in the form of Factional Leaders structure a serious irreconcilable rift between themselves, having totally lost sight of their original goal. The Indian Armies clap their hands, raise their glass and toast on ‘one less Naga to kill’, every time  our Factional ‘National Workers’ butcher one another for turf control. Yes, turf control… for what?…TAX COLLECTION for the NATION of course! Here again it has become extremely difficult to define the word “Nation” because everyone and anyone with a little bit of authority within their respective cadres has become a ‘nation’ unto himself for which tax is extorted. Who is at fault here…the public for crying out loud in pain against all the excesses being imposed on them year after year for all eternity?
Truth No.2: No matter what the NSCN (IM) may say, at this point the public is not quite concerned with which Faction is mandated and legitimate and which is not, even as they do acknowledge the fact that NSCN (IM) is the only group which has doggedly been engaging the GOI for a negotiated settlement. At least here the majority of the people salute them for their efforts. Despite this fact, the public is helplessly afraid of all the factional guns that are pointed at them. For all practical purpose the factions have us in their cross-hair and has made us the enemy instead. A comical satire at its best. So when a ‘nation’ from every cadre comes a knocking at the door to collect their individual national taxes the public pay because they want to at least live an extra day. The issue here therefore simply boils down to “SURVIVAL” and they can hardly be bothered about their factional politics and differences. Can NSCN (IM) understand this? As the only true  Supreme Commander of the National Movement being claimed by them, how is it that they allow so many factions to exist then and tax its people beyond their capabilities? How is it that they have failed to protect their tax payers and yet tell them to shut up when they cry out from under this heavy load saying enough is enough… we cannot continue to lift this impossible burden any longer.


Such a painful exclamation of the people is dubbed as “Anti-National”, “Anti Naga”, “Anti Everything”. When has the desire to want to stay alive become ‘anti-national? Is that the verdict of the NSCN(IM)? Would NSCN(IM) not equally be guilty in that case because they also want to live I would presume? By what standard is ACAUT ‘anti- national’? Because it is fronting this voice which every Naga has on his lips and is fed up of…the multiple unabated taxation? This much I would definitely agree, they are ‘anti-bottomless pockets’ of the factions. There is a good possibility that those living in the upstairs may not clearly be aware of what is going on downstairs. Therefore the word ‘unabated’ may be allergic to NSCN (IM) but that is the reality being faced by the common man which is causing this upheaval. Rather than accuse every Tom, Dick and Harry of hidden agenda it would be the right thing to wisely check their worms in the grass. As long as this is not done the upstairs will never understand this word. No parent would want to see their children as beggars in the open street. No child would want to lead a life of a beggar either. This is precisely our kind of society poised on becoming. Yet when the parents plead for a fair chance to see their children through towards their fair destiny by requesting the National workers to sensibly systematize their tax collecting regime, such a plea is ‘anti-national’. To the best of my knowledge, ACAUT has only afforded a platform for the multitude to express their anguish without any other hidden agenda or ulterior motive. Are the (IM) deaf?


Are they blind? Has the gray matter deserted them? The proposition of “one tax for one Naga National Government” is a call for all the freedom fighters to unite. It is not an issue of who has the legitimacy to claim this one tax. The NSCN(IM)as the  ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of this National Movement is expected to exercise its position with maturity, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation if they want to define their status as such. That’s what an intelligent father would do to bring his house to order. From their point of view all the other factions are ‘pretenders’. Should they all be wipe out then? This is neither practicable nor desirable; therefore they have just one clear option: welcome all the other factions into their fold with an honourable responsibility afforded to them unconditionally, without uncompromisingly expecting them to confess their past misdeeds and ask for forgiveness first, as long as each is prepared to pledge solidarity for the cause thenceforth. After all everyone has committed a mistake or two along the way including them. This supreme sacrifice from all the National Workers is the only key and the only price that has to be paid to lift the burden from the masses. Most of all it would also make the adversary sit up and take the Nagas seriously.


It is downright irresponsible to accuse ACAUT of having had a “militarized rally”. In the first instance NSCN(IM) should have had better senses not to try and still the voice of the people by threats and listened instead. The rally was against all factions and not NSCN (IM) specifically. It was because of their threat that the ACAUT had passed the responsibility of public security to the State Government. Blame the State Govt. if they must but it makes no sense to be pointing an accusatory finger at ACAUT for their concern shown for public safety.  Without their threats, public security would not have been an issue. Without an issue the rally would have been just another rally without “militarized” environ as IM puts it. In this who is the real defaulter? And what was the message of this rally? The Indians are rejoicing the disunity within the ranks of the National Workers and I’m sure each national worker knows this but with greed flowing in their veins instead of blood, unity becomes a strange word. The message of “one tax for one Naga National Government” therefore in simple terms meant: Unite, revive your strength and face the aggressors as one not as 8 factions fighting and killing each other instead. How can such a suggestion be branded as treacherous or anti-national? Where is the hidden agenda in this? Who are the ones compromising the National priority with greed and ego problems? Who are the real traitors to the cause then? Let the people decide.
Truth No.3: According to my assessment, ACAUT has maintained a balanced and fair focus on relevant issues. In their annoyance the NSCN (IM) seemed to have lost their intellectual capability to read that ACAUT has also made a pointed reference to corruption within the Government of Nagaland and the need for them to clean up their mess. Theirs is as damning as the factions’ misdeeds. It is unreasonable to segregate and abridge the Faction segment only as a target group focused upon and take offence. The primary factor of concern for the people is that the common man is reeling under unfair system in both these fronts, the Govt. of Nagaland and the Factions, and appealing to them to clean up their act. The people have the right to ask for this. Unless they are partners in crime why should NSCN (IM)  singularly  display such an affront on State Government’s behalf?
Truth No.4: It would take time to organise and execute an all Nagaland rally to register our solidarity towards self determination and express our resentment against the Government of India’s apathy towards the settlement of the Naga issue. The rally registered its resentment against the GOI for taking the Nagas for granted for much too long a period and felt that it is about time for the people of Nagaland to chip in and raise our voices against this ruthless indifference since the State political parties will not go any further than to debate their ‘equi-distant’ and ‘equi-closeness’. The NSCN (IM) seemed to have entirely overlooked this stand of ACAUT in their haste to dub everything that comes their way as “anti-national”. It is obvious that the NSCN (IM) under-cover representatives present in the rally were unable to assimilate the proceedings of this rally in its entirety and must have taken half-baked, lopsided feedback to their bosses for them to react as they have. In future we would recommend that they detail personals with a modicum of intelligence to avoid hazardous conclusions based on half information, on their part.

Pray tell me is ACAUT resolution No.2 an act of anti-nationalism? True, the people of Nagaland has overwhelmingly condemned the excesses of the Factions and the State Government which had prompted resolution No.1 and 3 and have appealed for a sensible streamlining. But did the NSCN (IM) notice that the people at the same time have equally overwhelmingly voiced their resentment against GOI and have expressed their unwavering solidarity and support for the national Workers in their pursuit for solution (minus their excesses of course)? I quite don’t see from which cesspool they have dug up the hidden agenda tag against ACAUT.  In the end it would be in the interest of all concerned that NSCN (IM) load their think tank with reasoning rather than load their guns and point it at those who want truth to prevail. There are many more truths beyond this but we will deal with each as we go along.
This is a tired, retired worn out Indian government officer signing off. God bless us all… including NSCN (IM).