Comment of Acharya irks NNC
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 9
The Naga National Council (NNC) said the Governor of Nagaland, PB Acharya has once again courted controversy following his statement to (yet another Assam-based newspaper), Assam Tribune, that “the NSCN (IM) is the leader of the insurgent groups and it claims that it has the monopoly over all representing the Nagas. That is why the Government is engaging with it.”
The oldest ‘Naga political group’, Naga National Council, on Friday issued a press release censuring the Governor’s statement to the press in neighboring Assam. “To begin with, there are two main erroneous perceptions that require urgent corrections: First, the idea of leadership and secondly, the idea of insurgency.
“A Leader is not necessarily someone who can demand obedience from the people for its ability to harm or threaten others. To define leadership on this line is very primitive and imperialistic. Just because NSCN (IM) has the resources to trouble the Indian state or to muffle its own people with their muscle power if desired, it does not make them the leader of the Naga people.”A leader, on the contrary, is someone who commands the loyalty and respect of the people and one who represents the hope and aspiration of the people, it stated. “In other words, leadership is not claimed by individuals but recognized and mandated by the people. While not doubting their (NSCN-IM) leadership, it is reasonable on his (Governor) part to ask if all the Naga people accept their leadership or whether they enjoy the mandate and loyalty of even the majority of the Nagas. He only needs to ask the Naga public, not just to rely on the claims of the leaders of NSCN (IM). It is irresponsible on the part of any official to make sensitive political statement without verification.”
It further went on to state that the Naga political groups are not insurgent groups. “We are not fighting to overthrow the government or to bring about revolution in the state and society. Even if NSCN (IM) accept this insurgent identity as given by the Indian state, NNC is not ready to accept this.
“Unlike any insurgent groups or movements which try to fight for specific objectives within the structure of the state, NNC right from its inception refused to recognize the authority of the Indian state over the Naga people and placed itself outside the Indian state (Note that once Nagaland state was under the Ministry of External Affairs); it is not a party to the Indian constitution making; it is not seeking to overthrow the Indian state; its objective is never about reforming the Indian state or to bring about national revolution; it has nothing to do with the laws of the state or the ideologies of the state.”
But all this does not mean that NNC does not recognize the sovereignty of the Indian state. NNC, on the contrary, respect the right of the Indian state to be free from foreign domination, it stated. “And we also want India to recognize the same right of the Nagas to determine its own future. We are freedom fighters in much the same way Gandhi or Subhash Chandra Bose were. Indian national movement was never defined by Gandhi, for instance, as an insurgent movement.”
It also took objections to the Governor’s statement that the NSCN (IM) has “monopoly over all groups representing Nagas.” As vocal as NSCN (IM) is on the Indo-Naga issue and respected by Indian government for its ability to strike violently, it is certainly a fallacious inference to conclude that NSCN (IM) therefore, enjoys the monopoly of public support. The idea of Naga representation in an organized platform began with NNC. NNC is very clear about its own stand and its relation with Naga people.
“The mandate has been given by the Naga people to NNC since its initial stage of formation, through the plebiscite of 1951. And the Naga people never felt any need to declare its mandate to another organization. The mandate given to NNC has never been questioned or revoked. So even if NSCN (IM) organizes consultative meetings, it does not imply its legitimacy as the sole leader of the Naga people. On the contrary, it may be speculated that since it lacks the mandate of the people, it has to seek the approval of the Naga people for making any important decision,” it stated.
According to the NNC, this is the reason why “a large majority of Nagas are still reluctant to openly and publicly give their approval” to the framework agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and New Delhi. “To put it simply and directly, they have no monopoly of leadership at all. On the contrary, all the leading Naga public organizations have been unanimous in their demand to the GoI – to include all the Naga Political Groups in the negotiation table,” it stated.