A Naga perspective of Naga struggle: GOI stop sleeping

Published in Feb. 2012

Press Release

Naga struggle for independence not a law and order problem, argues Naga Peace Facilitation Committee

The history of the resistance movement of the Nagas is dated back to 19th century when the colonial British and other forces ventured into the Naga Ancestral Domain. The Nagas as a nationality group distinct from other races have always been fighting against any intrusion and outside interference in their day-to-day independent affairs. Thus, when India forcibly tried to bring Nagas into the Indian Union, the Nagas refused and rejected such idea of being an Indian. While the Indians were preparing to celebrate their Independence on August 15, 1947, the Nagas under the banner of Naga National Council (NNC) declared their own Independence on August 14, 1947, a day ahead. The history of Indo-Naga conflict incepted since then continued until today without solution insight.

Due to the historical, political, socio-economic, religious and cultural incompatibilities, clash of civilizations and differential national identities between the Indians and the Nagas, the conflict over a political issue has become more complicated and protracted. One can vividly recollect the Memorandum submitted by the Naga Club to the Simon Commission on January 10, 1929 which stated that “Nagas should be left alone like they were in ancient times”. History has clearly shown that Nagas never want to be under any hegemony and domination by the foreign forces.

Indian and Burmese States have always been trying their utmost to subjugate, suppress and crush the Naga National Movement by using various strategies and policies. However, the Nagas, being a warrior nation, continued to have faith and aspiration to be a distinct national entity. Defying the Nagas’ yearn for Sovereign Independent Naga State, the Government of India, in order to bring more division within the Naga family, created Nagaland State on December 1,1963 which was out-rightly rejected by the NNC.

Nevertheless, in order to thrash out a solution, the Government of India (GOI) and the Nagas entered into the First Ceasefire in 1964. The ceasefire collapsed like a pack of card after six rounds of talks at the Prime Ministerial Level, because of the GOI’s rigidity to solve the issue only within four corners of the Indian Constitution disrespecting the Nagas’ aspiration for Independence. Since 1972, the Naga Affairs was transferred from Ministry of External Affairs to Ministry of Home Affairs to project Nagas’ struggle for political rights as mere “law and order problems”.

The conflict and war continued resulting in the death of many Naga civilians apart from combatant Armies on both sides. Unaccountable gross human rights violations were committed by the Indian armed forces against the Nagas. Undeterred by such military assaults and atrocities, the Nagas hold fast to their hope for equal political status as any other nation-state to build the Naga cultural communities into single political entity with pride and fervor. There was an increased spirit of Naga nationalism in the face of brutal military campaign and various repressive agencies trying to disunite the Nagas.

As late as in the 1990s, the Indian leadership and many military generals came to realize that Naga issue is a political one which cannot be solved through military might, but should be solved by political means and dialogue. Indian Government started sending its feelers, met the Naga leadership for political discussion to solve the issue through peaceful means. The Naga leadership responded positively to the call of time. Several years of bloody battle between the Indian and Burmese States on the one side and the Nagas on the other gave way to a bilateral political dialogues when Second Indo-Naga Ceasefire was signed on August 1, 1997 with three primary principles of negotiation, i.e., (a) the talk is unconditional, (b) at the highest level, meaning at the Prime Ministerial Level, and (c) the talk will be held outside India, meaning at the third country. The signing of Ceasefire between the GOI and the NSCN-IM was subsequently followed by a Ceasefire between the GOI and the NSCN-K in 2003.

However, the hard earned way of bringing the two conflicting parties to the negotiating table has been taken for granted by the Government of India, without any urgency to bring forth lasting and a meaningful political solution to the Indo-Naga problem. Inspite of repeated appeals from different sections of Naga society, the political talks between the two parties remains a stalemate for the obvious reason that the GOI has never been serious about the Indo-Naga political problem. Therefore, time has come for the Nagas to be categorical with the demand and assert their rights while articulating the factors leading to the deadlock of the bilateral political dialogue.

