Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Why go to Delhi with charter of demands

Settlements like Shillong Accord (SA) is unacceptable. One of the greatest crimes of treason against the Nagas was committed by the Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC) who deceitfully created the State of Nagaland under the Indian Constitution as if Nagaland was part of India by a section of self-styled Naga society without mandate, leading to many fratricidal killings and bloodshed. The Revolutionary Govt. of Nagaland (RGN) consisting of a certain section of the Naga society, surrendered and betrayed the Naga cause by working as agents of the Indian Govt. and fought in favor of India, creating hostile antagonism to Naga national aspirations and facilitated the conditions through treason and betrayal, thereby emboldening Indian savage military to torture and persecute Naga civilians, leading to the forcible introduction of the infamous Shillong Accord, which in turn created further fratricidal killings and bloodshed. In exchange for the acceptance of the Indian Constitution, traitors from RGN received rehabilitations and produced a Naga Battalion of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF). The SA had become the most discussed and despised accord signed between the Govt. of India and some few Nagas claiming themselves as the Representatives of Underground Organization (RUO), the chief aim of which was to force the Nagas to accept the Indian Constitution ‘under duress’, creating a huge misunderstanding and factionalism that led to a large scale of fratricide amongst the Naga people. The futility of attempting settlements through dubious instruments such as the SA, RGN and NPC’s compromised accords orchestrated in cowardice, selfishness and treasonous deception had been well observed and experienced. Any similar settlements that undermine or disregard the political rights and sovereignty of the Nagas shall not be accepted.
The literal meaning of the above Accords is the acceptance of the Indian Constitution. In exchange of such acceptance a provision was given by Govt. of India in the SA for further Indo-Naga political talks. But it was just a talk under Indian Constitution. After all, they had already accepted the Indian Constitution. Likewise, some few different Naga political groups have already given their consent to accept the Constitution of India as that of the aforesaid three much despised accords, which were signed under various circumstances, serving only the interests of those individuals involved in the said accords. It is abundantly clear to all of us that these three infamous accords were never honorable or acceptable and because of which the Naga political struggle has continued unresolved till today, ever since it was put in written public document in 1929 in the form of a memorandum to the British Simon Commission.
The rather serious afloat rumor of ‘80% Naga sovereignty’ and ‘20% shared sovereignty’ claimed by our Naga Political Groups with calculated intention to deceive our people with the Indian hearts and minds should not confuse us. Because the so-called 80% Naga sovereignty can never exist under the Indian Constitution, if the claim is true, the Naga Nation shall have to constitute an independent separate Constitution of the Naga Nation, even if it has just 1% Naga Sovereignty of its own, if not 80% Naga Sovereignty as claimed. Accepting the Indian Constitution in the similar three aforesaid infamous accords is definitely the sharing of sovereignty with the Union of India as any other Indian States within the Indian Union, which cannot be treated as “20% shared sovereignty” or even 0.001% of Naga Sovereignty.
If we are to talk about shared sovereignty, it is worthwhile to take for example the “shared sovereignty concept” of the Pacific Island of Niue and New Zealand. They are the only two independent countries in the world with “shared sovereignty”. Pacific Island of Niue has its own independent Govt. flag, constitution, currency, passport and national anthem because Island of Niue exists as an independent Sovereign State, and whereas New Zealand may exercise the responsibility of external affairs and defence or in case of constitutional breakdown, but only at the expressed request of the Govt. of Niue. Please note that Island of Niue has its own absolute independent constitution and sovereignty. Such a political arrangement can only be considered honorable and acceptable for the Naga Nation if a shared sovereignty is to be adopted. If an honorable and acceptable political settlement inclusive of all political groups is materialized, then the present 60 legislators are ever ready and willing to vacate their chairs. I appreciate them for this meaningful and patriotic stand at this critical juncture; however, they will need to go beyond this point in furtherance of our legitimate political right. Each and every Naga must give his very best support and contribution for our common goal in a united front.
Accepting Indian constitution is never honorable and acceptable because Nagas were not and are not Indians and its territories are not a part of the Indian Union, accepting the Indian Constitution is nothing short of surrender. Nagas were absolutely free people since time immemorial until the British came in the first half of the 19th century. The Nagas fought furiously and valiantly, resisting the transgression into the Naga homeland for over 48 years culminating in a ‘no-more-fight agreement’ in a friendly manner in our culture without any written agreement at Mezoma, Western Angami Region of Nagaland on 27th March, 1880 which permitted British settlement in our land as a friendly nation, and it also led to the creation of a rule of law with our consent for the interest of peace and justice.
