Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Indo-Naga-Burma-Naga Conflict


During the colonial times of India and Burma by the British Empire the Naga people fought the British troops for more than 40 years before they made a peace agreement. After the independence of India (1947) and Burma (1948) one part of Nagaland was annex to India and a smaller part to Burma. for many years the Naga people had fought the British because they felt they were a country and race of their own. India and Burma always felt that the Nagaland was Part of them.

After the Independence boundaries were made under English supervision, the Naga people felt very dishonored and many of them fought the Indian and Burmese Government on a guerilla warfare. In the earlier years of the guerilla warfare the Naga people caused heavy losses to the Indian Army, as the Indian Army was not very experience against the Naga hill people. But over the years the Indian Army learned a lot from the Naga hill people jungle guerilla warfare and has driven most of its pocket resistance groups into the dense, thick mountain jungles. General Mowu Gwizan was telling me how the old people and children suffer from malnutrition in the mountain jungles. The General himself was caught and put in jail four times by the Indian Government and once by the Burmese. He said he almost lost his life during his jail time in India but in the Burmese jail he was treated much better. At any time he will be caught by the Indian Government his life will be in jeopardy. Most of the Naga people, I was told, were Christians and don't like to be under Indian or Burmese Government ruling. What most disturbed me about General Gwizan's story was that the Russian KGB was heavily infiltrating among the people in that part of the world. Many young Naga men were sent to Russia for communist training. Here we have a country with a Christian population, divided and governed by two non-Christian countries, against the peoples' will, and heavily infiltrated by the communist world. Here was General Gwizan sent by his people to beg the Western world for help in their struggles for Independence and yet he wasn't able to see anybody at the State Department.
( extract from a chapter on General Mowu Gwizan from Nagaland, book from Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990): A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer)

‘A Step-By-Step Transformation of the Indo-Naga-Burma-Naga Conflict’by indoadmin — last modified 2009-04-23 20:09

June 3, 2008: (Morung Express) In South and South East Asian geographical locations, conflict involving India, Burma and Nagas is one of the world’s longest running yet least known conflicts that need to seek a step-by-step transformation informed by the principles of human rights, peace + justice & truth, equality, liberty and freedom.

The conflict is political in nature which does not require much deliberation in its entirety. It is sufficed to say that the conflict takes a true political meaning in the context of the Nagas as a Nation, aspiration for their right to self-determination- self-determination internally and externally.

A nation is a group of people having collective political aspiration unlike an ethnic group. An ethnic group is defined and determined more by the cultural aspects of life. Unlike an ethnic group, the Nagas as a group of people is certainly a nation in the sense that they have a collective political aspiration for self-determination.

Historically and contemporarily speaking, the Naga nationalists have not accepted the Indian and Burmese identities as they have refused to consent to any political maneuvering of the colonial and post-colonial states’ definitions and determinations of people’s identities.
The Nagas have stated their political vision to the colonial British before they left the Indian sub-continent. Also, the claims of Indian and Burmese identities upon the Naga people have already been refuted and rejected by the Nagas since the 1950s. The sincere request of the Nagas to India, Burma and international community is to recognize and upheld the Naga political identity.

However, the Naga political identity assertion is met with brute forces of the Indian and Burmese states. The inter-nations conflict or the identity conflict has taken a heavy toll of the Naga civilian lives. This deep-rooted identity conflict is yet to get transformation although; the parties have tried several times in the past.

The reasons for the failures are due to the fact that the mechanisms and models employed by the Indian state in the past were rather traditional in methods and adhoc in nature. The Indian Government has tried its best to manage the Indo-Naga conflict through constitutional means, counter-insurgency tactics and developmental packages.

But all these measures have not been successful because those thought-to-be a good solution were half-baked, incomprehensive, exclusive, out-of- political in context and content, traditional in methods and adhoc in nature. This adhoc measures were applied to divide the Naga people and their struggle for political identity.

For example, the Indian state of Nagaland was created to crush the Naga National Movement for Sovereignty. Indeed, creation of Nagaland state has greatly weakened the Nagas’ spirit of nationalism among the Naga people.

