Nagalim Position Paper
Author’s name : GPRN Published by : Naga Support Group-United Kingdom
Date published : 12/10/2007
For over half a century, the Naga people have been seeking justice against human rights abuses perpetrated by their giant neighbours India and Burma who forcibly occupied their land. As an implementation of self-determination in an internationally accepted manner is perhaps the best means of peaceful conflict resolution available to the world today, the Nagas wish to resolve the current dispute via peaceful negotiation in accordance with international law. In recent times, self-determination has been successfully claimed by nations and peoples in the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, East Timor and Montenegro.
Nagas have been participating in all the wonderful endeavours of the Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination (PNSD) since its inception. They are happy to be associated with the PNSD, inasmuch as it is a cross-party group which aims to promote peaceful conflict resolution by implementation of the right to self-determination in accordance with international law. It recognizes that self-determination is the most basic human rights, without which other human rights can be readily abused. It also seeks to end human rights abuses which often used as a means of crushing legitimate right to self-determination of peoples and nations.
Nagas present this paper to let the world know how their country had been occupied and randomly divided by the aggressors. Nagas firmly believe that all these injustices and cross violations of human rights committed against the Nagas by India and Burma will end soon. Nagas must fully exercise the right to self-determination.
Name and Governance
The name of the Naga Homeland is called Nagalim. It is a sovereign and independent country, free from any alien power. The Naga people have been administering their government since time immemorial (IWGIA 1986: 236). They have their own socio-political system based on their political philosophy, social values and culture. According to some British anthropologists, Nagas practiced the purest form of democracy.
Nagalim, a contiguous area of about 120,000 sq. km., lies between the longitudes 92.5� E and 97.5� E and latitudes 23.5� N and 28.5� N. It is a land-locked country bounded by China in the north, India in the west, and Burma in the east and south. Indian-occupied Nagalim is arbitrarily divided and placed in different administrative units namely, Asom, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland states whereas Burmese-occupied portion of Nagalim is divided into two parts and placed under Kachin State and Sagaing Division.
Some important towns in Nagalim are, Chandel, Changlang, Dimapur , Homalin, Htamanti, Khamti, Kiphiri, Kohima, Lahe, Leishi, Longleng, Mokokchung, Mon, Namyung, Peren, Phek, Senapati, tamenglong, Tirap, Tuensang, Ukhrul, Wokha, Zunheboto, etc.
Snow-clad Mount Saramati (3841 m) is the highest peak in Nagalim. Mount Shirui (2835 m) is famous for its Shirui Lily which bagged the prestigious merit prize in the 1948 Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show in London. The Dzukou Valley (2438 m) remains covered with a carpet of wild flowers in summer and is considered a Trekker’s Paradise.
Though rains are heavy in summer, Nagalim is blessed with healthy climate throughout the year. It has a diversity of forest types, ranging from tropical evergreen to temperate evergreen and the coniferous. Nagalim constitutes a meeting ground for the sub-Himalayan, Indian, Chinese and Burmese type of fauna. Among the ritually most valued species is Mithun/Bos gaurus which is the national animal of Nagalim.
Nagalim is predominantly an agricultural country. Most of the people rely on agriculture for their livelihood. The Naga system of agriculture is quite elaborate and majority of their festival have agricultural as their themes (Kaping 1998: 188). Nagalim possesses rich forest and mineral resources, including petroleum, coal, limestone, marble, chromites nickel, uranium etc.
Slash-and-burn cultivation and irrigated rice terraces are the most widely used forms of agriculture. Principle food crops include rice, maize, millet and tea. Nagalim is very rich in varieties of fruits and vegetables which are available throughout the year.
Nagas are racially a distinct people of Mongoloid stock. Though straddling the border between Hindu India and Buddhist Burma, the Nagas have remained all of from both these culture-spheres (Kaping 2002: 10). They are democratic and socialistic people, with a free and independent outlook.
Nagas are brave, honest, industrious, humorous, self-reliant, and community-oriented and God fearing people. They believe in the principle of equality: apart from respect for age, there is no discrimination between the rich and the poor or the male and the female. Nagalim with a population of about four million people, has forty-seven recognized communities.
Nagalim is of the Tibeto-Chinese family and Tibeto-Burman sub-family. Though each community has its own language, English is the official language of the nation. Nagamese is also widely used as the medium of communication among the Naga people.
