Naga Martyrs’ Day observed at Mao
Dimapur, Aug. 27 (EMN): Remembering the supreme sacrifices made by the patriots of 1948, the 72nd anniversary of Martyrs’ Day was observed in Song Song Youth Club Hall at Mao.
The programme was organised by the Mao Council under the aegis of the United Naga Council (UNC) on Thursday, an update informed.
Participants laid wreaths at Island, Mao gate where a memorial stone was erected in 2005 in memory of the three patriots namely, Asiisii Hepuni of Punanamei village, Modo Kholi of Kalinamei village and Mahriili Lohrii of Kalinamei village.
President of Mao Council S Daiho, while acknowledging the supreme sacrifice made by the patriots for the rights of the Nagas, said the aspirations of the Nagas could be fulfilled through their sacrifice. The sacrifices made by three patriots would remain indelible in the annals of forging the Naga legitimate rights, distinctive identity and self determination, he added.
In a solidarity messages, finance secretary of the UNC, Athili Kayina, said that people gathered to regain their consciousness of the event that took place on this day some 71 years ago.
“The presence of the nation stands on the foundation that has been laid on the lives of the freedom fighters. These martyrs sacrificed their lives to ensure that the future generations get freedom from chains of slavery, subjugation and exploitation,” he stated.
The All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) president, Joseph Adani, said that the struggle of Naga people for self-determination has been a long journey that has claimed thousands of precious lives and uncountable sacrifices.
He maintained that most of such sacrifices went unnoticed yet some of them found their way into the history books and are even remembered till this day with great pride and honour as the people continue their struggle to achieve their common hopes and dreams.
The historic day of August 27 brings an immense sense of patriotism to all the Nagas especially who are in the southern part which emerged to be pioneering the political movement for its freedom, he said, adding that the day was also observed as ‘Naga Unification Day’ in 2006 by the UNC and the Naga Hoho.
Calling the day as a great moment and honour to remember the brave heroes who boldly gave their lives for the cause of the nation, Adani recalled the luminaries like A Daiho and his colleagues who pioneered the Naga National League (NNL) in September, 1946 to bring together all the Naga tribes under one administrative unit. Under their visionary leadership, he said, the NNL submitted an MoU to Sardar Patel, the then deputy prime minister of India, on January 24, 1948, demanding integration of contiguous Naga areas under one administrative unit. Subsequently, the NNL suited representation to the ministry of state government of India on March 9, 1948, stating a ‘No Tax Campaign’ to be launched due to no response from the government and innumerable tactics of Manipur state to suppress the demands of the Naga people. Thus, the campaign was launched on this day when Rajkumar Priyobrata Singh was the chief minister of Manipur, he said.
He also recalled that there was ‘No House Tax Payment’ to the government of Manipur by the Nagas inhabiting in Manipur; however, on their own violation, they decided to pay house tax to the DC of Naga Hill District in Assam in 1948. In defiance to the Manipur government tax policy, the Mao Maram Nagas under the leadership of A Daiho protested against the illegal tax on potato growers that led to organise a mass rally along NH-39, demanding merger of Naga areas of Manipur with the Naga Hills district and complete withdrawal of tax levied by the Maharaja of Manipur on Mao local products exported beyond Mao gate, he said.
The student leader reiterated that the commemoration of the historic day will continue to inspire and energise the Naga people in defending their rights, land and history.
In her solidarity message, the president of Naga Women’s Union, Asha Wungnam, said it is a landmark in the history of political movement of the Nagas in Manipur and called upon all the Nagas to render unflinching support for the Naga movement for self-determination based on the history of political rights of the Nagas.
“The NNL had their desire to merge with the Naga Hills district of Assam through boycott for preparation of electoral roll in Naga areas. The Nagas in Manipur boycotted the election and thereafter launched the ‘No Tax Campaign’ which was spearheaded by A Daiho, (Mao) and N Modoli, (Poumai) as the president and secretary respectively of the NNL. On this day the 27th August in 1948, Manipur Maharaja Budhachandra sent a combined force of 4th Assam Rifles and Manipur Police to arrest A. Daiho and other leaders who were equipped with machine guns and fired indiscriminately at the volunteers and students who blocked the road leading to the residence of A Daiho, killing the three patriots while injuring many,” she narrated.
Delegates from the UNC, ANSAM, NWU, Naga People’s Organisation, Mao Council, Mao Students’ Union and Mao Women’s delegates attended the programme.