The Nagaland state is the first backdoor channel through which the Indian state has started eating the vital of the Nagas’ struggle of the right to self-determination from within which many among the Nagas may not know and agree. In fact, creation of Nagaland state was an incomplete process of unification.

The deeper question now is, are we fighting Political Sovereignty for the Indian Nagaland state or Nagas’ Land/Nagas’ Lim as a whole inclusive of the Nagas of both India and Burma? This is the challenge placed before all the Nagas. If we can get a correct answer to the above question, then we may proceed with ‘A Step-By-Step Transformation of the Indo-Naga-Burma-Naga Conflict’.

In a way, the people can fight for a political sovereignty only for the territory limited to Indian Nagaland state. Achieving Political Sovereignty or not for such a small territory is another question. However, historically and politically speaking, the Nagas struggle for Political Freedom is not of that case but of for all the Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland states on Indian side and Nagas of Burma as a whole.

It means Indian Nagaland state was born like a child without completing 9 months period to be a full born baby in the process of Nagas struggle for Political Sovereignty.

The analogy implies that the Indian Nagaland state could not in any case meet the political aspiration of the Nagas as the Nagas have hardly aspired for such temporary measures which satisfy small sections of the Naga people. It is pertinent to mention here that the Nagas are not temporary glory-hunters. Now, it should be cleared that we are not fighting for a Political sovereignty only for a territory limited to Indian Nagaland state which means that the Nagas are fighting for a Political Sovereignty of all Naga territories on both the Indian and Burmese sides.

However, a political solution to these conflicts could not be achieved in one go. Instead, any political solution has to be in the form of ‘A Step-By-Step Transformation’. The reason is simple and pure. As far as efforts for conflict transformation is concerned, the Nagas have been engaging with the Indian Government alone for a long time.

Political negotiations are taking place between Indian Government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) of both the factions. And yet, no concrete political formula has been suggested or proposed by the Indian Government that will be able to meet the aspiration of the Nagas.

It is to be noted that the political talks are taking place only on the Indian side. It is understandable that the present Indian leadership have no guts to recognize and accept the issue of Naga Sovereignty.

It has been observed that the Indian Government will surely talk in terms of solving the conflict by granting autonomy within the Indian constitution which is not different from the past exercises. It is certain that the Indian Government will always insist on solving the political issue through constitutional mechanism even in the future. We have failed to see sincerity and honesty from the Indian Government. Indian Government is dilly-dallying the peace process by making this or that excuse.

The Indian Government policy of peace talks with the Nagas has to be read carefully. The deeper intension of the Indian Government is none other than to crush the Naga National Movement as a whole. It will employ multi-prong policies to achieve this target.

Though ceasefire has been declared between the Indian state and the Nagas, counter-insurgency tactics is also at the same time executed against the Naga Army. During the present ceasefire, more than 200 Naga nationalists including civilians have been killed by the Indian Security forces.

Another more dangerous policy of divide and rule policy of the Indian state is to pit one group against another so that Nagas kill among themselves. Such fratricidal killing is the result of the systematic game plan and machination of the Indian state which must be watched carefully.

Though the gun fighting between Indian security forces and the Naga Army has reduced to some certain extent, it is not the case among the Naga groups. What caused this killing among the Nagas? Is it because of the love for the Naga nation? The answer is a big ‘NO’. The killing among the Nagas is simply committed which is instigated by those individuals among the so-called Naga national workers who do not have a correct political perspective.

Why should the killing be encouraged within the Naga family? In all the political struggles in the world rivalries always exist but rivalries must have political connotation and maturity that will pave the way for constructive and creative engagement.

This is not the case with the Nagas in the present context. Killings are taking place because of those individuals who are power-mongering with selfish interest and political motive. The killings are born out of hatred, jealousy and lack of clear political wisdom and vision.
It can not be ruled out of connivance between those individuals who instigates these killings and the Indian state machineries who are there to sabotage the Naga people’s struggle for human rights.