Ninety five per cent of the Nagas are Christians. The first successful American missionary, Rev E.W. Clark arrived in Nagalim in 1872 followed by Rev C.D. King in 1886 and Rev William Pettigrew in 1896. Nagas are deeply indebted to those Christian missionaries and pioneers, and the Government of the People�s Republic of Nagalim (GPRN) underscores this fact: �The propagation of Christianity by the American missionaries along with the imparting of education by opening missionary schools gave the greatest contribution to the rising of the Naga society. It was through them that the heathen Nagas learned of the existence of the Absolute Reality and the better way of living. Nagas could comprehend the meaning life has and they won�t anymore part with it. They now felt blessed though endless hurdles remained. Nagas would be forever grateful to them� (GPRN 1992: 2).
Brief Political History
Naga political history may be divided into three periods:
Early period: It may be called the Golden era during which every Naga village, like the Greek city state, was sovereign and independent politically, economically, socially and culturally. They were also closely interrelated. The socio-political system of the Nagas is based on the democratic and socialistic culture.
British period: The merit of this period is the spiritual and mental enlightenment. The demerit is the division of the Nagas under the British colonial policy of �divide and rule�, placing the Naga people in different administrative units. The Nagas never consented, and this policy has been the root cause of this political conflict.
Indian period: This period is marked with social unrest, armed resistance, violation of human rights, fighting, bombardment of villages and killings in all Naga areas. Sanjoy Hazarika, a prominent writer broadly outlined three methods adopted by the Government of India in dealing with movements for self-determination like that of the Nagas. He writes, �Policies towards the Nagas and other pro-independent groups seem to revolve around three factors: brute force to crush the physical capacity to resist, a flood of funds to soften the resolve of indigenous groups and a fierce campaign to portray them as renegades and misguided elements� (Raising and Makunga 2006: 1).
It was in 1832 that the British colonial forces intruded into the Naga territory, where the Nagas put up tough resistance in defence of their rights, identity, culture, and territory for forty-eight years. However, the British forces finally occupied a part of Naga areas, but the rest remained uncontrolled and unadministered. Nagas are by nature loyal to their commitments and friendly with both friends and foes, whenever they have entered into an agreement, but there are no written treaties or agreements by which the sovereignty of the Nagas was transferred to the British.
It is obvious that people who join the national independent movement are called freedom fighters. In other words, Naga freedom fighters are not terrorists; theirs is a resistance movement. They resorted to armed confrontation only in defence of their right, territory, culture, history, people and socio-political system. However, such fighting is confined only to combatants. Gen F.A Vyas of the Indian army said, �Naga insurgents never adopted terror tactics� (Manipuronline 2006). Murkot Ramuny, the notorious Indian Security Commissioner who created a reign of terror in Nagalim for many years, stated in his writing, �The Nagas do not kill civilians� (ibid.). The Government of India has officially declared that the National Socialist Council of Nagalim, NSCN, is not a terrorist organization (ibid.).
The claim that India inherited Nagalim from British India has no historical basis at all. A people are not commodities to be inherited by others. Land and culture are part and parcel of a people. Only a part of the Naga area was occupied by the British, whereas the rest remained as free as ever. Besides, the occupied Naga area was directly ruled by the British Crown. No laws passed by the British India were applicable to the Nagas, who governed their land by themselves according to their own customary laws. Moreover, there was no treaty between the British and the Nagas wherein the Nagas had ever surrendered their sovereignty. The Nagas even declared their independence on 14 Aug.1947, a day ahead of the Indian independence. But the most significant event in the Naga National Movement is the rejection of the Union of India and the plebiscite conducted by the Nagas where 99.9 per cent voted in favour of a sovereign independent Nagalim. Thus, India or Burma has no authority or right to justify its illegal occupation of Nagalim.
The case of the Nagas is an invasion on their rights and territory by India and Burma. Nagas are the aggrieved party. It is neither a case of secession nor insurgency. The term �secession� applies only to those who try to secede from the Union they have joined. Nagas are not a party to the Union of India. Jaya Prakash Narayan, a member of the Peace Mission on the Indo-Naga conflict, stated, �The Naga people are unquestionably a nation� (Raising 2006). He was joined in his belief that �Nagas are not Indians� by other Indian leaders, including Balgovind Baboo who said, �Historical and legal documents show that, before the British rule, Nagalim was in no way part of India� (ibid.). Anthony Smith, an outstanding theoretician on �nationalism� classified Nagas as a �nation�(ibid.). Hence, the question of secession or insurgency does not arise in the case of the Nagas.
