Freedom must be earned — NPMHR General Secretary
Kohima, Aug. 14 (EMN): The General Secretary of Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Neingulo Krome, said on the occasion of 75th Naga Independence Day celebration that freedom has to be earned.
He was addressing the occasion organised by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) in Kohima on Saturday.
“Nobody will give us our freedom, it must be earned. Respect, independence, and sovereignty must be earned not asked,” he said.
He called upon the Nagas to enjoy the occasion in its true sense.
“Not just observing the occasions but go back home and live it. We were not Indians and we will never be Indians because we are Nagas by blood,” Krome said.
“After 60 years, India has come back alive asking us and leaders to sign an agreement under the Constitution of India minus the Naga flag, minus our identity, minus our nationhood, minus our peoplehood, without our heart and mind to be citizens of India under the Constitution of India,” he added.
“Today, would Nagas say that the Government of India, right from the start (of the Naga issue) till present Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will give peace to the Nagas?” he asked.
“India can never be a member of the security council of the United Nations as long as problems with Nagas and civil rights record are not cleared. Yet, India too wants to become a leading country in the world. GoI wants to give peace to the Nagas, which is why they signed agreements with Naga political groups,” he observed.
The general secretary also lashed out at “Naga ruling class” without naming any particular groups or individuals.
“We (public) don’t deserve to be treated like this by our own Naga ruling classes, dominant Naga ruling classes. If they want to continue to wage psychological war on us, to talk peace and give us the peace of the great citizen, only when you are dead and in your graveyard, you will have peace,” Krome said.
The people cannot be spectators all the time and ‘time has come to act’, he said.
“When we wanted peace, our own people gave us war. So, if we really want peace we have to be prepared for war,” he added.
Tracing the journey of the Indo-Naga conflict, he said that for the first time in the history of the Nagas, the government of India had acknowledged and recognised the unique history of the Nagas in an agreement in 2002, which for 15 years the GOI refused to say.
He was also of the view that “much confusion” had been created in the Naga public domain due to non-disclosure of “Framework Agreement” content.
President of NSF, Kegwayhun Tep said that the celebration was to re-affirm the conviction that the Naga’s right to self-determination is justified on account of unique history, culture and political goals.
The president urged the governing bodies of the world to honour the “Naga historical and political rights and restore the pride of the Naga people once and for all”.
He went on to add that the celebration was a solemn assertion and a celebration of the historical fact that Nagas were free people.
“The forces occupying our Naga territory must and should no longer subject the Naga people to their diabolic and divisive policies,” he said.
While appreciating the NSCN-IM, NNPG, and all political groups for their contributions towards the Naga cause, the palpable differences in ideology and approach between the groups have been doing the Naga society much harm than good despite all that they have achieved on different negotiating tables, Tep said.
“It is the collective aspiration of the Naga youth and student community for all the political parties to shed their differences and come on a common platform, to find the best possible path and solution for the Nagas in the present political circumstances, without losing the unique political history of the Nagas for a lasting peace in the region,” he added.
The president further appealed to the political groups to forge a unified front in the interest of those who will inherit the outcome of the political negotiation.
“The guiding principle should uncompromisingly remain ‘one issue, one solution’, and it is possible only if there is political clarity on post accord arrangements and deep political understanding of the subject among the negotiating parties and not based on flimsy assumptions.
“The future of the Naga society cannot be subjected to the nefarious whims of those self- interested individuals seeking to further divide and fragment our people. We cannot afford to allow the bitterness of the past to dictate the course of our future,” he said.
He urged all to create a harmonious environment where respect, democracy, justice and peace were the ‘cornerstones of relationships and with those living in close proximity with us’.
“Respect each other’s history and basic human rights, accept each other’s differences and value the common interests to establish a secure future,” he added.
On the occasion, the gathering observed a minute of silence to pay homage to the souls who had died in the Indo-Naga conflict.