These killings among the Nagas will have far-reaching negative implications for the future of the Naga National Movement. Indian Government, obviously, is having the last laugh. The Nagas must realize that fighting among themselves is not serving their own interest. Instead, it serves the interest of the Indian state. Such killing only strengthens the hands of the real or perceived enemies. The Nagas must realize this fact before it is too late.
It is high time that Nagas forgive one another and reconcile for the cause of the future Naga nation. Because, reconciling among the Nagas is the deepest desire and hope in the minds and hearts of every Naga. We must protect our unique identity that has been embedded in us, and safeguard the land- Naga Homeland- we have occupied since time immemorial.

The Nagas must put their heads together how best they govern themselves. Cooperation and solidarity is the need of the hour. Importantly, “Interactive Dialogue” across the table should be initiated for all sections of the Nagas by the Nagas themselves if they have to save the cause.

Let all sections of the Naga society respect the differences of opinions we all have. Let us bury the past and create a new vista for the sake of our future generations to come. The Nagas know the best for themselves what should be their future.
The Naga people shall be the only people who can save the Nagas cause. No other force on earth can shatter the dreams of the Nagas except the Nagas themselves. Shall we allow ourselves the 60 years old struggle going down to the drain? No, we must not allow this thing to happen at any cost.

Let us encourage one another for good things to happen for us. Though, many camps are there among the Nagas, in the final analysis, we are all belonging to the same family- the Naga family. Let us help among ourselves to revive the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of being God’s children.

The crisis within the Naga family and the deliberate policy of divide and rule of the Indian state have not helped in strengthening the hands of the Naga negotiators in this peace process. All Nagas need to do something to overcome the internal Naga family conflict and crisis. We must find an alternative to the present situation of unease and tension just for the sake of Naga people’s struggle for their political identity.

We ourselves have to find the alternative because there will be no other people who will like the Nagas to be united and strong. The only alternative to the present internal fighting among the Nagas is none other than refining the future political vision of the Naga people.
Refinement can come only when we ourselves have a conceptual clarity of the Naga National Identity and uncontaminated political ideology of the Naga National Movement. The confusion and problem among the Nagas arises due to lack of political wisdom to differentiate which are Indian ideologies and which is Naga Political Ideology.

This lack of clear understanding of various ideologies is one of the main stumbling blocks to the process of Naga integration politically, culturally and territorially. This is the reason why the Nagas are insecure and apprehensive.

This lack of clear political perspective is responsible for misidentifying who are the real enemies and friends of the Nagas. Its time the Nagas learn to appreciate this shortcomings and misidentifications.

Once the Nagas are sure of who they are and what they want, I personally think that political solution and unity is already theirs. And when the Nagas are clear of their political vision, then, who can stop them to achieve it.

Now, coming back to ‘A Step-By-Step Transformation of the Conflict, all sections of Naga people should support and cooperate to the Naga negotiators. If all Nagas, irrespective of this or that groups, are collectively and wholeheartedly supporting the negotiators in words and action we can be certainly optimistic and positive that our aspiration can be clinched with India successfully.

The present peace talk with the Indian Government is not going to completely end the conflict involving India, Burma and Nagas. However, it is important that a political solution is arrived at with the Indian Government as a first step towards the further steps. Any future political solution that is being sought between India and the Nagas is not like a kind of centre-state federal relations in India.

It’s a different kind of relationship which is greater and bigger than the centre-state relations in India. And this is an opportune time the Nagas and Indian Government reach certain concrete political agreement. For the Nagas, something has to be got during this peace process for further course of its action.

A political solution between India and the Nagas on the Indian side would necessarily be sought through the integration of all Naga areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland states. Recognition of the Naga National Identity is an essential ingredient of such a solution. The Naga should have their own Army, Police, Judiciary System, and Monetary Policy while there is a need for sharing of decision-making power in the fields of External Affairs, Defence and Communications between India and the Nagas.

