Senapati: “Operation Bluebird” (called as Onae Reh Dah in local Oinam dialect) of 1987 was a nightmare that occurred in broad daylight, a nightmare that did not occur in dreamland but at Oinam Hill village in Senapati district.
The operation was considered a hellish experience for the victims, a horrific drama for the eye witnesses, a melancholic melody for singers, a tragic novel for writers, a sad story for the listeners and shocking news to the whole world. The 35th Remembrance Day of infamous Operation Bluebird of 1987 was held at Khongdei Khuman village on Saturday which was organised by the Poumai Naga Union (PNU) under the aegis of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR). The program was graced by Neingulo Krome, Secretary General, NPMHR as honoured guest.
“Memories re-living” was displayed by the villagers depicting how Assam Rifles destroyed Naga houses and churches, how Indian army tortured and killed many innocent and poor Naga villagers, how Indian army buried Nagas alive and left them to die a slow death, and how Indian army raped Naga women, took every spectator led to tears at the beginning of the program.
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In his keynote address, D Dailord Pao, President, PNU stated that the day was observed to fight against injustice and to renounce violence. “It was Poumai community in particular and Nagas in general that experienced the cruellest experience. Although decades have passed, the remains are still very fresh in our minds,” he said adding, “We are gathered here not to cherish the enmity against our enemy but enlightened of the faith that we are human being as much as others do.” The President also sought to remind oneself of how one’s rights have been violated, of how the predecessors, elders and leaders have suffered for the cause of the people called to have gathered to commit oneself and to fight against injustice.
Joyson Mazamo, Convenor, NPMHR, South in his “Denial of Justice” statement mentioned that Operation Bluebird of 1987 left a trail of destructions and mayhem unimaginable. The NPMHR with the support of many likeminded individuals and organizations who believe in the rule of law reportedly filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Guwahati High Court on behalf of Oinam and other affected villages.
The petition before the court amongst others reportedly sought action against the Indian security forces for murder, manslaughter, infliction of grievous injuries, rape & sexual harassment, arson, looting & theft, wanton destructions of public & private properties including school buildings, illegal evictions, raids & seizures, illegal detentions, arrests & forced labour and desecration of religious places, etc. These incidents were documented and placed before the court and due process for final hearing has reportedly been initiated. To those who have borne the brunt of unimaginable atrocities and experienced the horror, NPMHR stated to empathize with them all and share their pain.
Th Muivah, Ato Kilonser, GPRN/NSCN in his solidarity message stated to give his revolutionary salute to all victims, families, people of Oinam Hill village and surrounding villages who faced one of the most brutal and cowardly acts ever meted to the Naga people during the infamous “Operation Bluebird” launched by the Indian armed forces. While expressing his sadness, Th Muivah in his statement lamented the fact that India and its celebrated judiciary refused to acknowledge the Naga people screaming blue murder. With or without justice from the Indian judiciary, he believes the incident stands as a landmark to the unimaginable atrocities that have been rampantly executed against the innocent Nagas.
While calling the 9th July, 1987 as a victory day for the Naga people, Ato Kilonser, NSCN/GPRN stated to have brought victory in the form of resilience of the Naga people to not submit to the Indian forces, and also went on to say that “the sufferings and toils of the villagers will never go in vain but the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs will be honoured by upholding the Naga National principle.”
Recalling the brutal atrocities meted out to the villagers, Khongdei Khuman villagers stated that their village was one of the worst affected villages during the operation bluebird. If all the stories have to be written, it could make up a school text book. Food and drinks were also reportedly denied at concentrated camps and 5 innocent villagers succumbed to injuries during the operation.
Survivor victims from Oinam Hill village in their testimony stated that the victims are disheartened without justice being delivered to them at the earliest possible. The local ground at the village was stated to be the ground where villagers were detained and tortured during those days and seeing the ground again still brings back fresh memories of those days that made them shed tears. Another victim from Khongdei Khuman village recalled how Indian armed forces came and imposed curfew, detained and harassed them ever since the next day of the incident. He was reportedly bound both limbs and given electric shock on his face where all his teeth are gone by now.
Mourning filled the air due to torture and harassment meted out to the villagers during those days adding survivors of victims becoming fewer and fewer each passing year due to the atrocities.
Neingulo Krome, Secretary General, NPMHR in his speech stated the NPMHR had filed a petition to the Supreme Court of India for all the inhumane sufferings in Nagaland and Naga areas. People were taken away, never brought back, death bodies of many have not been found till date. Rapes, murders, maimed for life, tortures and many similar cases have been recorded that have meted out to the Naga people. The testimonies of the Operation Bluebird victims reported recorded for 10,000 pages where justice is not delivered till date.
In 1995, PV Narashimha Rao, the then prime Minister of India looked out Naga leaders to bring peace in the land and that’s how ceasefire came in 1997. Even during the ceasefire, hundreds of Nagas were killed. So many Oinam Hill related incidents were recorded in the past where there will be no Naga family who has not received the brunt of the Indian army.
The Human Rights activist had reportedly spoken at different global seminars and programs in the past about stories of Nagas in India how their rights were betrayed in different ways starting from even before Indian Independence. The activist is saddened because of the divisions among the Nagas when they are at the top level to bring honourable and acceptable solution.
Solidarity messages from Naga Hoho, NSF, UNC, NWU, ANSAM, NPO and SDWA were brought during the program. Apart from different CSO leaders, village chairmen & secretaries, women chairpersons & secretaries and youth leaders attended the program.