The NSCN-IM is irked by the ‘Office Memorandum’ of July 7, 2020, issued by Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy “with the directive to all the State government employees to fill up the self-declaration form to declare their relation with the Naga underground groups.”
Reacting to this ‘Office Memorandum’, the NSCN-IM said, “This is considered to be one retrograde step worked out insidiously to cripple the Naga political movement and forcefully bring the Naga political issue under the purview of ‘law and order’ issue”.
In a press statement issued to media houses here on Tuesday evening, the NSCN-IM said, “Insulting and demeaning as it is, NSCN denounces the directives which is nothing but desperate attempt to browbeat Naga freedom fighters into submission”. It also said that such a “despicable” directive stands incompatible with the spirit of Indo-Naga peace process.
The press statement of the NSCN-IM then said that the Nagas look up the Naga IAS/NCS officers with highest respect. “But to our astonishment they are nowhere in a position to assert themselves to speak out what is right and what is wrong”, it also said. The NSCN-IM then added that, for all practical purpose “they” have let down the Naga people and forgotten their root and history.
The NSCN-IM then expressed that it is surprising to “observe that Mr. RN Ravi, the Governor of Nagaland state who also happens to be India’s Interlocutor to the Indo-Naga political talks” has come from a high profile IPS background. “He is also the longest serving interlocutor. But all of sudden he has become insensitive by trying to use the Nagas as dumb driven cattle. But Nagas, and NSCN for that matter, will not allow Ravi to have his way to diminish the Naga political issue as mere law and order problem”, the NSCN-IM asserted.
According to the NSCN-IM press statement, the very word “underground groups” is a misnomer and “recklessly” used without taking into consideration the literal meaning. The NSCN-IM also said that “underground groups” are outlawed organizations. “But in Naga context there are no outlawed organizations operating in Nagaland. If Nagaland Governor Mr. RN Ravi has taken NSCN to be an underground organization then how come he signed the historic Framework Agreement with NSCN General Secretary Mr. Th. Muivah as his co-author, guided and supervised by Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi in the presence of high dignitaries from India and NSCN?” the press note asked. “Certainly, Ravi has reduced the most revered Prime Minister of India Mr. Modi and top leaders of the Government of India to a mere laughing stock,” the NSCN-IM added.
The NSCN-IM then mentioned that the Indo-Naga political talk has passed into the hands of six Prime Ministers starting from PV Narasimha Rao. “None of them denied the political legitimacy of the Naga political struggle under the banner of NSCN. But Ravi’s outlandish assault against the NSCN by using the terminology ‘underground group’ has only insulted the six former Prime Ministers of India,” the NSCN-IM also said.
According to the NSCN-IM, during the time of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Kohima in November, 2003, “he openly announced in his public meeting that mistakes had been committed against the Nagas in the past, giving a clear indication that a new beginning had begun under the BJP led government”. It then added, “Nagas were overjoyed to hear such assuring words”.
The press statement then said that “calling NSCN” the wrong way is not only impolitic but exposed the ignorance and insincerity of the Government of India”. The NSCN-IM also said that the Government of India to be caught on the wrong foot after more than 23 years of Indo-Naga political talks “speaks volumes of its sinister design in the making”. The NSCN-IM also said that, in the political history of Naga people “if NSCN or NNC under whose banner the Naga political struggle started are illegal, then all Nagas irrespective of age or gender are outlaws”.
According to the NSCN-IM, during the tumultuous period that “NSCN went through”, it was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “This ban was, however, lifted on November 18, 2002, five years after the ceasefire, in order to pave the way for a more meaningful peace process. All along, NSCN has been sparing no effort to bring about Naga political solution that is honorable and acceptable,” it added.
The statement then said that the history of Naga political movement is clear before the Government of India and before the world as well. “Ever since Naga political movement was launched, more than 2 lakhs people have given their lives for the political cause of the Naga people. The first Indo-Naga Ceasefire of 1964 brought about Indo-Naga political talk at the Prime Minister level”, it reminded. “The talk, however, failed as Nagas stood their ground on the issue of sovereignty”. According to the NSCN-IM, it was blood, sweat and tears all the way again. It further said that Naga political history cannot be erased at the whims of Government of India. “Needless to say, from day one since Naga movement started it has been a mass based movement all the way as every section of Naga people were involved and every single Naga employees, high and low played their role to meet the demand of the situation and keep the fire of Naga political movement burning. Indeed, there may not be a single family among the Nagas who is not linked with Naga political movement in one way or the other,” the NSCN-IM statement added.
It then stated that the Naga political issue is not new in the record of UNO (United Nations Organization). It also said that the declaration of Naga independence and the result of the 1951 Naga National Plebiscite with 99.9 % vote in favor of Naga sovereignty were cabled to the UN Secretary General and UN Office in Delhi. “NSCN put on record that Naga political issue has passed the scrutiny of UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ Organization) having thirty nine (39) members and UNHRC (United Nations Human Right Commission) and thereby granted free access to use their good offices to enlighten on the righteousness of the Naga political issue before the world. If Naga political struggle is illegal UNPO would not have given a membership to NSCN nor UNHRC given platform to the Nagas,” further said the NSCN-IM statement.
According to the press release, it will amount to undermining of Naga political issue “if such profiling of Naga employees is carried out, sidelining the pending issues that carried the sentiment of the Naga people, accumulated over the years”.
It then said that the Naga history is open before the world. “That the spirit of Naga political struggle which has gone through fire and water was never dampened when the going gets tough and even when driven to the point of brinkmanship. Any such situation when force upon the Nagas only help to spark the fire of nationalism to a greater height. The God given political right of the Naga people cannot be simply throttled,” it further asserted.
The statement also said that it would be in the “fitness of things to tell the Nagaland state administration that it should not be carried away by such unpalatable policy that is targeted to suppress the Naga issue at this belated juncture”. According to the statement, the “blood of being Nagas should not be sacrificed at the altar of political suppression as played out by the Government of India which has gone all the way torenege on the Framework Agreement (FA)”. It added by saying that what Ravi is doing is all directed towards undoing the FA that was signed with much fanfare under the glare of the world.
According to the NSCN-IM, the Naga people believe in peaceful co-existence with India as incorporated in the Framework Agreement. “We believe in respecting the problem of India as much as India respects the problem of the Naga people. The FA reflects this spirit. And NSCN expects this to be implemented in letter and spirit. It is, however, seen that Indo-Naga political talks, after overcoming all the hurdles is heading to become another political flattery,” it added.
According to the statement, history of “political flattery” is showing its ugly face. “But Naga people will take the stand not to be cowed down by such bigoted policy. Significantly, frustration and deceit is being brazenly displayed by Government of India after 23 years of peace process,” it added.