The present peace talks are carried out between two entities. Once a political solution is arrived at between India and the Nagas incorporating the abovementioned points for future relationship, there is a need for peace talks between the Burmese Government and the Naga people for further steps in transforming the conflicts. In this case also all Nagas must wholeheartedly and collectively support the Nagas’ negotiators so that a political solution is effectuated.

Once Burma-Naga solution is found, then, there is a need for tripartite talks among the Indian Government, Burmese Government and the Naga people for complete transformation of the conflict. The talks will mainly cover the issue of integrating the Naga territories in India and Burma in which a new Government for all the Nagas is sought to be formed.
It will be essential to discuss the status of the Nagas in the UN and other international foras. Certainly, the intervention of the UN will be highly necessary in such future peace talks. The basic point is that, in completing the transformation of the conflict, the Nagas as a nation should have the right to determine their future and destiny in equal terms with the rest of nations.

From Indo-Burma News.

Naga Struggle Against Tyranny

By Kekhrie Yhome/Nagaland
JUNE, 2004 - VOLUME 12 NO.6

The Naga, sandwiched between Burma and India, have had a tough lot.

If geo-politics and geo-strategy can be labeled academically as “frontiers”, then the military and political histories and realities of South Asia’s oldest insurgency—by the fiercely independent Naga of India and Burma—definitely have a long way to go.

The Naga ethnic minority of almost four million people inhabit a 48,000 square mile contiguous frontier area of Burma, China and India.

They have a long history of asserting their rights—as long ago as the mid-19th century they were contesting British colonial interests in oil and mineral resources, tea, timber and control of south-to-east Asian trade routes. Since the late 1940s their struggle has been directed at Burmese and Indian “neo-colonialism”—a struggle that has cost around 200,000 Naga lives in five decades of conflict. It’s a struggle that cries out for international support.

For 19th century Western anthropologists and explorers, the Naga were wild, savage headhunters. In today’s tourist parlance, the Naga comprise one of the last tribes in Asia to be discovered, an exotic people who speak a Tibeto-Burman derived language and renowned for their proud sense of independence, integrity and community spirit.

History left them divided between arbitrarily drawn political boundaries: the 1826 Treaty of Peace at Yandaboo, the Pemberton Line of 1934, the Government of Burma Act of 1935 and the 1978 Indo-Burma Border Agreement.

In India, the Naga occupy Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland. In Burma, 17 Naga tribes are found in Sagaing Division.

In the early 1990s, the Indian government organized the nomadic Kuki tribes in an armed campaign against the Naga, during which the Naga lost control of Moreh, one of their important centers. Another setback came with the signing of the India-Myanmar Border Trade Agreement in January 1995, which led to the creation of a formal trading center at the Moreh-Tamu border point. The hoped-for boost to trade between India and Burma, a consequence of the “look East policy”, is likely soon to have severe consequences if the Indian government and Indian traders try to control the markets and routes in Naga territories.

Successive ceasefire agreements between India and the Naga (the most recent one in 2001), at least gave hope of a let-up in military confrontations, despite several incidents resulting in Naga deaths and arrests.

The ceasefires were accompanied by political talks, which produced their own series of setbacks. In July 1999 the chief Indian negotiator, Swaraj Kushal, resigned, accusing the Indian Prime Minister of breaking his word. Six months later, the NSCN negotiator, Thuingaleng Muivah, was arrested and imprisoned in Thailand.
In January 2003, again a free man, Muivah headed the first official visit to New Delhi by the NSCN, and promised the Naga there would be no question of compromise on the issue of sovereignty.
Much skepticism remains, however, and even the Naga negotiating position has come in for criticism in neutral circles. A leading human rights advocate has said neither the Indian government nor the Naga had shown the “vision” necessary to break the deadlock. Successive changes of government in New Delhi also don’t help the negotiating process, despite the latest pledge by the newly-elected Indian administration that political talks with the Naga will continue.
Skepticism within the Naga community arises from many broken Indian promises and failed policies. The Naga cite such enduring draconian laws as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958, which allows even a non-commissioned officer to shoot and kill on mere suspicion. The controversial law was extended in July 2003 to cover all Naga areas, which were loosely designated as “disturbed”.