►Insincerity of GOI on Indo-Naga Peace Process Exposed:
The insincere approach of the GOI could not have been clearer than the rolling back of the terms “Without Territorial Limits” from the June 14, 2001 Bangkok Agreement with regards to the Ceasefire coverage areas after the Meiteis’ virulent protest in Imphal. The GOI’s recognition of the “Unique History and Situation of the Nagas” on July 11, 2002 does not make much sense because the GOI has considerably failed to seek a solution based on such recognition. It is observed that the GOI has not come out from its old and traditional methods of conflict management which is not only futile but also archaic and redundant. We have been witnessing time after time how the GOI talks peace while at the same time colonial ‘Divide and Rule’ policy is being exhibited against the Nagas. Our memory is still fresh of Mr. Loshou and Mr. Chakho who were brutally murdered by the Indian state military forces during the standoff at Mao Gate on 6th May, 2010 when the Ato Kilonser Th. Muivah was denied entry into his birthplace. While the GOI, on the one hand, gave nod to the journey of Ato Kilonser to his native village, on the other hand, they used Ibobi’s Government and Meitei populace to sabotage the itinerary, which had flared up communal tension between the Nagas and the Meiteis.

GOI blamed Ibobi’s Government for barring Th. Muivah from entering the state of Manipur and creating the unprecedented situation thereafter. However, this pitiable politics of GOI did not go uncaught. When the Government of Nagaland gave security permission to Chairman Isak Chisi Swu and Ato Kilonser to address the public gathering at Zunheboto on 14th Jan., 2012 on the invitation of Sumi Hoho, Ministry of Home Affairs (GoI) denied the permission to the entourage of Collective Leadership at the eleventh hour. Since they could not find any Ibobi or Meitei trump card in Nagaland to incarcerate the Naga leaders from meeting their people, MHA issued silliest conditions to the Collective Leadership and their cavalcades, i.e. (a) Not more than 20 vehicles including the local escorts to be used for the journey (b) Collective Leadership cannot carry arms, (c) Their Security personal cannot carry arms even in a concealed manner, and, (d) Collective Leadership must not hold any public meeting and press conference along the journey and at Zunheboto.

Such irrational restrictions that directly contradict the principles of political talks have not only left the peace process hanging with uncertainty but also exposed the double standard of the Indian Government.

►Criminalising the Nagas’ struggle for Self-Determination:
To make the matter worst, Government of India is working day and night to paint the rightful struggle of the Nagas as a terrorist activity. On 27th September 2010, Ningkhan Shimray, member of NSCN (IM), was whisked away from Kathmandu airport by Indian Intelligent Agencies in connivance with the Nepal Intelligence and on October 2, 2010, National Investigation Agency (NIA) stage-managed the arrest of Shimray in Bihar and booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). He is allegedly framed for procuring arms and conspiracy to wage war against India.

However, Government of India has intentionally failed to understand that Mr. Shimray was on his way to participate the peace talks to be held on September 29, 2010. The question is, why the NIA should term the NSCN as terrorist organization under UAPA when the GOI has lifted the ban on the NSCN in 2002? NSCN and other Naga groups did not even appear in the GOI’s list of terrorist organisations in India. The conduct of NIA not only contradicts and undermines the GOI’s efforts for peace but also signal its desperateness in trying to implicate the rest of Naga nationalists and sympathisers under the same terrorist ordinance Act. Thus, NIA’s action is nothing but to criminalize the Nagas’ struggle for Self-Determination and exterminate the Nagas from the face of the earth, and push the Nagas’ history, culture and identity into oblivion. NIA is reminded of the fact that there was virtual army rule in the North East where reign of terror was unleashed against the people. GOI has also mishandled the Kashmir and the Maoist problems on the pretext of one or the other reason.

►GOI’s attempt to sabotage the peace process at its last stage:
Government of India has always been saying that Nagas must be united and reconciled due to the fact that GOI cannot afford to negotiate a solution to all factions. Therefore, with the painstaking endeavors of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) under the aegis of Dr. Wati Aier prayerfully brought all the infighting Naga nationalist’s organizations to reconciliation process, that showed the way to form One National Government of the Nagas.

In view of this efficacious effort of FNR and the Naga public, the Government of India began to prick the neighboring communities like the Meiteis and the Assamese to protest against the rightful demands of the Nagas. For which, particularly the Meiteis under Ibobi’s leadership have diabolically locked horns with the Nagas on several occasions. Taking advantage of the vulnerable ethnic problems in the region, Government of India uses communal equation to suppress the rightful aspiration of the Nagas. The GOI has taken undue advantage in this peace process to disunite the Nagas. GOI’s utterances of unity, peace and reconciliation among the Naga groups are highly dubious.