The Naga national movement for independence is rooted in the solid ground of their national decision. All sections of Nagas from across the length and breadth of Nagalim, irrespective of communities, gender, age and religious denominations are involved in the movement. The Nagalim Peace Mission declared: �The Naga struggle could not be regarded as a problem of law and order. It is a struggle for national freedom� (ibid.).
The Nagas are one nation racially, culturally, historically and politically. All Naga organizations, such as the Naga Hoho/Parliament, Naga Students� Federation, Naga Mothers� Association, Naga People�s Movement for Human Rights, United Naga Council Manipur, and members of Naga civil society have all unitedly taken a stand that unification of all the Naga areas is a must for any political settlement (NPMHR 2008: 8). Also, they profess one faith and have been hopefully struggling for their God-given right to self-determination under the banner of �Nagalim for Christ�. They have strong attachment to the land they belong to. The Naga National Movement is based on their common political will, culture, history and geography. Thus, sanctioned by international covenants, the Naga people have every right to determine their own destiny.
The right to self-determination is a fundamental right enshrined in the Charter of the UN, the International Covenants of Human Rights and the Covenant of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. These principles stress that all peoples and nations have a right to self-determination and that, by virtue of that right, they are free to determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development without external interference. The right to self-determination has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the UN. For example, the UN World conference on Human Rights meeting in Vienna in June 1993 reaffirmed that the right to self-determination is a part of international law of human rights.
Second Indo-Naga Talks
After years of bloody conflict, Indian political leaders and successive Army chiefs, including Gen. Shankar Roy Chaudhury, declared; �(i) Naga problem is a political issue, (ii) treating the Naga issue as a law and order problem would be wrong, and (iii) military solution is not possible; it needs a political treatment apart from military treatment and it is time for India and the Nagas to talk across the table� (ibid.).
The declared principles of NSCN are freedom from all kinds of bondages and independence from any foreign domination and close relation with other people and nations on the basis of mutual respect and recognition of rights.
One of the significant steps taken by NSCN is the shift of policy and strategy from guerrilla warfare to mass warfare, from machine gun warfare to computer warfare and from armed confrontation to political negotiation. Nagas are committed to political solution and they shall abide by that if otherwise dictated by circumstances, the Nagas are committed to political solution and they shall abide by that.
So when New Delhi sent messengers for political dialogues, Nagas responded positively. Thus, the second ceasefire agreement was signed between Government of Indian and the Nagas under the leadership of Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah on 1 August 1997 to start negotiations on three terms: (i) Talks without any conditions, (ii) talks at the Prime Ministerial level, and (iii) in third countries.
So far the peace talks have been held in different places such as, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Dimapur, Geneva, The Hague, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, New Delhi, New York, Osaka, Paris, Vienna, and Zurich.
At the Amsterdam talks in 2002, Indian government and the NSCN signed a joint communiqu� which officially recognized the �Unique history and situation of the Nagas� (UNPO 2002: 4). It signifies that Nagas are not a party to the Union of India.
With a view to having wide ranging consultations with the Naga people on the current peace process, the NSCN has conducted consultative meetings six times, where all sections of Nagas from different places attended. At the 4th consultative meeting held at Hebron on 20 and 21 January 2005, the Collective Leadership of NSCN was reaffirmed and mandated for working out an honourable solution to the Indo-Naga political issue.
The Indian government and the NSCN are engaged in political talks. But there has been no tangible progress even after many years of negotiations. In spite of their assurances given to the NSCN, the Government of India has not taken any concrete political steps so far. The Naga team had tabled a number of points on substantive issues for solution, but there is no positive response from the Government of India till date. The Indian government, through its agents, is selling the idea of peace and development without justice and freedom. They are also propagating for non-territorial solution, which is an attempt to retain the status quo of states under the parameter of the Indian constitution. This kind of approach from the Indian constitutional perspective is an imposition of the Indian will upon the Nagas which is completely unacceptable.
Nagas contribution towards world peace
Nagas were friendly and co-operative with the British power. 4,000 Naga volunteers were sent to France in support of the British-led Allied forces during the World War I and many Nagas sacrificed their lives in Europe and elsewhere.