Hopes for movement in the negotiating process did, however harden with the replacement in 2003 of the Indian-backed puppet administration by a “people’s government”. The NSCN-IM has undoubtedly emerged as the most important Naga movement, both politically and militarily—its power reinforced by the reorganization of the Naga army into four political groups. On the so-called Eastern front, three Naga villages in northern Sagaing Division were destroyed in 2001 following attacks by the Burma Army and Indian paramilitary forces on a NSCN headquarters. About 3,000 of the region’s half million Naga inhabitants fled across the frontier.

In order to document and highlight such incidents and the general plight of the Naga inhabitants of Burma, a Naga Youth Organization of Burma was established in New Delhi this year.

Further attention to the Naga situation in Burma is likely as a result of the affiliation of the Eastern Naga Students Association (Burma) by the Naga Students Federation, the most powerful central Naga student body.

For now, however, the thrust of the Naga sovereignty struggle is concentrated chiefly on the ongoing political talks with the Indian government.

Said a senior military strategist of the NSCN: “Once the western frontier comes to an understanding, the energy of the Naga struggle can be redirected towards the Burmese front.” The close relationship that has developed recently between Burma and India, especially in trade and military matters, is a major calculation in the Naga approach to developments.
It is to be hoped that the consistency of the Naga struggle and their logistical links with many “military groups” in India and Burma has induced New Delhi to re-think its northeastern boundaries. Certainly, for those Naga soldiers in the jungle, it has been a long struggle.

Kekhrie Yhome works with the Policy Initiatives Division of the Naga Peoples Movement Human Rights in Nagaland.

NAGA HISTORY: chronology of recent events

Prepared by Luingam Luithui and Frans Welman

1820-21 Drawing attention:

The Ava (Burmese) Kingdom occupied three Hindu kingdoms, Ahom, Cachar (they now form part of Assam) and Manipur (Imphal Valley, “…The valley of Munnipore occupies nearly the center. It is called by the Munniporees, Meithei-leipak”, Maj. W. McCulloch, 1859. “Meithei-leipak” means” Manipuri-land”) in the neighborhood of Nagaland/Nagalim, with mass slaughter and slave taking. Naga villages sheltered thousands of Manipuris for over five years.

1820-31 British arrival:

British India drove out the Burmese from Ahom and Cachar. Under the Treaty of Yandabo, Burma relinquished all her claims over these kingdoms and withdrew to the Irrawady Plains. While Assam and Cachar were made part of the Bengal Presidency, Manipur was listed among the ‘Princely Indian States’ of British colony. Britain developed a vague concept of their sphere of interests over the lands of the Nagas, Chins, Akhas, Daflas, Kashis,… lands that lay beyond the borders of the kingdoms of Ahom, Cachar, Manipur, Burma and China. The limits of this “sphere of interests” described as “the presumptive Indo-Burma frontier which… has never been defined let alone demarcated” by L.A.C. Fry Foreign Office, London, 7th March 1950 in a confidential report. However, it became the basis of drawing international boundary lines passing through the lands of the Nagas and the others when British departed from South Asia. With abundant supply of arms from the British, Manipuris began to intrude into Nagalim to loot and destroy villages

1832 British India began direct invasion of Nagalim.

1840-5 Introduction of W. McCulloch’s Policy Planting Kuki Settlements on “exposed frontiers”, arming Kuki nomads with guns to destroy Naga villages.

1845 - 80 Invasion of Nagalim: British India, with abundant manpower supply from their Hindu allies, repeatedly invaded villages in Nagalim.

British took control of a substantial number of Naga villages covering approximately a third of Nagalim and attached them to Assam and Manipur. However, British Nagaland remained under the Foreign Department of Colonial India throughout the British rule. Neither the Provincial Assembly of Assam nor Durbar of the Indian Princely State of Manipur had authority over Nagaland. The Traditional Naga Village Council continued as the only legitimate/representative authority throughout Nagaland. This was in recognition of the fundamental differences underlying the social and cultural practices between Hindu and Naga societies, differences being the Naga of communal egalitarian social structure in sharp contrast to the stratified caste system of Hindu society.

