72nd anniversary of Martyrs’ Day observed at Mao

"The presence of the nation stands on the foundation that has been laid on the lives of the freedom fighters. These martyrs sacrificed their lives to ensure that the future generations get freedom from chains of slavery, subjugation and exploitation."

Senapati: Remembering the supreme sacrifices made by the patriots of 1948, the 72nd anniversary of Martyrs’ Day was observed at Song Song Youth Club Hall, Mao. The program was organised by the Mao Council under the aegis of the United Naga Council. Participants laid wreaths at Island, Mao Gate where a memorial stone was erected in 2005 in memory of the 3 patriots namely, (L) Asiisii Hepuni, (Punanamei village), (L) Modo Kholi, (Kalinamei village) and (L) Mahriili Lohrii, (Kalinamei village).

S. Daiho, President, Mao Council while acknowledging the supreme sacrifice made by the patriots for the rights of the Nagas stated in his welcome note that the aspirations of the Nagas could be fulfilled through their sacrifice. The cause they had with stood by the 3 patriots would remain indelible in the annals of forging the Naga legitimate rights, distinctive identity and self determination.

Bringing the solidarity messages, Finance Secy. Of the United Naga Council, Athili Kayina while paying tribute to the martyrs said that people were gathered to regain their consciousness of the event that took place on this day some 71 years ago. The UNC leader stated that “The presence of the nation stands on the foundation that has been laid on the lives of the freedom fighters. These martyrs sacrificed their lives to ensure that the future generations get freedom from chains of slavery, subjugation and exploitation.”

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Photo: L.D. Samuel Pao for UT

Joseph Adani, President, All Naga Students Association, Manipur (ANSAM) in his speech stated that the struggle of Naga people for self-determination has been a long journey that has claimed thousands of precious lives and uncountable sacrifices. He mentioned that most of such sacrificesrifices went unnoticed yet some of them found their way in the history books and are even remembered till this day with great pride and honour as the people continue their struggle to achieve their common hopes and dreams. The historic day of 27 August brings an immense sense of patriotism to all the Nagas especially who are in the southern part which emerged to be pioneering the political movement for its freedom. He stated that the day was also observed as “Naga Unification Day” in 2006 by the UNC and the Naga Hoho. While calling a great moment and honour to remember the brave heroes who boldly gave even their lives for the cause of the nation, Joseph Adani recalled the luminaries like A. Daiho and his colleagues who pioneered the Naga National League (NNL) in September, 1946 to bring together all the Naga tribes under one administrative unit. Under their visionary leadership, the NNL submitted an MoU to Sardar Patel, the then Dy. Prime Minister of India on 24 January, 1948 demanding integration of contiguous Naga areas under one adminstrative unit.

Subsequently, the NNL suitted representation to the ministry of state Govt of India on March 9, 1948 stating a “No Tax Campaign” to be launched due to no response from the Govt of India and innumerable tactics of Manipur State to suppress the demands of the Naga people. Thus, “No Tax Campaign” was launched on this day when Rajkumar Priyobrata Singh was the chief minister of Manipur. “No House Tax Payment” to the Govt of Manipur by the Nagas inhabiting Manipur and they on their own violation decided to pay the house tax to the D.C. of Naga Hill District in Assam in 1948. In defiance to the Manipur Govt. Tax Policy, the Mao Maram Nagas under the leadership of A. Daiho protested against the illegal tax on potato growers that led to organise a mass rally along NH-39 demanding “Merger of Naga areas of Manipur with the Naga Hills District and complete withdrawal of tax levied by the Maharaja of Manipur on Mao local products exported beyond Mao Gate.” The Naga Student leader stated that the commemoration of the historic day will continue to inspire and energize the Naga people in defending their rights, land and history.

Asha Wungnam, President, Naga Women’s Union (NWU) in her solidarity message while paying respect and honour to the martyrs stated that it is a landmark in the history of political movement of the Nagas in Manipur. The women leader stated that the Naga National League (NNL) had their strong desire to merge with the Naga Hills District of Assam through “Boycott” for preparation of electoral roll in Naga areas. The Nagas in Manipur boycotted the election and thereafter launched the “No Tax Campaign” which was spearheaded by A. Daiho, (Mao) and N. Modoli, (Poumai) as the President and Secretary respectively of the NNL. On this day the 27th August in 1948, Manipur Maharaja Budhachandra sent a combined force of 4th Assam Rifles and Manipur Police to arrest A. Daiho and other leaders who were equipped with machine guns and fired indiscriminately at the volunteers and students who blocked the road leading to the residence of A. Daiho, killing the 3 patriots while injuring many. The NWU calls upon all the Nagas to render unflinching support for the Naga movement for self-determination based on the history of political rights of the Nagas.

Delegates from the UNC, ANSAM, NWU, Naga People’s Organization, Mao Council, Mao Students Union and Mao Women’s delegates attended the program.

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