During the World War II, the Nagas steadfastly supported the Allied Forces. Naga people extended their fullest support and cooperation to the Allied Forces, providing food, shelter, guides and other essential services inside and outside Nagalim and the same had been duly acknowledged by the army generals. Field Marshal Slim says in his book Defeat into Victory: �The gallant Nagas whose loyalty, even in the most depressing times of the invasion, had never faltered. Despite floggings, torture, execution and the burning of their villages, they refused to aid the Japanese in any way or betray our troops. Their active help to us was beyond value or praise…they guided our columns, collected information, ambushed enemy patrols, carried our supplies and brought in our wounded under the heaviest fire, and then, being the gentlemen they were, often refused all payment. Many a British and Indian soldier owes his life to the Nagas, and no soldier of the 14th Army who met them will ever think of them, but with admiration and affection� (Slim 1961).
Speaking from the Viceroy�s House in New Delhi of the steadfastness of the Nagas in their support of the British, Field Marshal Viscount Wavell wrote, �I have most encouraging reports about the conduct of the Na\gas� I have written to Clow asking what can be done to reward the staunchness of these people, both immediately and later� (Wavell 1944: 1007). Well, no any reward was given then or later.
Since Indian and Burmese occupied Nagalim was once ruled by Britain, the Naga people believe that it has a moral obligation to help the Nagas in their search for justice and honourable solution to the long-drawn Indo-Naga and Burman-Naga political conflict.
How can the whole World look on while weaker nations like the Nagas, the Kashmiris, the Khalistanis, the Karen, the Kachins, the Mons, the Boros, Kosovars, Kurds, etc. are crying under the oppressive rule of the dominant people and nations? We view that it is the bounden duty of every civilized nation to come to the rescue of any oppressed people. We would, therefore, urge all the International Communities to come forward to help us solve the conflict through peaceful means.
Dated London: 10 December 2007
Members of the Naga Advisory Panel, PNSD
Mr. Rh.Raising (Leader)
Mr. A. Makunga
Mr. V. Sumi
Mr. M. Angami
Prof. T. Kaping
Nagalim�s Modern Timeline
1832: British forces intrude into Nagalim. (Nagas put up tough resistance for forty-eight years before the British forces finally occupied parts of Nagalim.)
10 January 1929: Nagas submit a memorandum to Simon Commission which is sent by the British Parliament. It states that the �Nagas should be left alone should the British leave India� (Horam 1988).
June 1947: Nine-point agreement is signed between the Naga National Council and Akbar Hydari, the Governor of Assam as the Agnet of the Government of British India. But it is not implemented.
15 July 1947: Naga delegates meet Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi where he stated, � Nagas have every right to be independent. I believe in the brotherhood of man, but I do not believe in forced marriage and forced union. If you do not want to join the union of India, nobody will force you to do that, the Congress Government will not do that� (Aram 1979; 11).
July 1947: Mr Rajapopalachari, the first Governor General of free India told a Naga delegation, �India wants to be friendly with the Nagas. Nagas are at full liberty to do as they like either to become part of India or be separated if it would be best for their interest to be isolated� (Maxwell 1980: 5).
14 August 1947: Nagas in British occupied area declare their independence and inform the UN and give a copy of it to India. It reads: �Benign Excellency (.) Kindly put on record that the Nagas will be Independent (.) Discussions with India are being carried on to that effect (.) Nagas do not accept Indian constitution (.) The right of the people must prevail regardless of size�.
UN kindly sent its acknowledgement from Salt Lake, USA (ibid.).
1950: Nagas flatly reject the invitation of the Indian Constituent Assembly to join the Union of India. (Nagas are not a party to the Union of Burma either).
16 May 1951: Nagas conduct a plebiscite wherein 99.9 per cent vote in favour of Sovereign Independent Nagalim. The result of the plebiscite was sent to the government of India and the United Nations.
1952: Nagas boycott the first Indian general elections.
1954: India start deploying hundreds of thousands of armed forces to conduct military campaigns all over Nagalim. These Indian occupation forces start harassing, torturing, killing, raping women-folk, burning churches, schools and villages; blazing forests, plundering and destroying properties in Nagalim. The Indian soldiers wantonly maim and butcher thousands upon thousands of Nagas and turn the scenic mountains and valleys of Nagalim into burning and killing fields (Kim 2007a: 18).
1957: Nagas boycott the second Indian general elections (and the subsequent elections in1962, 1998 and 2000).
1 December 1963: As Nagas refuse to accept the Indian constitution, the government of India win over some Naga traitors and opportunists to sign the �16-point agreement� that creates the so-called present Nagaland state. However, the agreement is totally rejected by the Naga people, and the situation aggravates.