1892 British Political Agent replaced the Manipuri King as the President of Manipur Durbar, marking the beginning of direct control of Manipur by Britain. However, the Naga-areas in Manipur, referred to as “tribal areas”, remained excluded from the control of the Durbar. “Manipur State, of course, has its own tribal areas excluded from the administration of the Durbar, and most of these tribes would prefer not to come under the direct control of the Durbar as yet”, reported F.C. Bourne, Governor of Assam, 6th June 1946.

1921 The Indian Home Rule Act, 1919, classified the Naga areas in Assam as “Backward Areas” of Naga Hills district and remained outside the purview of the Assam Provincial Assembly set up under the said Act

1929 January 10, 1929, the Naga Club, in a memorandum told the British Indian Statutory Commission, called “The Simon Commission”, which the Nagas would not join India when the British departed, they should be left to live on their own, independent of others, as they were before the colonization.

1935 The Government of India Act 1935 declared the Naga Hills (“Backward Areas”) as an “Excluded Area”, meaning outside the purview of Assam Province. The Act divided the British colony in the sub-continent into “British India” and “British Burma”.

1946 To work out terms of relationship once the British withdraw: The first all Naga political organizations, the Naga National Council (NNC), were set up. As part of the arrangement for the transfer of power, Britain brought the Dominion Government of India and the Naga National Council [NNC] to work out their terms of relationship once the British withdraw.

1947 On February 20, 1947 NNC submitted a proposal for Interim Government in Nagalim with India as the Guardian Power for ten years. On 26th June 1947, the Interim Government of India and the NNC reached The Nine Points Agreement. The Agreement envisaged a Protected State in Nagalim under NNC with India as the Guardian Power for ten years at the end of which NNC will be asked to renew or to make a new agreement.

Gandhiji declared…Nagas had every right to be independent of India: The Indian Constituent Assembly, through a process of mental acrobatics, arrived at the conclusion, that the Nine Points Agreement was merely ‘district autonomy within the Indian Constitution’ and began preparations to occupy Nagalim by force. When this was brought to Gandhiji’s attention on 19 July 1947, Gandhiji declared that the Nagas had every right to be independent of India if they choose to do so. Further, he declared that he would oppose with his life if India decides to take Nagalim by force.

Nagalim declared Independent: NCC announced its decision to declare Nagalim “independent” on 14 August 1947and communicated it to UNO, Britain, the Interim Government of India, and the Commonwealth Relations Office. As the newly independent India adopted a belligerent attitude toward the declaration of independence by the Nagas, Britain decided to adopt a policy of “wait and see”.

1948 Indian police in Manipur made summery arrest and detention of many Nagas including Daiho Mao, a prominent elder, who were peacefully blockading an entry point to Nagaland from India. The police repression was justified on false claims of facing ‘incitement by Communist agitators, or the danger of Burmese Communist infiltrating Assam,’ and India used the occasion to build up its military on the Assam-Nagaland border to invade Nagalim. “…With regard to Calcutta Weekly Report No.34…about the unrest among the Nagas and the danger of Burmese Communist infiltrating Assam, Sir Akbar Hydari arrived in Delhi recently and press for release of new military equipment to forces in the Assam area”.

1951 May 16, 1951 Plebiscite: Condemning NNC as “the voice of the misguided”, India imprisoned many more Naga elders without trial. Undeterred, Nagas continued their protest and asked India to ascertain the decision of the majority of the people in a plebiscite. India rejected it. NNC notified India; they decided to conduct the plebiscite on 16 May 1951 to clear any possible doubt. The result of the plebiscite, as admitted by B.N. Mullik, the then Chief of the Indian Intelligence set up, was 99.9% for Naga independence and none for joining India.