►The Support Base of the Naga Movement is rooted in the Naga Public:
GOI thinks that general Naga public has grown tired of Naga nationalism, and Naga Movement has lost the Support base of the Naga public. GOI leveled that the general Naga public has willingly embraced Indian constitutional system, while it is only the underground organizations fighting against the Government of India without any public support.

However, GOI has miserably failed to realize that the general Naga public has been the base of the Nationalists’ organisations all these 60 years of the Nagas’ struggle. The Nagas have been supporting the ongoing peace process for the last 14 years in the hope of achieving their genuine aspiration for a meaningful political solution. However, the action and policy of the Ministry of Home Affairs (GOI) and its agencies goes against the spirit of the principles of peace talks.

Despite the evidential proof of the Nagas being serious to solve and transform the conflict, the MHA is trying all out to derail and abrogate the political talks by delegitimizing the Naga nationalists’ organisations as a terrorist organization. We must never forget that Government of India is taking undue advantage of the peace talks to muzzle the rights of the Nagas by de-motivating and demoralizing the Nagas and their leadership.

►The Collective Leadership Wield the Mandate of the Naga People:
In the run up to the Ceasefire, the Collective Leadership of NSCN (IM) and its functionaries have been mandated to represent the Nagas in the political negotiation, through series of public consultative meetings led by various Naga frontal organizations such as, Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers’ Association, Naga Students’ Federation, Eastern Naga Students’ Federation, Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, United Naga Council, All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur, etc. Yet, the Government of India continues to overlook the powers of representation rested with the Collective Leadership by the Naga people.

Thus, GOI has dared to impose restrictions on the Collective Leadership in its latest development entirely to sabotage the peace process. Despite such callous policy on the part of GOI, the Naga Leaders of the three political groups – NSCN/GPRN, GPRN/NSCN and NNC/FGN is organising the Naga people consultation meeting in Dimapur on February 29, 2012 convened by Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) with the objectives of fostering peace, unity and reconciliation, and also attempt to realise one National Government of the Nagas. All the Naga villages’ chiefs, GBs, Naga Civil Societies, leaders of the Religious Institutions, NGOs etc. have been invited for the meeting.

►Nagas in Delhi Demand a Timeframed Political Solution:
As a follow up action of the Naga people consultation meeting, Nagas in Delhi under the aegis of NAGA PEACE FECILITATION COMMITTEE, DELHI in solidarity with the Naga society back home and the Collective Leadership has decided to have REMONSTRATION RALLY on February 24, 2012 at 1 PM from Jantar Mantar to Parliament Street against the GOI for trying to scuttle the political talks with deceptive policies, so as to find an early and a meaningful political solution within a timeframed manner to the protracted Indo-Naga problem.

We want the Indian Government to speed up the peace process with sincere approach having a political will and commitment to solve and transform the drawn out conflict. GOI must stop sleeping over the issue, rather it should start recognizing and accepting the Unique History, Identity, Socio-Cultural and Political Reality of the Nagas. In order to show that Nagas have every right to be independent the Nagas in Delhi once again must bring forth thousands of volunteers all dressed in traditional attires to march down to the Delhi street.

We will take forth the message to the world community that “indigenous Nagas marches in cultural attires in the political capital of India to reclaim the rights of the Nagas”. We must send out the message loud and clear to the global citizens that Nagas genuinely aspires to be free. The committee appeal all the Nagas in Delhi, be it government or private employees, students and entrepreneurs to take leave on that stipulated day for a mass rally.

Issued in the interest of the public by NAGA PEACE FACILITATION COMMITTEE, DELHI

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Polarisation of Naga political culture: Where are we headed?

By Sira Kharay

Polarisation of Naga political culture appears increasingly pandemic. The voice of dissents and dissensions gets louder and bolder. Public disenchantment, disaffection, frustration and outrage against the perceived closed and insular system, cronyism, nepotism, egotism, greed, corruption and injustice are already out in the open streets. The traditional authority of the NSCNs and in particular the (I-M) has been put to open challenge for the first time and with it the smaller dissident groups and factions get more vociferous to lay a claim to legitimacy. The emerging assertive Naga public is determined to recast its sense of loyalty by fundamentally reinventing the notion of legitimacy and power in terms of popular will of the people as the repository of the ultimate political authority.

