Extension of AFSPA in Nagaland ‘ridiculous’, says Adinno Phizo
Kohima, Feb. 2 (EMN): President of Naga National Council (NNC) Adinno Phizo on Wednesday said the recent killings of 14 Naga civilians at Oting and Mon bore ‘enough testimony’ to the horrific saga of India’s occupation of Nagaland since the 1950s.
“Due to India’s aggression on Nagaland and its continued occupation by its military of our country, we are facing tremendous hardships and loss, all these years. The crude shock of Indian state terrorism and atrocity continue unabated till today,” she said while addressing the 76th foundation day of NNC at Peace Hall in Chedema.
She went on to say that “such wanton killing” takes place under the cover of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and termed its extension for another six months as “ridiculous”.
“It is absurd to make it appear that Nagas are demanding independence from India. It is crystal clear that Nagas and Indians have no connection historically, racially, socially, and politically. In fact, Nagas formally declared its independence on 14th August 1947 – one day ahead of India’s independence. Ever since Nagas are defending its rightful independence and asking India to withdraw its occupation forces from all Naga territories,” Phizo stated.
Recounting the Naga national history, she said it was timely that the Naga Club submitted a memorandum on behalf of the Nagas to the visiting Simon Commission at Kohima on Jan. 10, 1929, asking “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
“Having declared our independence as a nation, the need to form its government followed with the formation of the Federal Government of Nagaland on the 22nd March 1956 by bringing together the free Nagas of the eastern Nagaland,” Phizo said.
One of the speakers at the event, Thepfulhouvi Solo, observed that there were several deep underlying issues; the first, he said, is “the deep, almost buried division between the so-called ‘undergrounds Nationalists’ and the so-called ‘state over grounds’.
At one time, the ‘underground Naga’ looked and often treated the ‘overground Naga’ as the supporters of the Indian government – foe of the Nagas”. These feelings of division, he observed, are deeply buried in the Naga mind even today.
“The Naga society must grow, mature and honestly and courageously reconcile these divisions to become a free and open society in reality,” he said.
The second issue is to ‘reconcile among the nationalist groups of the Nagas’. He said this “appears more daunting, but actually shouldn’t because the only trouble here is the ‘holier than thou’ attitude in each of the groups. The simple solution is to have courageously large-heartedness and deal with the issue with courageous humility”.
Toshinaro Longchar said that “Independence is there in the head and the heart but it is not in our hands. The hands are not working with the soil. The conviction of our independence can only be actualised when head, heart, and hand work together”.
She further suggested a year of national reflection, a review process, and an assessment; a comprehensive contextual analysis of the contemporary world, one where people can have a vivid picturisation of the contemporary context from multiple perspectives.
She also recommended a critical analysis of the economic situation of the Naga people in the context of the Act East policy and Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and charting the future direction.
‘Identify critical issues of local self-governance and administration to give the direction of sustainable development and peace among Naga people and with the neighbours and constitutional amendment on the role of women in the 21st century,’ she said.
‘Reflection on how and where the present education is taking the nation and whether that is helping the younger generation rooted in their history and culture and become responsible global citizens, respecting other nations equally in the 21st century. Explore ways to reach out and engage with the minds of the younger generation towards nation building by giving them the space to question, critique, and allow them to come up with creative innovation and ideas in all aspects of Naga polity,’ she added.
‘Envision to reclaim the Naga political movement from militant armed groups and make it a people’s movement. This whole militarisation process needs to phase out and a new phase of non-violence based on people’s power needs to take its place,’ continued Longchar.