Solution Without Integration
The 13th Clause of the 16-Point Memorandum of the Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC) which was accepted by GOI runs that “The other Naga tribes inhabiting the areas contiguous to the present Nagaland be allowed to join Nagaland if they so desire.” The language is lucid and clear that the Nagas inhabiting the neighbouring States of the State of Nagaland can join Nagaland through the amalgamation of the territories subject to the desire of the concerned chunk of the Nagas to join so. Possibly the NPC inserted this clause banking on Art 3 & 4 of the Constitution of India as its plank as rearrangements of territories is done under these provisions. The integration of the Naga territories, when implemented, will, therefore, be constitutional and not otherwise. Thus, Nagaland has been keeping its door open for particularly the Nagas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to come and join Nagaland with their territories for the last 57 years.
The NPC after having sensed that the creation of the Statehood of Nagaland was in the offing in the very early 1960s, it sent an official delegation to meet the Nagas in Manipur led by late R.C. Chiten Jamir, the former Deputy Chief Minister, Nagaland. The Naga leaders of Nagaland were magnanimous that no political arrangement be carried out without the knowledge of the other Naga brothers outside Nagaland. It was learnt that on the arrival of the NPC delegation in Manipur, Mr. M.L. Kampani, the then D.C., Kohima who became the Commissioner of Manipur on transfer was pivotal in the arrangement for the Naga leaders to meet. Accordingly, the NPC delegation met the Manipur Naga leaders at Ukhrul in which the Nagas of Manipur were invited to join the proposed State of Nagaland through integration. Yet, the Nagas of Manipur declined the invitation saying that they preferred to remain with Manipur. The very event was transpired by the late leader R.C. Chiten Jamir to the Nagas of whom we have the living witnesses today in the persons of Dr. S.C. Jamir, the former Governor and former C.M. and Mr. Imchalemba, the former M.P. who are the junior contemporaries.
Despite the initial rejection of Naga integration by the Nagas of Manipur, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly passed not less than five (5) successive Resolutions on Naga Integration dated 12.12.1964, 28.8.1970, 16.9.1994, 18.12.2003 and 20.9.2018 respectively in pursuance of the 13th Clause of the 16-Point Memorandum. I am also one of the voters to two of these resolutions. Nevertheless, the desire and the follow-up actions of the Nagas of Nagaland simply became unilateral as it was not reciprocated by the Nagas in other contiguous areas. I compared the initiatives of Nagaland to that of a person trying to clap with a single hand which can never produce sound and thus the exercise becomes futile. And we all know the fact that the Naga integration can be accomplished solely out of unanimity but not by force nor through coercion. The Naga integration, therefore, remains to be a distant dream although it is within the purview of the Indian Constitution.
Meanwhile, in my brief address to the public gathering for the purpose of demanding an early political solution from GOI out of the ongoing political negotiations under the platform of NGBF at Dimapur on 9.3.2020, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the lack of reciprocity from the Nagas of Manipur in particular. I vented out that the Nagas from Manipur used to loss gut to assert for the Naga integration in their own land as much gut they used to have while in Nagaland. The evidence is that I have not come across the Naga MLAs had ever raised the integration issue on the floor of Manipur Assembly. Therefore, for the Nagas of Manipur roaring about the Naga integration outside Manipur while keeping their MLAs meek and mum in the Manipur Legislative Assembly is nothing but double talk.
Over and above, it is disheartening that a Naga Chief Minister of Manipur asserted that not even an inch of the Manipur territory will be budged for the Naga integration. While quoting the name of the former Chief Minister of Manipur, I, indeed, quoted late Yangmaso Shaiza inadvertently instead of late Rishang Keishin, former Chief Minister of Manipur who stated as such. In fact, I have no intention to distort this piece of Naga history. What Mrs. Soso Shaiza, daughter-in-law of late Yangmaso Shaiza has expressed of being hurt is understood. I am sorry for the error.
Whereas, in regard to the status of the Naga integration as of today, the GOI became firm that this issue could not be clubbed with the other agenda of both the NSCN(IM) and of the Working Committee of 7-NNPGs, and both the groups of the Naga negotiators have agreed to respect the position of GOI in their agreements signed with the GOI on 3.8.2015 and 17.11.2017 respectively. Should any solution evolve in the near future, it will, therefore, be without Naga integration.