Now the public asserts its right to democratic participation in the negotiating process of the Indo-Naga peace dialogue. The emerging transformation appears decisive and dislodging. For better, or for worst, the voice of dissents cannot be silenced in a free society. A strong nation can only be built on the edifice of free choice of opinion and constructive dialogue. But the devils work best at times of confusion and while the nervousness of the nationalist leadership is palpable for this obvious reason, the academia and the political observers wait and watch in despair.

What is intrusively disturbing amidst this social metamorphosis is the dysfunctional presence of a small coterie of schismatic dissidents who attempt to “banalize” Naga nationalism into a dull project of development and governance issue within the state of geographical Nagaland by vivisecting the imagination of Nagaland away from the common consciousness of the term “Naga” as a “people” with history and right to self-determination. The senseless repetition of the rhetoric of the terms “outsider” and “insider” within the narrow trivialisation of the term “Naga” as “fragmentable” concept which stems from the confusion of the personal with the political has done more harm than good. The danger with such regressive parochialism is that it tends to brutalize the term “Naga” by further deepening the perceived animus of tribal antagonism among the Nagas.

However, the gullible masses in times of resentment and frustration are likely to flock even to such vagrant voices that openly challenge the existing authority sans political wisdom. For instance, an innocent villager confessed, “Harassment at the hands of our national workers has become unbearable and we even savoured the idea of Manipur Government’s recent attempt to permanently post IRBs and Commandos at Ukhrul town. It would be a relief if the IRBs and Commandos could arrest and lock them all up in jail.” The point is the perceived excesses of the nationalist workers have exposed the erstwhile patriotic Naga into such recalcitrant social behaviour to the extent of disowning the term “Naga” itself.

Alongside this challenge is the legalistic dialectics of ACAUT in articulating “One Government, One Tax” within the vocabulary of Indian legalism rather than Naga revolutionary jargon. It is true that there should be “One Government, One Tax”, but the narratives of articulating the issue within the narrow framework of Indian notion of “legality” and “illegality” as an end in itself rather than means to an end has the irreversible danger of domesticating the international Indo-Naga issue into some redundant municipal dispute. However, for reasons of senseless self-gratification and indulgence for too long, the tax payers feel betrayed and disillusioned. Nevertheless, ACAUT in order to remain true to Naga national commitment, its emphasis should shift more towards the modalities of achieving “One Government, One Tax” rather than on the emotive confrontation of defining what constitutes “extortion”.

It is true that the evocative fighting spirit and heroic sacrifices of the past do not condone the present sense of nationalist lethargy, but it is equally true that this legacy alone is the whole inheritance of Naga nationhood and the same cannot be disavowed for the perceived default of one. The point is before the Naga society takes all the patterns of a Hobbesian existence, where bitter strife, denial and killings become the order of the day, each sober Naga stakeholder must recognise the limits of the other by now.

The idea of “villain” and “hero” in the discourse of politics is a mere social construct which in itself is flawed and problematic. The demeaning practice of political mudslinging has no place in a civilised political setup. Politics must be rediscovered as an art of mediating the perceived differences without the necessity of appropriating the notion of truth to oneself. The adversarial political culture of projecting the other as the “villain” must give way to a more progressive political behaviour of constructive social and political dialogues.

In tandem with it, there is urgency for the nationalist organisations to exercise certain creative political imaginations to innovatively respond to the changing demands and perceptions of the people before the remnants of their organisational legitimacy evaporate into thin air in the eyes of the weary public. The public must at same time appreciate that it would be unrealistic on their part to expect total physical reconciliation of all the NPGs given the history of bitter factionalism and suffice would it be for the day if they could arrive at a principle-based emotional reconciliation in letter and spirit with a managing committee to steer ahead the Naga nation as one in different bodies.

Charenamei hits back word for word

IMPHAL, Jun 26: Giving his side of the story to the news item which appeared in the June 15 issue under the heading “UNC socially boycotts Mani Charenamei”, the former MP has come out with a point by point response.

A source had then informed The Sangai Express that the UNC had taken the decision as the former MP was allegedly working against the demand for an Alternative Arrangement for the Nagas of Manipur.