The agreement was made in our Naga customary practice. A circle was drawn on the ground and two men got into the circle, one representing the British Govt. and the other the Naga Nation, then a cat was produced. The British held the body while the Naga held the head. The cat was sliced from the neck into two parts by a Naga priest that was to signify that any party treacherous to the other would face the same fate. The Nagas were honest to their “no-more-fight agreement” and gloried in the claim that they held the head which signifies the upper position in the agreement as per their custom.
However, after some years this ‘no-more-fight agreement” was mischievously interpreted by the British as the Western Nagas becoming a part of the British-India Empire, even though the much larger Eastern Naga areas were untouched and were free as ever. Thus, the Nagas were compelled to submit a memorandum to the Simon Commission by the Naga Club on 10.01.1929 to affirm their unchallengeable position with the statement “leave us alone to determine for ourselves”. Then the Naga people re-affirmed its stand of ‘KHUNAK NGEU KHUM’, the Chang people’s war cry meaning ‘our land our own’ and declared the decision to remain as a people and a nation as ever before on the departure of the British from their South Asian colonies, based on the facts of its undeniable history before the New India was declared independent on 15 Aug, 1947.
But to our utter shock and surprise the Naga political movement came to a severe clash with the untenable claim of the new India over the Naga homeland on a mere ground of an imaginary map randomly drawn by the British without the knowledge of the Naga people that she, India, had claimed to have inherited such an illegal map from the British when their empire ended. The Nagas took a stand of non-violence to assert their political rights, met Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian Nation before India declared its independence, who expressed no objection to the Nagas wanting to be free and independent as ever before. However, after the assassination of Gandhi and the ensuing political turnout of events in India, it unleashed its reign of terror of brutal, beastly military aggression on the Nagas in the most barbaric manner in order to silence the undeniable political rights of the Nagas, which forced the Nagas to take up arms in self-defense. And thus, this resulted in the Indo-Naga political problem and war started. The conflict continues till this day.
Outwardly and superficially the Indian superior military fire-power, treacherous policies and other better and advanced resources seem to have decided the outcome of these seven decades of war and clash. Nonetheless, Naga people are proud till date that its political struggle in its national defense was and is for an ethically and legally right cause and is not an act of secession that treasonously violated a prior undertaking or agreement made by the Nagas willingly to be a part of British-India or the new independent India. And thus, the Naga political rights, based on the facts of history gave the Nagas unchallengeable and unquestionable legal rights to choose its own future and to be a good and friendly neighbor of India in perpetuity. If we have unity and understanding, a Govt. with proper infrastructure of moral code of conduct and discipline, capable to manage and administer law and order by ourselves that is expected from a people who claim to be a nation, we will not be disabled by rampant fratricide, extortions and mushrooming factionalism.
We will not then be repeatedly going to Delhi with what is now called a “Charter of Demands” as it is in the present case by some factions without mandate. This approach is totally wrong. East Pakistan was fighting for its sovereignty, India gave recognition and not Pakistan, and a new country was instantly born after this recognition, consequently it was named as Bangladesh, then immediately and automatically she became a member of the UNO, qualified as a recognized independent country.
Nagaland is exceedingly and abundantly blessed with all kinds of natural resources beyond our imagination by our Almighty God and we need not elaborate any further on the vastness of mineral resources bestowed on us. However, in a closer retrospection and examination of ourselves, we find that we are our own enemy and each individual or group is part of the problem rather than the solution. If we want to come to a practical and lasting honorable political solution, we must be honest with one another, admitting our own mistakes and excesses, leaving behind the past distrust, lies, hatred and bitterness but forgive each other for the love of our nation, its land and people.
We cannot fool all the people all the time with our own vested petty interests. The NNC having received 99.9% mandated vote in its favor in the 1951 Plebiscite is the way forward being the only true Naga National Political Institution. We must not follow the footsteps of those Naga leaders who brought the despicable infamous Shillong Accord and the likes aforesaid by accepting the Indian Constitution without mandate or authority and deceitfully calling it as Naga political talk. Although the Shillong Accord groups might have many excuses for signing of the Accord then, but their refusal to renounce the Accord and come out of the Transit Camp at Kohima for the last 46 years till date is inexcusable, unpardonable and condemnable because the Accord was far from being acceptable and honorable.
