My dear Naga people, Six decades ago on this historic day, the 14th of August 1947, the Naga people took a historic decision to remain as an independent nation and subsequently held a plebiscite in 1951 in affirmation of that decision. Since then the conflict started between the Indian Armed Forces and the Nagas. The Government of India (GoI) initiated a systematic military campaign to crush the Naga struggle for independence terming it as “law and order” problem and a “secessionist” movement.
Today with the change of policy, the GoI has set aside the military option and embarked on a peace process towards political solution. Such a positive step was welcomed by the Nagas because the Nagas had been stating that political issue must be solved through political means. The peace dialogue between the GoI and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) began on a right note in 1997 – at the highest level, without pre-conditions and in third countries.
We have come to the negotiating table with a view to arriving at an honorable political settlement. The official recognition of the Naga unique history and situation by the GoI in 2002 set the political negotiations in the right perspective. The Naga people also highly appreciate Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India who stated to go “extra-mile” and to seek “solution outside the box.” We consider his statement as a profound and genuine commitment towards settlement.
During the 14 years long negotiations we have faced many hurdles but through deep commitment and patience of both the parties we have come thus far. We have come to understand each other’s position and difficulties in a more realistic way by narrowing down many of our differences considering the “contemporary realities and a future vision consistent with the imperatives of the 21st century”, which must be appreciated by one and all.
For the Nagas, land, people, political principles and historical rights are inalienable. Hence, their aspiration to live together as one people under one political roof is their inherent right. We therefore assure our people that we will not enter into any agreement at the expense of our rights. We also reassure the Naga people that sovereignty lies with the people and on this principle we will collectively shape our common future by taking the right decisions.
The reconciliation process among the different Naga groups may seem to be a difficult task from human point of view, however, it is not impossible. We therefore assure the Nagas and all those who support reconciliation that, we will go to any length to achieve this goal.
The GoI and NSCN have agreed to arrive at an honorable political settlement in the shortest possible time. We appreciate the earnest efforts of the GoI and the Nagas believe that the leadership of the GoI too understands the steps taken by the Nagas and we therefore hope that they will exercise their utmost political wisdom with all seriousness and give their honest efforts to resolve the long standing conflict. However, both the parties must be vigilant enough not to allow any divisive elements to sabotage the golden opportunities.
We wish to extend our appreciation to all the Naga people, individuals, Churches, well-wishers and civil societies in Nagalim and abroad for their dedicated and unwavering support towards peaceful resolution of conflict. We look forward to your sincere role and participation in the nation-building process in the days to come too.
I would like to say sorry to the people of Nagalim for acts of omission and commission while performing our duties. May the good Lord forgive and have compassion on us.
We assure all our neighbors and those people who aspire for peace that we are totally committed to peaceful resolution of all issues.