Rich tribute paid to Naga Martyrs of ‘No Tax Campaign’ at Mao


Senapati: The Mao Council under the aegis of the United Naga Council (UNC) had observed the 74th anniversary of “Naga Martyrs’ Day” at Mao Gate under Senapati district on Saturday. The day is observed every year considering that it is a landmark in the history of political movement of the Nagas in Manipur in particular and all Nagas in general, the observation of the day was taken up from 2005 by the United Naga Council with the Mao Council as the local organizing committee. The day marked the event when the Assam Rifles killed different volunteers and students when people of the region took up on “No Tax Campaign” in Naga hill areas.

Dr. Saheni Loli, President, Mao Council in his keynote address stated that Nagas in Manipur launched the “No Tax Campaign,” by refusing to pay the annual House Tax to the Govt of Manipur and under the aegis of the Naga National League, had submitted their annual House Tax to Charles Pawsey, DC of Naga Hills of Assam at Kohima. It was a means of putting pressure on the Indian Govt for securing the merger of the Nagas in Manipur with the Naga Hills district. It was also an act of defiance against the state under which, the Nagas of Manipur had been placed without their consent. The Manipur Maharaja sent a contingent of Assam Rifles to Mao Gate on 27th August, 1948 to arrest A. Daiho, the President of the NNL. Assam Rifles took position in and around Mao Inspection Bungalow and indiscriminately fired at the volunteers/students of the Mao-Maram Tribal Council (now Mao, Maram, Poumai, Thangal and Upper Zeliang) who were blocking the road leading to the residence of A. Daiho.

In the firing incident, three volunteers and students namely Asiisii Hepuni of Punanamei (Volunteer), Mahriili Lohrii of Kalinamei (student) and Modoli Kholi of Kalinamei (student) were killed on the spot. Two volunteers succumbed to injuries namely Daikho Hesho of Chowainamei Khullen (volunteer) and Obow Adani of Punanamei (volunteer). Many other male and female volunteers and students received bullet injuries and brutal onslaught of the Assam Rifles and Manipur Police and the peaceful demonstrators were dispersed where the two leaders including A. Daiho of Song Song village and N. Modoli of Tunggam village along with Kaikho Dili of Tadubi and Athikho Sibo of Song Song were arrested. All the dead bodies, the injured and arrested leaders were reportedly herded away to Imphal in the Assam Rifles convoy. The Naga brethren from the neighbouring Naga hill districts came to show their solidarity with the Nagas of Manipur trailed the convoy till Kangpokpi. Though the campaign was forcibly suppressed, the seeds of political aspiration sown during that critical time never die.

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S. Kho John, President, United Naga Council stated that the event marked for what the foregone leaders had done for the people and their land 74 years ago who urged the younger generations to live up in the footprints they had lived. Movements reportedly came up simultaneously both in Nagaland and Manipur. In view of the movements taken place in the past at different places, the UNC leader stated that the Naga movement is very unique. With different developments taken place to Indo-Naga political issue, the UNC leader is happy to learn the progress that has been taking place. The UNC President then added that the Govt of India cannot escape without bringing an honourable solution to the vexed Indo-Naga political issue.

The NSF in their solidarity message paid homage to the martyrs for their contributions whose martyrdom had renewed the vision, hope and certainly for a promised Naga future. The gathering of the event was stated to be a homage and prayer offered to all Nagas who had contributed selflessly towards the Naga cause. It is their joint solidarity of sharing in the grieve at the irreparable loss countless sons and daughters, parents, friends and loved ones whose innocent lives were lost in the Naga people’s search for peace and a dignified future.

Samson Rimai, Vice President, Naga Hoho called the movement to be important in the history that expressed the wishes of the Naga people to integrate the Naga areas and live under one political roof so that, the land and identity of the Naga people be safeguarded forever for posterity.

AC. Thotso, General Secretary, ANSAM lauded the people of Shepoumaramth who stood up boldly in defence of the illegal tax imposed in the hills. ANSAM also salute the Naga martyrs and all the victims who bore the atrocities perpetrated by the adversaries at that point of time.

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Solomon Arow, President, NPO while lauding the martyrs stated that they fought for the Nagas as well as for the hill people who urged to observe the event with all stakeholders including other hill districts. The NPO President also stated that the history could be very resourceful to the younger generations on why and how such martyrs day is observed who took a bold decision to denounce the hill house tax and who gave their time, energy, wisdom and everything for the rights of the hill people.

Rev. A. Puni, Member, Collective Leadership, NSCN, GPRN gave the update on Indo-Naga Peace Talk at the later part of the program.

A one minute silent prayer was offered to the martyrs in honour of them at the beginning of the program. Naga Hoho, NSF, NMA, UNC, NWU, ANSAM, NPMHR, TPO, NPO, SDSA, SDWA, Mao Council, Mao National workers, MSU, MNWWA and MYO laid wreaths at the monolith of Naga Martyrs Park, Mao Gate.

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