6 September 1964: After the rejection of the 16 Point Agreement, the Government of India sends feeler for political negotiations and thus the first cease-fire agreement between the Nagas and the Government of India is reached. 23 September 1964: The first Indo-Naga peace talks starts. A three-member �Peace Mission� is formed, consisting of the Anglican missionary Rev. Michael Scott, Mr B.P.Chaliha and Mr. J.P. Narayan.
20 December 1964:
�The Peace Mission, in the circumstances appreciates and understands the desire of the Nagas for self-determination and their urge to preserve their integrity. The Peace Mission also appreciates the courage and tenacity, displayed by the Naga people in their endeavor to achieve this goal. The objectives which they have placed before themselves in their memorandum �Naga Peace Declaration� dated the 17th December, 1964, and addressed to the Peace Mission namely their desire to find peace, their resolve to maintain their integrity and to resist entanglement in war, are all extremely laudable and should commend themselves to all peace loving people. The peace mission acknowledged that the Nagas are not part of India. The case of the Nagas is political, not law and order.
The Naga people are advised to join the Union of India of their own volition� (Peace Mission 1964).
Tragically, the mission collapsed within a year due to India�s insincerity, and the Armed struggle resumed. It was at this stage that Jayprakash Narayan, said �While both East and West Pakistan bore the impress of the Indic civilization, what we call Indian culture has not made an entry into Nagalim� that the �Naga people are unquestionably a nation� (Kim 2007b: 16). Also, he commended that, in order to resolve the Indo-Naga political conflict, the Naga people should give up foreign affairs, defence and currency to India.
11 November 1975: A delegation authorized by Federal government of Nagalim and Naga National Council signs the �Shillong Accord� and accepts the Indian constitution of their own volition betraying the cause of the Nagas. This accord is rejected by the Naga National Assembly.
30 August 1978: Incited and engineered by the Government of India, the pro-Shillong Accord elements stage a successful military coup where hundreds of patriots are massacred.
31 January 1980: Armed confrontation between the two camps (those who accepted Indian constitution and those who rejected it) erupts which leads to the formation of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) to continue the liberation movement.
1988: The Indian state, through its various intelligence agencies and Naga collaborators, plots a conspiracy and staged an abortive coup attempt through S.S. Khaplang, Vice President, NSCN.
21 January 1991: In the 47th session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali officially acknowledges that �There is Human Right Situation in Nagalim� (United Nations 1991).
23 January 1993: NSCN becomes a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples� Organisation, UNPO.
20-26 January 1995: In its Fourth General Assembly at The Hague, the UNPO recognises the sovereignty of the Nagas over their territory and the right to determine their future by themselves.
20 October 1999: Twenty-four US Congressmen wrote to US President, Clinton stating, �We urge you to use your influence to help support self-determination for the people of Nagalim� (MEX 2007).
March 200: Benjamin Gilman, Chairman of the US Congress Committee on International Relations, sent a letter in March 2000 to Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai successfully calling for the speedy release of Nagalim�s principal negotiator Mr.Th. Muivah, Gen. Secretary, NSCN when the Thai authority detained him in Bangkok during the Indo-Naga peace process. (He was joined by many Americans in this endeavour, including US Senator John Nimrod from Illinois and Menelaos Tselios (General Secretary of the International Federation for the Protection of Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic and other Minorities in New York).
23 July 2000: Thai Friends of the Nagas, a group of human rights lawyers and activists, organizes a consultation meeting in Bangkok, bringing together a spectrum of participants from Thailand, India, Nagalim and various international groups to discuss the 1997 Indo-Naga peace process. (It was followed by another such meeting on 22 August 2000).
17 October 2003: National Socialist Council of Nagalim commits itself to a total ban of the use of uncontrolled anti-personal mines by signing the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment.
11 May 2005: British Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination (PNSD) is born and Naga Nation finds a platform to assert its right to self-determination in the UK and beyond through peaceful and political means in accordance with the International Law.
18 June 2005: Former US President Jimmy Carter wrote to the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, with a copy to the General Secretary of the NSCN Mr. Th. Muivah: �I am writing today to you and the NSCN leaders to express my appreciation to both parties for the initiative being taken towards a peaceful and lasting resolution. I encourage you to move ahead with your conversation to present an acceptable solution that will assure the rights of the Naga people and the security of India� (NISC 2005).
25 July 2007: British Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination unanimously recognises �the right of the Naga people to self-determination as enshrined in International Law� and request India and Nagalim to �take forward the historic 1997 Indo-Naga peace process with due diligence� (Kim 2007: 17).
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