NSF seeks UN intervention over ‘fragmentation of Naga homeland’
DIMAPUR — The Naga Students’ Federation has appealed to the United Nations, seeking immediate intervention against further fragmentation of the ‘Naga homeland’ and what it perceived as “serious threats propounded by the Indian occupational force to fence the arbitrary India-Myanmar border and abolish Free Movement Regime (FMR).”
“The ploy manifests a clear evidence of the government of India’s insincerity and insensitivity towards the inherent Naga birth right and the hope for the Naga people to once again live as free people,” the NSF stated in a letter addressed to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, on Thursday.
Calling on the UN to “Immediately stop the programme for abolishing Free Movement Regime and the proposed fencing on the arbitrary India-Myanmar boundary in Naga homeland,” the student body stated that the occupation the Naga Homeland by India and Myanmar is a violation of the Naga nationhood.
It said that the Naga people declared independence on Aug. 14, 1947, and also conducted a plebiscite on May 16, 1951 where 99.9 percent of Nagas wanted Independence from India.
The NSF stated that since then, India and Myanmar have not only “divided Naga homeland into two countries, then split into various administrative regions,” but also waged an “unjust war on the Naga people.”
“Since the late 1940s, the Nagas have been bearing with the negative fallouts of this unjust war by India, which have been constitutionally buttressed by the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958,” the letter stated.
Despite this scenario, the NSF stated that the Naga ceasefire agreement with government of India and Myanmar and various other agreements and joint communiqués gave a ray of hope for a political solution.
However, situation has become precarious, the NSF said, accusing the Indian government of “acting undemocratically,” by investing more on the unjust war efforts to keep the Nagas permanently under siege.
“The proposition to fence the Indo-Myanmar border and scrap the Free Movement Regime is one of such repressive policies to control day-to-day pursuits for subsistence, basic agricultural and micro-economic activities of the Nagas living across the boundary,” it stated in the letter.
In this context, the NSF urged the UN to “closely monitor the state of affairs across Naga homeland and support for peaceful resolution to the Indo-Naga-Myanmar political issue which would be just, long lasting, inclusive, honourable and acceptable to all the parties involve.”
“We would like to unmistakably assert the fact that Naga movement for self-determination is not a case of cessation but a fight against the occupational forces,” it emphasised, while also calling on the UN to “Explore the possibilities for a fresh referendum under the supervision of international bodies.”
Further, it pointed out that the proposed fencing by the authorities in Delhi disregards the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples 2007 (UNDRIP) of which India herself is a signatory, and also deeply hurts Naga sentiments.
“Historically, the existing artificial boundary has no practical relevance whatsoever for the day-to-day lives and realities to the Nagas way of life, culture and identity, particularly to the villages along the assumed international border. Therefore, this sacred freedom of movement and the right to unrestricted mobility across the arbitrary international border not only confront Naga historical and traditional rights, but also a very destructive and tyrannical design against Naga people inalienable human rights,” read the NSF’s letter.