GNF seeks Rahul’s help on Naga political issue
DIMAPUR — The Global Naga Forum (GNF) has appealed to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his help and leadership in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the Indo-Naga political problem, in whatever ways he could.
The GNF, in a memorandum to the former Congress president, also urged him to support resumption and completion of the peace negotiations, repealing of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, to oppose the suspension of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) agreement with Myanmar, and any form of fencing the borders.
Contending that Gandhi’s personal and political ancestry has with India’s public history, along with the responsibility of helping define India’s future, the forum said it is in this context that the GNF wished to draw his attention to the fact that postcolonial India has also been tied up with the fate of the Naga people.
“By the time you were born, our history had been written for us by others, and our future determined by India and Burma (Myanmar). In the interest of truth and a better future, not in bitterness, we must remind you that in 1953 Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and U Nu drew, without the consent of our people, an imaginary boundary between their newly independent countries.
“With that, they created an artificial separation of the Nagas and our lands across the international border. What were Nagas to do when the two national governments decided to divide us up, as though we did not exist, by drawing a line that ran right through the house of a Naga family in Longwa village? Nagas stood up for our right to be a free people and demanded political self-determination and autonomy,” the memorandum stated.
From then on, Indo-Naga relations went downhill with military invasion of Naga homeland in the 1950s; armed resistance by Nagas; iterations of ceasefires and peace missions; imposition of extra-judicial military law (AFSPA, 1958), which is still in force, the forum said.
It also pointed out to the broken agreements like the Nine-Point Agreement with the Naga National Council in 1947 and currently, the indefinitely stalled negotiations on the basis of the Framework Agreement made between the Indian government and the NSCN/GPRN in 2015.
The memorandum further stated that after all these and more, it has come to learn that the Government of India, in collusion with the chief minister of Manipur, is considering reneging on the FMR agreement with Myanmar.
This, the forum said, would not only criminalise Nagas visiting one another across the border, but render establishing social and cultural ties extremely difficult, as well as make next to impossible the nurturing of ties and communities for mutual assistance in times of need.
“These would all be a violation of international law and of the indigenous rights of the Nagas. It would also be most unworthy of India’s high standing in the world. And the Naga people would be altogether justified in losing faith in the Indian government,” the forum said.
“We realise, however, that this is not the time for confrontation and recrimination,” it stated.
While acknowledging Gandhi’s “admirable” Nyay Yatra for justice, the GNF maintained that “It is a good time for reconciliation and peacemaking on the basis of mutual respect and redressing historical wrongs.”