The former MP’s response is given here ad verbatim.

I am compelled to issue this clarification in response to the UNC’s resolution no. 5 of 28th May 2014 as the resolution contains misleading informations and malicious aforethoughts to ruin my political career by levelling unfounded and baseless accusations against me for the defeat of the NPF candidate in the 16th Lok Sabha election, 2014.

Before I formally and publicly declared my stand to contest the 16th Lok Sabha election as an Independent candidate on 5th October 2013, I had already started my consultation as early as from May 2013. I had consulted some of the prominent leaders who are engaged in Peace Talks for peaceful conduct of election, with my well wishers, with elders and leaders of various tribal communities, with honourable MLAs cutting across party lines and leaders of different political parties for their valued suggestions and advice. In fact, most of the leaders I consulted supported my vision and decision to fight as an Independent candidate as it is the only platform where all parties and communities can unite for the common cause and burning issues the people of the state are facing today.

The main reason of declaring my stand to contest the 16th Lok Sabha Election as an Independent candidate well in advance was done in order to give ample time to the electorate to make their conscientious decisions  and also to avoid allegations that I contested as Independent candidate because I was denied otherparty tickets.

Even after taking decision to contest in the 16th Lok Sabha election I continued to have consultation with important organisations and many tribal chiefs and leaders. As far as I could remember I consulted with the Manipur state unit NPF President as many as five times, with NPF leaders Manipur In charge(Central)two times, with the NPF President on 13th Jan. 2014, with the Search Committee members several times and UNC executives two times and with various Tribal Presidents two to three times at their respective places. During the consultations with all the concerned leaders and organisations I had made my ideas very clear to everyone that it is highly risky to contest election depending on the votes of a single community and that it will be better if NPF chose to stay away from contesting and rather support an Independent candidate as it would be a better option for all the Tribal voters to come together keeping in view the known chemistry and complex electoral dynamics driven by conflicting demands among the people of Outer Manipur. I am constrained to point out these facts because most of our people opined that it will not be correct and proper to field NPF candidate in Manipur.

I believe, there is hardly any politician among the Naga community except me who cared to consult all the concerned leaders across party lines and irrespective of tribes to find a deeper understanding on the issues the tribal people of the state are facing. However, instead of appreciating my sincere efforts, NPF and its workers were actively involved in spreading false propaganda that I have been sponsored by the INC party, that I have already withdrawn from contesting, that I am anti Naga,etc. etc., all but to ruin my political career. I had, in fact, warned the UNC and other concerned Naga leaders  that the present Naga society is overwhelmed with trust deficit, misunderstanding and disunity therefore UNC should not take any decision which could further enhance the division of the society by showing favour to a single party. The reason why leaders of other political parties could not agree to support the PDA candidature in 2009 election is obvious and simple and needs no explanation.

To everybody’s surprise UNC came out with a decision to support NPF candidate only on 19th March 2014 without carrying out proper assessment about the desire and wish of the Naga public. Had UNC stood for free and fair election the outcome of the election would have been very different.

I also wanted to make it very clear to you and your associates that I was never informed formally or officially by any group or person not to contest the 16th Lok Sabha election after I had announced my intention to contest as an Independent candidate.

Now, coming to the wild accusation of UNC that my contest in the 16 Lok Sabha election had caused widespread confusion among the people and terming as anti Naga activities are completely misleading and false. Further, the UNC alleged that my statement had put in question the legitimacy of the AA demand and had given negative reflection to the world. In this regard, I had already made necessary press clarification on the misquoted news items. As a person who took active part in the tripartite talk on Alternative Arrangement I could never question the legality of the Naga peoples’ demand for Alternative Arrangement. As a matter of fact, the legality of the AA demand was not raised during the press interview. As a matter of fact, in my interview I had boldly expressed that it was heartening to know that the talk AA was elevated to the political level. And I also want to clarify that the reason for leaving the negotiating team was not a betrayal to the AA movement but to give more leverage to the AA movement by roping in  the involvement of the Naga Parliamentary Forum and I even informed the UNC President about my decision on leaving the AA team. Moreover if the demand for AA is illegitimate how could I include demand for Full Autonomy for the tribal areas of Manipur in my Election manifesto. More than that, I even made the ongoing Peace Talk as no. 1 priority of my manifesto.