The SA was physically rejected, stumped and overthrown when discussion on the third clause of the Accord was in progress at Rubi Cinema Hall in Kohima by NNC’s Youth Movement about four decades ago. The tensed meeting was watched by over thousand members of the NNC’s Youth Wing at the meeting venue in spite of the heavy presence of Indian security personnel. The youth became violent when they suspected that an attempt was being made to explain away the shocking terms of the Accord for the Naga people to accept the Indian Constitution.
The Shillong Accordists came to be labeled as traitors by all other political groups who stood for defence of our Naga sovereignty. On account of this most hated and despised Accord, too many people have miserably suffered or lost their lives on both sides of the accord whether in favor or against it, including civilians. The Naga people do not want another type of Shillong Accord today by accepting the Indian Constitution in one form or the other, or to repeat the same old despicable political agendas of factionalism and fratricidal killings tearing apart the struggling big Naga family into pieces.
There can be no honorable and acceptable political solution for the Naga people without recognition of Naga sovereignty. We have no choice but to work out such a solution by first restoring mutual trust and goodwill among all Naga people for the sake of our people, our Nation and our history. To be ready to admit our own faults, where we are wrong, not wasting our time and energy on where others are wrong is the price we have to pay. It is a small price to pay to secure the unity and brotherhood of the Naga people.
The best contribution the Naga National Workers can give to our people at this critical juncture is to have an unflinching commitment to the unquestionable and overwhelming support for Naga sovereignty that the 1951 Plebiscite demonstrated. That, after all, was what we have struggled for and achieved so far. For reaffirming the unchallengeable and unquestionable Naga sovereignty, the top national workers must sit down together and thrash out their differences that have produced the self-defeating factionalism and fratricide, then reconcile amongst the brethren by boldly evolving together as equals representing all the Naga tribes, and work on the terms of 1951 Plebiscite which is the only honorable and acceptable way out. They must build such a foundational principle of sovereignty as laid down and affirmed on the three significant occasions that have shaped the Naga history of self- determination, firstly ‘The Simon Commission on 10th Jan, 1929’, secondly ‘the declaration of Naga Independence on 14th Aug, 1947’, and thirdly ‘the Naga Plebiscite on 16th May, 1951’.
While the Indian Govt. has engineered the aforesaid three means of deception Accords to subvert, suppress and abort the inherent political rights of Nagas to exist as a sovereign nation, it is the guidance of God that awakened the Naga conscience then, to assert the aforementioned elements of its political rights on those three occasions at the right time. This stand will always be fully supported by the Naga people because the national workers who have fought together sacrificially for the Naga cause, defending the Naga Nation possess the political mandate under 1951 Plebiscite to continue the struggle in self-defense of our Nation till our goal of unquestionable birthright is achieved through non-violence and peaceful means. NGOs and selected members of the public called together by any group for consultations and deliberations do not have this political mandate and therefore, one ought to be very careful not to be carried away by the thoughtless vanity crowds with vested interests strictly for a traitorous blood money and rehabilitation packages as had happened in the past in several occasions.
The reality of these facts must be clearly understood in the light of the failure of the SA, the deceptive scheming by the NPC and the futile creation of RGN, to bring about any political solution to the Indo-Naga political problem through dishonest means and deception masterminded by the Indian Govt. Any settlement or accord that does not respect the Naga political rights will not be accepted and will meet the same fate as the SA to be despised, rejected and abandoned. One may not repeat the same failure again and again. Only a settlement by the ‘mandated’ national workers on the principle of the inherent political rights of the Nagas to exist as a sovereign nation will be honorable and acceptable. Only then, will it become workable and lasting, because the common position of defending our Sovereignty thus transparently achieved will also bring to birth true reconciliation. Peace and development will then prevail in our land in which positive human growth, socio-economic development and life fulfillment will become a reality.
Gen. (Rtd.)
Thinoselie M. Keyho
Naga National
Council (NNC)
HQ Kohima Nagaland

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