Indian Government recognises uniqueness of Naga case
A historic breakthrough has been made by the NSCN and the Government of India. The representative of the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland met in Amsterdam from 9 July - 11 July, 2002 for peace talks. It was mutually decided that there is clear evidence reflecting the uniqueness of the Naga’s case.
Over the past 50 years the Naga’s have taken a continued
stand for their independence. At the time of India’s declaration of independence
from the British Throne a Naga delegation met with Mahatma Gandhi with a request
for their independence from India. Gandhi agreed to this and stated that “
the Naga’s have every right to be independent.” However with the
coming into power of Jawalal Nehru this agreement made with Gandhi was no longer
Although the nine point agreement entitled the Naga’s administrative authority over themselves, Nehru never complied to this and the agreement was completely ignored. This was the beginning of years of struggle for the Naga’s right to self-determination and independence from India, a recognized independence, for the truth is that Nagaland has never been a part of India.
In 1950 when the Union of the Republic of India was formed, almost all joined under Gandhi’s terms; however, the Naga’s refused to join, they were not a part of India and they wished it to remain so.
The Naga’s are a unique people, different from India,
with their own language, culture and religion. India used harsh measures to
weaken the resolve of the Naga people, but to no avail. Although their villages
were burned, some up to twenty times, and they were driven into the jungle,
they still remained firm in their stance to be recognized as separate from India.
After years of this, finally, in 1994 India came forward and stated that a military solution was no longer possible. At this point the Government of India asked the Naga’s to come forward for peace talks. These talks were mostly treated as law and order issues, with no real recognition of the Naga’s right to independence that was clearly given them by Mahatma Gandhi. The Naga’s demanded that the talks be unconditional and would not settle for terms within the frame of the Indian Constitution. The Naga’s stated: We will honor your word, we will certainly honor it, yet we must make our position quite clear, “The Naga’s will never accept the forced occupation of their land by Indian forces, we will have a negotiated settlement only.” Three points have remained a foundation for the structure of these negotiations. The people of Nagaland will not relinquish their right as a people, their faith in God nor their Social Democratic form of Government.
The fact that the Naga’s have never been a part of India and that they were given their independence by the Father of India, Mahatma Gandhi, was recalled at the peace negotiations in Amsterdam. For the first time in the history of the Naga’s struggle for independence the Indian Government has acknowledged these facts.
In a joint communiqué signed in Amsterdam 11 July, 2002
between The General Secretary of the NSCN, Th. Muivah, and The Representative
of the Government of India, K. Padmanabhaiah, the Government of India formally
recognized the unique history and situation of the Naga people. It was agreed
that talks should continue in an accommodative and forward-looking manner so
that a lasting and honorable solution can be arrived at.
Prime Minister Vajpayee has invited the Chairman and the General Secretary of the NSCN to come to India to continue peace dialogues at their earliest convenience. Both parties are encouraged to proceed in this direction. It was mutually decided to extend the cease-fire for another year beginning from 1 August, 2002.
In a comment made by Mr. TH. Muivah he stated:
The joint communiqué of the 11 July 2002, Amsterdam is significant for both parties in that it officially recognizes the very point that is indispensable to the real start of the political negotiation. It is the first realistic step ever taken towards working out an honorable solution to the long-drawn-out Indo-Naga issue. For it is futile to talk of solution without recognizing the facts of history. It is futile to give efforts so long as truth is kept negated; it is futile too, to seek solution despising genuine aspiration of the people concerned. The guts to face realities are therefore essential to solve problems. We praise the Indian leadership for the right step taken. We see the shrewdness and far-sightedness in the recognition of “the unique history and situation of the Naga’s,” although it has taken too much time. It is a broad-based agreement. With this, we feel, we can now get off to a more realistic start.
NAGA PEACE TALKS PUBLICATION
Four years of the ceasefire agreement between the Government
of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim: Promises and Pitfalls
Written by Ram Narayan Kumar with Laxmi Murthy for the Civil Society inititative on the Naga Peace Process, was published in Delhi this year. The book outlines the process of the peace talks and gives a full background of Indo-Naga relations, dating to colonial times. It provides excellent detailed background information for anyone wishing to understand the current situation. To order a copy contact: