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Naga Plebiscite marks pivotal moment in history of Nagalim: UNC


Lorho said at no point of time, the Nagas were part of the Indian Union or Myanmar (Burma), either by consent or by conquest.

By Imna Longchar, TFM, Nagaland Correspondent

Maintaining that the Naga Plebiscite marks a pivotal moment in the history of Nagalim and the Naga people, United Naga Council (UNC), Manipur, president Ng Lorho, said that it is also a moment that resonates with the echoes of “self-determination” and the relentless pursuit of freedom.

He was also speaking at the commemoration of Naga Plebiscite 1951 programme held at General Headquarters (GHq) Church, Hebron, on Thursday.

Lorho said at no point of time, the Nagas were part of the Indian Union or Myanmar (Burma), either by consent or by conquest. He stated that prior to the departure of the Britishers, Nagas under the banner of “Naga Club” had expressed their shared opinion of the inherent political rights of the Nagas to remain as sovereign people of an “independent nation” through a memorandum submitted to the Simon Commission on January 10, 1929, which was followed by the declaration of the “Naga independence” on August 14, 1947, by the Naga National Council (NNC) and later on reaffirmed by the “famous Naga Plebiscite” on May 16, 1951.

He said 99.9 per cent voted for a complete independent sovereign nation. The “Naga Plebiscite Day” was not merely an emotional event but a process priorly informed to the government of India, he added.

Reflecting on the significance of the day, it is reminded of the “political dynamism” that has been secured and grounded by the “Amsterdam Joint Communique” of July 11, 2002, recognizing the history and situation of the Naga people, and the “Framework Agreement” of August 3, 2015, Lorho said moreover, the Naga Plebiscite captured the attention of the international community, drawing widespread support and sympathy for the Naga cause.

However, the UNC president pointed out that the journey towards Naga sovereignty has been “fraught” with challenges and setbacks when the government of India made a “U-Turn” betraying the very essence of the framework agreement in letter and spirit that was officially signed between the two entities—the government of India, and the NSCN (IM) on the principle of sovereignty by denying to acknowledge the Naga Council flag and its sovereign constitution which according to him were the two “inseparable components”  that constitute the identity of a nation.

Ng Lorho later shared that amidst all the trials and tribulations, the spirit of the Naga people remains unbroken, their determination undiminished, and their resolve unwavering and hence the precarious situation necessitates urgent intervention by a “third party” to rebuild trust and ensure that 75 years of political conflict are made right at the international platform before the damage becomes irreparable.


Nagas are united in aspiration to live as independent people: NPMHR 

Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) Secretary general Neingulo Krome said that it was on May 16, 1951, the Naga National Council (NNC) president late AZ Phizo launched the “Plebiscite” by declaring that the only way to live in peace was to “live apart from India” as he felt that the only way for the Nagas to live in peace as a “free people and independent nation”.

Stating that the plebiscite reaffirmed the declaration of the “Naga Independence” on August 14, 1947, Krome said it also demonstrated to India and the world that Nagas are united in the aspiration to live as independent people which according to him was “sufficiently and effectively” proved with 99.9 percent voting for complete independence of “Naga country” which was immediately followed by “boycotting” of the first Indian general elections in 1952 where not a single Naga participated.

Highlighting the first Indian prime minister, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, visit to the state’s capital, Kohima, along with the then prime minister of Burma (Myanmar), U Nu, in order to meet the Naga people, Krome lamented that some minutes before the meet started, the Naga delegations were not allowed to meet the visiting two prime ministers or to submit any memorandum to them for which the entire Naga delegations in thousands utterly felt insulted and in anger left the meeting place.

He said consequent to the unfortunate event, the government of India (GoI) unleashed a “reign of terrors” through military campaigns to “subdue” the Nagas to submit to the Indian union or face “annihilation”, and in response to this militarization, on March 22, 1956, the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) was formed which saw the “war of defence and resistance” beginning.

He later went on to mention that after almost a decade of protracted “war”, it was on September 16, 1964, the first “ceasefire agreement” between the FGN and the government of India (GoI) was signed which came into effect and following it six rounds of political talks were held between the two political entities but the talks reached a “deadlock” in the year 1967 with the FGN refusing to “yield” its sovereign independence to India in upholding the mandate of the Plebiscite even as the then prime minister of India, late Indira Gandhi, has “offered” the Naga delegation to take anything under the sun except “sovereignty”.

Krome, however, said that the chapter of the Naga political movement came to a “tragic crossroad” with the signing of the Shillong Accord on November 11, 1975, which created an uncontrollable conflict of opinions as the signing of the Shillong Accord was seen going against the very objective of the Naga Plebiscite and thereafter on January 31, 1980, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim was formed with the subsequent establishment of Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) on March 21, 1980.

