Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights
Kohima, the 4th of December 2020, Nagaland
In the history of humankind, it is recorded that peoples struggle across the globe has so far been solved only through recognition of the rights and aspiration of the people to their nationhood and by nobly recognising their Nation. The make believe that Indo-Naga peace settlement can be achieved with promise of material appeasement, packaged as developmental programmes, is but an utter lie and misconception. The length and breadth of the Naga homeland has been dissected and placed under arbitrary administrative units without the will or consent of the Nagas.
The Indo-Naga Political conflict is perhaps the longest running political conflict in Asia. It stretches to over 7 decades of time line as of today marked by genocide inflicted on the Nagas by the armed forces of India and Myanmar. Across their homeland, the Nagas were assembled in groups for days together without food or water. Numerous children were born in such “concentration” areas. Our women were raped and our men tortured beyond human endurance and many were systematically tortured to death. The Naga people were subjected to unconceivable treatment not meted even to animals.
Memories are still fresh when we recollect those unimaginable sufferings. We, the Naga people, went through great sufferings at the altars of gross human rights violations and military atrocities by the invading forces, compounded by deceits and betrayals from within. Nay, it is not only memories, but these elements still live and move around amongst the very people whom they helped devour. Mr. S. C. Jamir needs to realise that when he said that “the State of Nagaland was neither a gift nor manna falling from heaven. But it was purchased by the precious blood of the Naga people”, it is this same “blood” which he and the likes of him helped spilled and still abets in spilling. They are the ones that make the Indo-Naga political conflict prolong and thus extend the sufferings of the Naga public. Their actions largely contribute and strengthen the denial of political freedom of the Naga people and their dignity.
The present state of Nagaland (sic), which comprises of only 16, 579 Sq. Kms out of an approximate 120,000 Sq. kilometres is only a symbol of oppression, a convenient tool of suppression and discrimination, selfishness and utter disregard for fellow brothers and sisters and alienation of their own ancestors and future generations. Therefore, commemorating the so-called 58th Statehood Day like never before, at a time when the world is keenly watching for an honourable and acceptable political settlement, is nothing less than an insult to India’s very own claim to greatness. It is a slur to greatness of persons like Mahatma Gandhi, P. V. Narashima Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and others.
Time has revealed the futile efforts of the Governments of India and Myanmar through violent, repressive, suppressive and divisive methods to end the Naga peoples struggle for their political rights and freedom. The insincerity of the Government of India is proven and stands naked for the world to see.
Not many days after entering into an agreement through signing of the Frame work Agreement with the Naga political Negotiators, the honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, himself declared to the world in Dubai that “I am citing Nagaland because I want to tell people across the world, including the youth, that however complicated a problem might be, it can be solved through dialogue”. One wonders whether his people and government realise the fact that it takes more than just a document and a “continued … look at each other through the prism of false perceptions and old prejudices” to bring about a just solution and shatter the misconstrued myth that Nagas are Indians and that their Nation is a part of India. Mr. Prime Minister who in his own word has been “deeply concerned about resolving the Naga issue” need to live up to his words without leaving it to a sinister person like his Nagaland state Governor, Mr R.N. Ravi, who is undoing his efforts and is hell bent on demolishing the very fabric of the Naga society. Much against the expressed will of the people of India, it is apparent that the Government of India is still pursuing the colonial and imperialistic policy of dividing and suppressing the Naga people through instruments like Mr. R.N. Ravi in collusion with few Nagas.
If the Framework Agreement “is a shining example of what we can achieve when we deal with each other in a spirit of equality and respect, trust and confidence; when we seek to understand concerns and try to address aspirations; when we leave the path of dispute and take the high road of dialogue… a lesson and an inspiration in our troubled world” as the honourable Prime Minister had declared at the signing of the Agreement, then, a sincere and immediate translation in action must ensue. Only then, Mr. Narendra Modi’s “deepest admiration for the great Naga people for their extraordinary efforts to the Peace efforts”, will become a reality.
We, Nagas, as one people, have been standing our ground and have been steadfastly braving the challenges coming our way for the past many decades. We have our courage and commitment to achieve our political goal through just approaches. Our understanding of humanism informs us that we too must be recognised and respected as any other human group or nation. We cannot allow ill-informed individuals or groups to hinder our progress to our rightful place. We must come together and help heal our spirit, a wound self-inflicted in addition to the wounds inflicted upon us by the invaders and occupational forces.#
The NPMHR, formed in 1978, is an organized movement for human rights which have been trampled by the Indian State’s military. NPMHR works with the Naga peoples fight for their rights and for peace, against the imperialist policy of India’s ruling class, and for political and cultural independence. NPMHR has been a long time partner of ILPS Commission 10 in its work for Indigenous Peoples rights, defense of land, life, territories and resources against imperialist plunder and fascism.
[Cover photo from globalvillagespace.com]