Appealing for unity in order to find a common ground for Naga political solution, Naga Public Organisation (NPO) from Myanmar, Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council (RNPC) from Assam, United Naga Council (UNC) from Manipur and Arunachal Naga TCL Hoho said that the choice before the Nagas clearly is to talk to each other and find a common ground to lend support to a position that realistically constitutes “our non-negotiable position for an inclusive, honorable and acceptable solution based on the unique history and situation of the Nagas”.
A joint press statement issued on Friday signed by Rev. Isaac Jojo, the secretary general of NPO (Myanmar), Solomon Rengma, the president of RNPC (Assam), L. Wanglet Lowangcha, the co-ordinator of Arunachal Naga TCL Hoho and S. Kho John, the president of UNC (Manipur) said the Nagas as an entity are like one body with many parts and each part is equally important for the well-being of all other parts. “If one part suffers, the whole body will be affected. Hence, piecemeal political solutions in the guise of securing constitutional rights without securing a common political future will not heal the land and our people,” the joint statement added.
The four Naga organizations then said that, currently the Nagas seem to be living in the ‘caged societies’ planted and nurtured by the ideological, organizational and politico-administrative territorial divides aggravated by the tendency to nurture an overriding loyalty to one’s own ethnic and tribal communities. They also said that, despite the tall proclamation that the Nagas are a separate entity, a nation that merits to be left to itself as a sovereign nation- state, “we have not been able to transcend these boundaries and the associated world views engendered by a desire to protect the interest of our respective ethnic/tribal groups”.
The four Naga bodies then said this penchant for nurturing an overriding loyalty to our respective tribes/ethnic groups based on administrative units, different “Naga political groups” and organizations has led to the iron caging of the Naga society. They further said leveraging these cages of divisive mentalities, the hawkish elements within and without have weaponized and exploited the centrifugal forces at work as instruments to relegate the Nagas to mere prisoners setting them up against each other as mutual enemies/strangers with an unpredictable and distrustful dilemma.
The joint statement then said that the dilemma faced by the Nagas as prisoners of their own making is that each party, tribe and organization is tempted to think that it is better off working against each other rather than working together against the adverse circumstances. “But in doing so, each of the Naga groups ends up worst off than they would have been if only they had cooperated with each other and not defect to work against each other”. The joint statement further said, “The failures of the past agreements and accords also corroborate the truths of these dilemmas that led groups to zealously guard their own group’s so called rational self-interests and choices which indeed have turned out to be the most irrational acts leading the Naga society into the present-day crises. The Nagas cannot afford to forget the past blunders and repeat it again”.
The four bodies then said unity is unmistakably the earnest desire of every Naga soul. “However, unfortunately we have hypocritically taken ‘unity’ as synonymous with ‘uniformity’. While unity accepts differences necessitating the need for democratic dialogue, open-mindedness and mutual respects to work towards the recognition of common goal and the greater good of all as the fundamental basis for unity; uniformity involves an imposition of one’s will and preferences on others without space for negotiation and compromise,” they added.
They four Naga organizations then said as a body that stands firmly on the foundation of Naga political movement and “our historical rights, we believe that Nagas are ‘one’ and the only way forward is to settle our differences through dialogue within the Naga family and to be unified in common purpose by agreeing to converge at a non-negotiable position for recognition of the identity of the Nagas as embodied in the Flag, Constitution and our allegiance to the Naga ancestral homeland”.
The joint statement of the four Naga bodies then said, “With utmost sincerity, we appeal to the 14 tribes of Nagaland to consider all Nagas irrespective of boundaries as ‘equal stakeholders’ as they have sacrificed so much for the common Naga cause”.
The statement also said any solution that confines itself exclusively to the present state of Nagaland would have far reaching ramifications in the future. The joint statement further said, “The October 15, 2020 Consultative Meeting convened by the Chief Minister of Nagaland on Naga Political Issue cannot be considered as an inclusive exercise of taking collective opinion since Naga Hoho was denied the opportunity to present the expressed views and opinions of the Naga people across the borders”.
The statement then said the Nagas’ struggle for freedom as a “collective birthright is binding on all of us” and it should be revered as sacrosanct, bigger and above all the Naga organizations and their leaders. The statement also said the time for self-imposed imprisonment from within and without is over. “We strongly believe in unity for an inclusive and honorable Naga political solution and in this journey of common hope, the Naga Hoho will sincerely continue to act as a facilitator to work towards finding a common ground for all the stakeholders”, the joint statement added.
Finally, the four Naga organizations stated, “We, the undersigned on behalf of the Nagas from different regions and states fervently appeal the tribes in the present state of Nagaland to re-affiliate under the umbrella of Naga Hoho and strengthen its platform in the best interest of Naga people as a whole”. They added, “All Naga tribes and their frontal organizations irrespective of their sizes and borders have contributed immeasurably and we believe that they are all equal partners in our common quest for the Nagas right to self-determination”.