The Stand Of NNC And FGN On Nagas' Future - Eastern Mirror
Thursday, July 11, 2024
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Op-Ed

The Stand of NNC and FGN on Nagas’ Future

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By EMN Updated: Jun 20, 2024 11:28 pm

The political landscape of the Naga people has been shaped by a long history of struggle for self-determination. Two significant entities in this struggle are the Naga National Council (NNC) and the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN).

Declaration of Naga Independence by the NNC on the 14th of August 1947, the plebiscite of 1951, formation of the Federal Government of Nagaland and the declaration of sovereign republic state on 22nd March 1956. These are crucial in understanding the aspirations and challenges faced by the Naga movement. Nagas are not fighting for Independence from India or from Myanmar, instead we are fighting against the forced occupation of the Nagas territory by India and Myanmar. We were sovereign and Independent even before the advent of the British Empire. The presence of the British people in some part of the Naga areas during the early 19th century and creation of Naga Hills District unilaterally in 1866 by employing some of the nagas for their convenience does not mean that we were under the control of the British government.

The Naga National Council (NNC), established on 2nd February 1946, with Mr. T. Aliba as its President is the first political organisation to represent Naga interests formally. The NNC’s primary objective is to secure the Nagas as a distinct people with the right to self-determination. It seeks to defend the sovereignty of Nagaland.

Thereby, Naga plebiscite of 1951 was conducted, an event that sought the people’s desire to live as a free nation as before and not to join the Indian union. The plebiscite results showed an overwhelming majority—over 99%—in favor of Nagas sovereignty. However, the Indian government did not recognise the Plebiscite and instead imposed draconian laws against the nagas with military might and declared the whole of Nagaland as disturbed area.

After the formation of Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) on March 22, 1956, by the NNC to formalise the governance structure of  independent Nagaland, The FGN aimed to provide a governmental framework that would support the Naga aspiration and defend its sovereignty. The declaration of the FGN marked a significant escalation in the Naga struggle, transitioning from political advocacy to a parallel government that challenged the Indian state’s authority.

The FGN faced considerable opposition from the Indian government, which viewed Naga independence as a threat to India’s sovereignty. This opposition led to prolonged conflict, including military confrontations and widespread unrest in the Naga regions. During this time, some of the functionaries of FGN committed the infamous Shillong Accord in 1975 with the Government of India taking the name of underground organisation. Many senior FGN functionaries along with many naga armies surrendered with arms in the name of underground organisations and began to live in transit camps and peace camps which are maintained by the Government of India under home department. This led to the utter dismay of the Nagas and the Naga leaders who were still in foreign soil. But despite these challenges, FGN continue to function as a symbol of Naga self-governance and resistance under NNC up to this day. Nevertheless, a splinter group rose up against Shillong Accord  and broke away from NNC/FGN and started NSCN under the leadership of Th Muivah, SS Khaplang and Isak Chishi Swu. This started the birth of factionalism among the nagas. Today, because of this division among the Naga society, many many factions cropped up and sadly most of these factions deviated from the main vision and principle of the Nagas freedom movement and started to have a so called political talks with the government of India in order to accept and live under India’s Constitution.

NNC/FGN will never accept to live under the Indian constitution nor will it accept peace talks to accept the Indian constitution. Whoever goes into talks with the GoI  to accept the Indian constitution will become a traitor and will be taken as committed treason and will be outcasted from the Naga society. They will enter into history as traitors who sold the rights of the Nagas for their own selfish gains. Their future generations will surely suffer on the hands of the enemy.

On the other hand, NNC/FGN would like to acknowledge and give thanks to all the organisations who worked and is working tirelessly for the unification of all the naga freedom fighters under one umbrella and one political Institution. NNC/FGN would like to thank particularly the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) who had tirelessly worked for several years to bring all the Naga political groups under one umbrella. Despite all the challenges, intimidation from different agencies or groups and hardships faced by them, FNR stood their ground and spoke the best for the Nagas. Their collective effort in bringing all the Naga national political groups to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the Naga voluntary plebiscite on 16th of May 2024 at the NBCC convention hall in Kohima was indeed a great achievement. By participating in the Plebiscite Day celebration, the NNC/FGN aligns itself with the broader movement for Naga rights and sovereignty, while also contributing to the efforts aimed at reconciliation and unity among the Naga people. Our purpose in attending the program was to accurately present the history of the Naga people and our collective struggle for sovereignty and independence, with the aim of uniting all Naga groups. We reiterated our commitment not to endorse any solutions that deviate from the truth of our unique history but to pursue full sovereignty and independence as declared on the 14th of August 1947 which was validated by the Naga voluntary plebiscite held on the 16th of May 1951. Now, it is up to the general Naga public and all the Naga National Political groups to choose the right way and strengthen the naga movement. It may seem impossible and may take time but NNC/FGN will never compromise short of full sovereignty as in the past.

A.Z. Phizo, who is  regarded as the father of the Naga nation, played a crucial role in shaping the Naga independence movement. Phizo’s ideology was grounded in the belief that the Naga people has an inherent right to self-determination based on their unique cultural and historical identity. He argued that the Nagas are never part of India and that their forced inclusion in the Indian Union is a violation to their fundamental rights.

He advocated for a peaceful but firm stance on Naga sovereignty. He believed in non-violent resistance, diplomacy, and international advocacy to defend Naga independence. Under his leadership, the NNC sought support from international bodies and other countries to recognise Naga’s right to self-determination. Phizo’s ideology emphasised the unity and collective identity of the Naga people, urging them to remain steadfast in their quest for independence despite the formidable challenges. A.Z Phizo however, went silent on the subject of Shillong Accord (an accord committed by some functionaries of NNC/FGN members in the name of underground organizations) to which the top leaders of erstwhile NNC/FGN vehemently condemned him. Today, the NNC/FGN stands committed on the outcome of the 1951 plebiscite and that it strongly standagainst Phizo’s silence on Shillong Accord of 1975, and that NNC/FGN has nothing to do with the Shillong Accord. Those who professes that they are members of NNC/FGN or members of Naga National political groups but continues to be governed , rationed and dictated by the  government of India are actually underground and faction members; they are not NNC/FGN or real Naga national political members.

The stand of the NNC and the FGN, therefore, clings on the outcome of the 1951 plebiscite, nothing more, nothing less. While the path has been fraught with conflict and opposition, these elements highlight the resilience and determination of the Naga movement. The Naga struggle will continue to evolve, the foundational aspirations articulated by the NNC, the FGN, and leaders like Phizo who professes the sovereignty of Nagaland remain central to the Naga identity and their defense for Nagaland’s sovereign state. NNC/FGN will never surrender, its leaders may come and go but the conviction of NNC/FGN will never die until Nagaland’s sovereignty is recognised by the world.

KUKNALIM

Thepushuyi S Keyho

President

Naga National Council

Gen.(Rtd) Thepuneyi Rhakho

President Federal Government of Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: Jun 20, 2024 11:28:41 pm
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