NSCN (Khango) expresses concern over statements on Article 371 (A), FMR
DIMAPUR — The NSCN/GPRN (Khango) has expressed concern over the timing and implications of recent statements on Article 371 (A) and the Free Movement Regime (FMR).
The NSCN (Khango), in a press release on Thursday, said these developments suggest the intention of the government of India (GoI) and some Naga legislators to compromise Nagas’ rightful interests, potentially diluting the protective provisions related to customary laws, ownership, and transfer of land and its resources.
The group affirmed that navigating the intricate layers of the Naga issue demands an acute understanding of Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution, the ongoing Naga political dialogue, and the implications of the FMR across the Indo-Myanmar border.
“Each element bears particular significance in framing the sovereignty and the rights of the Naga people,” it said.
Maintaining that Article 371 (A) stands as a bastion of the rights and customs of the Nagas, it said that the recent utterances by certain political figures, asserting that the provision constitutes a barrier to development, strike a “dissonant chord with the fundamental principles that underpin the special protection of our heritage.”
It said that the declarations, seemingly resonating with the objectives of the GoI, not only erode the very foundation of “our statehood and identity but also overshadow the valiant struggles endured by our ancestors to preserve our inalienable rights to our land.”
“Historically, as we have never been under the dominion of the Indian Union, these rights are deeply rooted in our enduring legacy of sovereignty over our territory,” it asserted.
Alleging that the GoI’s plan to erect border fencing along the “Naga-Myanmar border” reflects an insidious attempt to further divide Naga communities, the NSCN (Khango) said the erection of border fencing would also potentially undermine the protections provided by Article 371 (A), as it pertains to the land and its ownership.
“Given the importance of this border to our people, whose traditional territories extend well beyond the 40-kilometre range, there is a need for more inclusive and respectful dialogue surrounding territorial assessments and demarcation processes,” it said.
Asserting that the authority to determine the course of Nagas’ lands resides solely with the Naga people, the group also said it is imperative that the GoI recognises and honour this principle and refrain from interventions that risk further fracturing the Naga community.
It went on to state that the imposition of a physical barrier without the consent of the Naga populace will not only undermine their rights to self-determination and the management of their own affairs but also contravene the spirit of the protections enshrined in Article 371 (A).
“It is crucial that any decisions regarding the demarcation of our territory involve thorough and respectful dialogue with the Naga community. We strongly advocate for an inclusive process and that our collective will is given precedence in matters that directly impact our land and our people,” the group insisted.
The group further said that it is paramount for the Naga people to stand together in unity and unwavering determination to safeguard their rights and preserve their rich heritage.
“Any deliberations pertaining to Article 371 (A) and FMR (Free Movement Regime) must be made with the utmost caution, ensuring the long-standing aspirations and rights of the Nagas and our unique identity and governance structure are honoured and protected.
“We must never forget the sacrifices made by our forefathers, which epitomise their unyielding resolve to safeguard our heritage and identity. Their sacrifices should never be diminished to mere footnotes in history, particularly by any contemporary efforts that may potentially marginalise or disenfranchise us from the land to which we are intrinsically and irrevocably connected,” it added.
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