He also added that the second ceasefire between the government of India (GoI) and the NSCN (IM) with effect from August 1, 1997, based on equal and unconditional terms of “agreements” at the highest level of which the Indo-Naga political issues are being watched by many countries, including the United Nations which also follows the paces of the negotiations and also with the Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization (UNPO) which keeps tracks on every stage of development in which “Nagalim” is a member and India will not get away easily with its usual habit of “back-tracking” and betraying its own commitments.


Naga Hoho stands committed to civil, political rights of Naga people: Atoho Kiho

Bringing greetings on behalf of the Naga Hoho (NH), general secretary, Atoho Kiho, while speaking during the programme expressed his happiness that the Nagas have consensually agreed to “concretely” acknowledge and celebrate the Naga Plebiscite Day which according to him is a historical relevance and importance which cannot be never “overstated”.

Saying that the day is the very foundation of Naga people’s “nationhood” though it is at this juncture of diverse and contrasting interests among the Naga family, Atoho said it is also a singular issue where one could all gather together in spirit while reaffirming that the Naga Hoho stands committed to the civil and political rights of the Naga people with clear instances that an inclusive, acceptable, and honourable resolution to the protracted Indo-Naga political issue is the paramount need of the hour.

Also committed to striving to bring the “Naga family” above “narrow and communal” interests to a broader spectrum of national ideology, Kiho later sought cooperation and support towards its effort in “nation building”.


Keep ‘flame alive’ till Nagas see freedom: Naga Mother’s Association to younger generations

Representing the Naga Mother’s Association (NMA), vice-president, Apeuna Iheilung, said that the day in 1951 was when the Naga leaders scripted history whereby all Nagas both men and women came forward to join the “Referendum” for Nagas’ freedom and sovereignty as a people and the Nagas’ struggle since then has seen much bloodshed.

Maintaining that thousands of lives have been lost including both men and women to carry on the torch with firm for the freedom, that holds so dear to every Naga, Apeuna asserted that as mothers and sisters, Naga women have stood by their men, fathers, and brothers, whether be it in darkness of jungles carrying food or weapons searching in the shadows of the warriors, unheard, unspoken, in the records of the Naga political history, yet faithful to the Naga cause and the dream of freedom or in search of peace over the year, has have walked in the belief that Nagas must come together in unity, peace, and reconciliation.

NMA also remembered the departed leaders and comrades on the Plebiscite Day and made an appeal to the younger generations to remember the long years of the Naga struggle and to keep the “flame alive” till the Nagas see the freedom that has been yearned for.

Apeuna further appealed to the Naga political groups for peace, reconciliation, and rededication to the spirit of Nagas as one people beyond all borders and manmade boundaries.


Plebiscite Day symbolizes Nagas’ collective desire for sovereignty: Naga Student’s Federation

Quoting “Our history is not just a series of events; it is a saga of resilience, courage, and the unyielding pursuit of Sovereignty”, Naga Student’s Federation (NSF) president Medovi Rhi, in his short speech at the programme, said that the day marks a pivotal moment in Nagas’ history— the Naga plebiscite of 1951, where the question of “Naga Sovereignty” was put to the test.

Through this momentous plebiscite, Medovi said that the Naga people spoke with a unified voice by voting 99.9% in favour of Naga Sovereignty, sending a powerful message to the world about its collective desire for sovereignty and added “As we reflect on the significance of this event which stands as a testament to the unwavering resolve of the Naga people, we are compelled to ask ourselves this question: Where are we heading towards sovereignty today? Are we closer to achieving the dreams and aspirations for which our forefathers fought so valiantly?”

He said the Naga plebiscite of yesteryears symbolized Nagas’ collective desire for sovereignty, it was a momentous occasion that embodied the hopes and aspirations of Naga people, yet, as one stand here today, we find ourselves grappling with internal divisions and external pressures that threaten to undermine our unity and dilute our purpose.

Mentioning that NSF in solidarity, advocate for a cause that transcends boundaries and speaks to the essence of humanity – Naga unity, Medovi articulated that the NSF carry the torch of our forefathers’ legacy and that it cannot afford to allow internal divisions and external pressures to derail its quest for sovereignty at the same time added that as Nagas embark on collective journey towards unity and prosperity, they are confronted with a challenge that affects us all—the confusion and uncertainty that pervades even the minds of our youth.


Naga People’s Organization, Myanmar hopes for an honourable political solution

The Naga Peoples’ Organization (NPO), Myanmar, has also maintained that the Naga people in “Nagalim” voted for their right of “self-determination” to live as an “independent nation”.

Myanmar’s NPO president, Michael Kiyarlynn, said that as informed by the convener, Steering Committee, NSCN (IM), that they are encouraged in the political negotiation with the government of India (GoI), the unique history and sovereignty of “Nagalim” has been officially recognized by the Amsterdam Joint Communique of July 11, and the Framework Agreement of August 3, 2015.

He hoped for an honourable political solution between the two parties based on the foundation of the two Agreements.

Others who also took the podium were Global Naga Forum (GNF) convener, Chuba Ozukum, president, Tirap Changlang Longding People’s Forum (TCLPF), Nguntim Changmi.


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