The allegation that I had  dissipated the Naga Parliamentarian Forum into an oblivion is completely false and misleading. The formation of Naga Parliamentarian Forum, Manipur was initiated by the Members of Naga Parliamentarians themselves. It is true, the first meeting was presided by the UNC President, Mr. Samson Remmei but, the guiding Principles and Rules were independently framed and approved by the members themselves. The guiding principles says that the Naga Parliamentarian Forum, Manipur (NPFM) will not be subservient to any organisation. The NPFM had chosen not to be under the control of any organisation because the NPFM members may be called upon to play a much bigger role for the Naga community particularly in reaching out to both Government authorities and civil societies for building peace and understanding among various communities.

In fact, the NPFM has a plan to call on all the Chief Ministers  of the North Eastern states in the near future and we have never done any activities to lower the dignity or sell out the rights of the Nagas. In fact, it is deeply committed to the Naga cause and will continue to work for the welfare of the Naga people.

UNC also charged that as I was blessed in the past two elections in 2004 and 2009 with Naga support I should abide by the declaration issued by the UNC. But, what is most surprising was, I was never given an opportunity to share my views and opinions in any of the UNC meetings in spite of knowing that I have been running from pillar to post to bring an understanding among concerned organisations and leaders. Moreover, UNC never officially informed me about any decisions taken on the election related matters. As a matter of fact, I was only called to meet the NPF leaders only after filing nomination papers which I could not make it due to hectic election campaign schedules. And I also wanted to clarify that at any point of time I was not told that I will be no more qualified to be the consensus candidate as I have been blessed two times. In fact, I was hopeful that if at all the UNC wants to find a consensus candidate then it will decide on the Independent candidate in order to get the support of different parties and communities.

The UNC extended full support when I contested as an Independent candidate in 2004. However, in 2009  when I contested from PDA party which is a regional party UNC was not involved actively saying that it cannot associate with any political party as per its constitution. However, the UNC came all out in support of the NPF party in 2014 which is also a regional party overriding its former stand.

The social boycott call announced only against me while sparing other prominent Naga candidates by the UNC is a bias decision and is aimed at tarnishing my image. It is true that I was the consensus Naga candidate in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. In 2004 election I got around 228000 votes ( about 56% of the Naga votes) and  I was elected by a margin of 84,000 votes in 2004. Everybody knew that my winning in 2004 was facilitated by the absence of INC candidate in the fray and the boycott call given by Thoubal voters. In 2009 I got 223000 votes ( about 51% of the Naga votes )and I was defeated by a margin of 1,19,000 votes. It is a well known fact that a large chunk of Naga votes were taken away by the BJP candidate who was a Naga in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections and more than 60,000 Naga votes went to the INC candidate in 2009, in spite of having a consensus Naga candidate. In fact, in 2009 my fervent request to contest as an Independent candidate went unheeded. As far I could remember there were not less than two or three Naga candidates who contested against the Naga consensus both in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections but no social boycott was declared against any of the Naga candidates who contested against the Naga consensus candidate. I am therefore compelled to ask why UNC has failed to apply the same yardstick against all the candidates who contested against the Naga consensus candidate in 2004 and 2009 elections.

I also wish to know whether I am a lesser Naga than the NPF candidate and whatever issues I had raised in the Indian parliament has no relevance to the Naga issue and will my election to the 16th Lok Sabha be a great loss to the Naga Movement ? On what ground those leaders who went all out against the consensus Naga candidate in 2004 and 2009 were exempted from social boycott and how they have been given top post in the UNC office ? Further, what I wanted to ask the UNC is, whether my Independent candidature with an aim to unite all the underprivileged tribal communities is a crime that befits social  boycott and imposing heavy fines on my supporters for exercising their democratic rights ?

I would also wish to point out that I was the one  who secured the least Naga votes among the Naga candidates. I secured only about 20, 000 Naga votes, BJP and INC secured more Naga votes than me. Everybody know that there was open vote sharing between INC and NPF in some polling stations. Poor performance of NPF in Nungba, Tamenglong and Tamei constituencies compared to other Naga districts is not my doing. The NPF and its volunteers  also levelled baseless and unfounded allegations against me that I have been paid a lot of money to contest against the NPF candidate by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur.

