Kohima: The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) is deeply anguished at the troubling move by the Indian
Army to raise an Indian Army Morung in the Naga Heritage Village. This act, ostensibly done to
“pay tribute to valiant soldiers” has ignited a wave of outrage and disbelief among the Naga
people and human rights advocates. The timing of this event is particularly distressing, given the
unresolved and harrowing events surrounding the 2021 Hornbill Festival.
It may be noted that the Hornbill Festival was abruptly abandoned in 2021 following the tragic
massacre of 14 innocent Naga civilians in Oting, Mon by the Indian Army. Despite a government
commission identifying 30 Indian army personnel as responsible for this heinous act, no criminal
proceedings have been initiated against them even two years after the incident. This failure of
justice intensifies the pain and frustration felt by the Naga people.
Compounding this grievance is the continued enforcement of the Armed Forces Special Powers
Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, which granted the Indian Army sweeping powers and facilitated the
aforementioned massacre. The absence of accountability for the perpetrators raises serious
concerns about justice and human rights in the region. The scars left by these events are still
fresh, and the wounds remain open.
In this context, the Naga Students’ Federation unequivocally declares the Indian Army’s decision
to raise an Indian Army Morung in the Naga Heritage Village as not only insensitive but also a
direct affront to the established cultural norms of the Naga people. The attempt to showcase
culture and heritage in this manner rings hollow and appears to be a misguided effort to distract
from the unresolved grievances of the Naga community.
Further, the Federation is appalled and sees no rationale as to why the concerned departments
have allocated the site to the Indian Army in the very first place without due regard of the
cultural appropriation and insensitivity to the deeply rooted traditions and values of the Naga
The Federation demands that the term “Indian Army Morung”, as published in local dailies,
must be immediately replaced and calls upon the Indian government to respect the sentiments of
the Naga community and rectify this situation promptly.
Furthermore, the NSF urges the Indian government to address the longstanding demand of the
Naga people for repeal of AFSPA in the Naga homeland, and immediately initiate criminal
proceedings against those responsible for the 2021 Oting massacre as an essential step towards
justice and healing.
Press release of the Naga Students’ Federation, Dec 4, 2023.