It will be good on the part of every Naga to know that the defeat of NPF is not the defeat of the Naga Movement. The defeat of NPF is attributed to the wrong policy decision taken by UNC and NPF leadership and not due to the contest of other Naga candidates.

This time NPF could muster more than 2,70,000  Naga votes and it was defeated, next time they may be able to muster all the Naga votes but they should remember that its opponent will come out even stronger than before to defeat them as long as they refuse to understand the dynamics of a highly polarised tribal politics prevalent in the state of Manipur. In fact, if I had contested from NPF party I would have faced the same fate. The Sangai Express

‘GOI should resolve the Indo-Naga issue’

DIMAPUR, MAY 19 (MExN): The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) Nagaland has urged the Government of India to “solve” the Naga Political Issue “at the earliest.” A press note from ACAUT stated that the “Naga people are eagerly awaiting the PM-in-waiting, Narendra Modi to seriously look into the issue taking into consideration the continuous strife affecting peace and prosperity of the Naga people.”

It said that “67 years of conflict and militarization affecting millions of people in a democratic India is an aberration which should strike the conscience of any government.” It asserted that the Naga people expect the new government to sincerely pursue the unresolved Indo-Naga problem.

ACAUT Nagaland expressed disappointment that the GOI, “under previous dispensation,” instead of addressing the core issues, “seemed to be content putting more division in Naga society.” Declaring that the ACAUT movement is not against the Naga Movement, it affirmed that “at the heart of the One Government One Tax campaign is the understanding that the Naga Aspiration for Sovereignty is a must and the onus is on the various NPGs to come together under a single umbrella.”

It stated that the GOI should understand that One Government One Tax is an “assertion that the Naga movement is legitimate and true; and any divide and rule policy at this juncture is unacceptable to the Naga people.”

It urged the Naga Political Groups to understand that factionalism in the movement is “giving more excuses to the GOI not to resolve the Naga issue.” It cautioned Government agencies such as RAW and the Intelligence Bureau not to “aggravate the polarizing situation in the state.

 

Naga groups meeting held at Kolkata 

DIMAPUR, May 3: The five-day long Naga underground leaders from various groups concluded today in Kolkata under the aegis of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR).The meet participated by NSCN-IM, NNC/FGN and NSCN-Khole/Kitovi was in pursuit for the realization of the Lenten Agreement signed on March 28, 2014 in Dimapur which main aim has been for the formation of a single

NSCN-IM and NSCN-KK (old file picture)

NSCN-IM and NSCN-KK (old file picture)

Naga underground ‘government’ or group called Naga National Government (NNG).The Forum for Naga Reconciliation facilitated a series of formal and informal meetings among the leaders of the Lenten Agreement signatory groups. On recognizing the necessity, the three Naga underground groups agreed to have a close-door residential meeting among the top leadership. Subsequently, a five-day reconciliation meeting was organized in Kolkata from April 29 to May 3, 2014 with the intent to engage and explore creative ways to fulfill the Lenten Agreement.

 

The top leadership of NSCN-Khole/Kitovi was represented by ‘General’ Khole Konyak and N. Kitovi Zhimomi; NNC/FGN leaders Zhopra Vero, Vice President and Zaleo Sapu, Home Minister, responding to this necessity participated in the meeting. Their presence is valued with much appreciation. FGN President, Brig. S. Singnya was unable to attend the meeting due to ill-health. Furthermore, the travel of NSCN-IM leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah to Kolkata was not cleared by the Government of India, and hence, unable to personally attend. In their absence, they were represented by General (Retd) VS Atem, Khevihe Chishi Swu and TT Among. 


According to the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), in the course of the 5-day meeting, the three Naga political groups expressed the necessity of Naga reconciliation as a means to a shared future and extended their willingness to work for it till it is achieved. As part of the confidence building measures the representatives identified positive and negative aspects of the process and specified key steps on how the Naga reconciliation can be further reinforced. “They explored together the values of Truth, Mercy, Peace and Justice and emphasized on how they were vital to the journey of Naga reconciliation. The representatives through a process of envisioning shared their vision for the Naga people and expressed desire to engage in more confidence building measures as a way of trashing out difficult issues in the interest of the shared Naga future,” the FNR said. “While appreciating the Government of India for their cooperation to Naga reconciliation, the FNR is concerned by this recent attitude, thereby raising questions of doubt and insincerity,” the FNR added. “The Forum for Naga Reconciliation takes this opportunity to clearly inform that the Naga Reconciliation Process is in the interest of the common good of all concerned. For too long the internal division of the Nagas has been projected as one of the causes for the protracted conflict. Hence, in this time of peace, where Naga political groups are reconciling and seeking ways to find unity in purpose, the FNR urges Nagas, our neighbours and the Government of India to have more understanding and extend even moral support to the process. The realization of Naga reconciliation is in the mutual interest of all those who desire justice, peace and reconciliation in the region,” the FNR press communique stated.

An open letter to fellow theologians and pastors of Nagaland

By: Kaka D. Iralu

Dear colleagues,
In all my years of attending Church services for over the past half a century, I have never heard of a sermon preached on the subject of nations or politics which is related to the existence of nations. Is this because the subject of nations or nationhood is a non existing theme in the Bible? As for me, to my utter surprise, I discovered in 1997 that the Bible mentions the word “nation” and “Nations “481 times in the Bible. On the other hand, the word “salvation” is mentioned only 163 times in the Bible. (This Kakastatistics is based on Google search and I am not here implying that the word nation is more important than the word salvation)The point that I however want to make is that, though the subject of salvation is almost always mentioned in our church services, why have we been silent on the subject of “nations” for all these years? Another point I would like to mention here is the fact that, without the fact of nations and their existence, the subject of salvation would have no meaning whatsoever. After all, God did not send his son into the world to redeem the material world or the animals inhabiting the planet earth! Sadly, the word or the theme of nations or politics is almost a word of anathema (Forbidden) in our Churches. As for myself, I have been writing and speaking on this subject for the past 17 years.
As far as we Nagas are concerned, this subject of our nationhood and its implications has devastated our lands for the past 62 years (1947-2014). In this long period of time, many thousands of Nagas have sacrificed their lives for our national politics and cause. The survivors have also been so badly affected by its repercussions that today; our society has now become a society where our economic lives, our professional futures and even our very survival as a nation is under threat. And yet, will the theologically trained Nagas still keep mum and silent over these issues and only preach about heaven and the afterlife?
The Bible clearly declares that God is the creator of nations. It also states that He is the giver of our geographical lands (Acts 17:26; Dt 32:8 etc). As such, it clearly infers that the political and geographical sovereignty of any nation on earth is a right already granted to all nations by the sovereign God of the universe.  Can India then forcibly occupy our God given lands and claim that Nagaland is Indian Territory and Nagas are Indians? Can they butcher over two lack Nagas with their military might and impose heinous laws like AFSPA and persecute Nagas for over half a century? When all these most ungodly and sacrilegious activities have been perpetrated in our lands, will Naga theologians and the Church just stand by and watch? Is the Indian state imposed in Nagaland a divine will of God to which every Naga must bow their heads to? When some of our own so called national leaders are rampaging across our lands killing our own fellow Naga Christians and extorting every citizen of Nagaland with their slogan of Nagaland for Christ, will the Naga theologians and Churches just cower behind the four walls of their Churches and say nothing? Fellow theologians, is there really nothing in the Bible to be said against all these evils in our lands?
When will we ever search the scriptures and come up with Biblical injunctions and teachings to combat all these evils perpetuated in our lands for the past  more than six decades?
Any reader of the Bible will inevitably discover and realize that the Bible is a book about creation, nations, anthropology, history, and political rights. In fact almost all the Constitutions of the world and Civil Penal Codes of Governments on earth (including that of India’s too), are based on the Ten Commandments of God as enshrined in the Bible. Also all the universal declarations of human rights declared by the UN are based on Biblical laws and rights commanded by God. Besides this, the Bible is also a book about ecology, economy, agriculture etc. and man’s responsibility to nature as God’s regent on earth.
Why then are Naga theologians silent on all these issues of life that are pertinent for our survival and our existence on earth?  “Glory hallelujah” will be the day our Churches and theologians begin to speak on these issues from the thousands of pulpits across the length and breadth of Nagaland. Only such a day will usher in the Kingdom of God into Nagaland and make our land a glorious land whose God is the Lord (Ps.33:12).