India refused to respect the out come of the Plebiscite. Instead, India sought to destroy by force the material and spiritual basis of the Naga peoples' independence and imposed military rule over Nagalim from 1955. NNC set up the Federal Government of Nagaland in March 1956 with a military wing to drive out the Indian forces. In the next three months Naga army drove out the Indian forces from Nagalim barring a few points. India brought in more than a hundred thousand troops in re-enforcement and occupied Nagalim. The occupation army rounded up ten of thousands of Nagas in 59 concentration camps where many perished from water contamination and lack of food.

1952 Boycotted Indian elections: In 1952 with heavy military presence, the first Indian general election was imposed on the Nagas. I spite of the military threat, Nagas successfully boycotted the election.

1953 Indian Prime minister, Nehru brought the Burmese Prime minister, U Nu to Kohima and began the process of dividing Nagalim between the two countries. Human right abuses committed by Indian armed forces became rampant as they “searched the villages” for NNC elders who were by then branded “secessionists”.

1956 Nagas organized to drive oust Indian forces: NNC set up the Federal Government of Nagaland on 22 March with a military wing. India placed “Naga Hills district in Assam” under the Military rule on 2 April. Within fours of its formation, Naga Army drove out Indian forces from Nagalim barring a few points. India brought in large re-enforcement. Before the year end, there was “nearly one security troop for every adult male Naga in the Naga Hills”, says B.N. Mullik.

1958 Indian Parliament passes the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 – a re-incarnation of the much dreaded Armed Force Special Powers Ordinance 1942 of the era. The Act provides the Indian Armed forces legal immunity to “shoot to Kill” on mere suspicion, to enter, search, arrest and detain without. Having destroyed most the Naga villages and killed close to one hundred thousand Nagas, and rounded up thousands in 59 concentration camps built across the Naga Hills, India announced “amnesty” and asked NNC to accept “administrative autonomy”. Though reeling from the impact of massive destruction of life and means of subsistence, Nagas rejected it.

1960 In an attempt to divide Nagas, India conferred statehood (the existing State of Nagaland) on a small portion of Nagaland under its Foreign Ministry.

1963 The Indian State admitted to the aerial bombing of suspected guerrilla locations, of “Strategic hamletting” and “groupings” in which villages are forcibly relocated.

1964 Cease-fire and political negotiation: At the intervention of Bertrand Russell and Rev. Michael Scott [an old friend of Gandhiji] in 1964 India agreed to a cease-fire for peace talks. After several rounds of unproductive talks in 1966, Mr. R. Suissa, a member of the Tatar Hoho (member of Parliament of the Naga Nation), forwarded a proposal to the NCC which he had thoroughly discussed with the Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi. In the succeeding round of talk of Mrs. Gandhi, the Indian Prime Minister, conveyed her willingness to negotiate a Bhutan type status for Nagalim as a separate entity. But NNC rejected the offer and the talks broke off without result in 1967.

1967 Some leaders left the Federal Government of Nagaland and formed the “Revolution Military Government” with Indian support. It got dissolved in less than two years time and their members became Indian employees.

1972 The international boundary between India and Burma was officially drawn. In doing so they divided the Naga people between two nations. In some cases that border runs through villages and houses. NNC and its government were declared as “Unlawful”. The affairs of Nagaland State” was transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs to the Ministry of Home Affairs in an effort to project the Naga struggle for political rights as a “law and order problem”.

1975 India imposed the Shillong Accord on some of the Federal Government leaders. The Accord states that the Nagas leaders accept the Indian Constitution on their volition, will hand over their arms, and will formulate Naga problem for discussion in future. A people suffering from war exhaustion greeted the Shillong Accord with silent contempt. The National Assembly convened by the General Secretary of NNC, Th. Muivah 15-17 August 1976 at Suphao (in Eastern Naga Hills-Burma) rejected it as “the work of traitors”. However, NNC President, A.Z. Phizo and several other NNC elders, kept silent. This enabled the opportunist elements to join the surrendered leaders to organize, in collaboration with India, a vigilante force, in various names, like NNC, or Federal Army, or Peoples Militia of Nagaland,…The ground was left wide open for a bloody showdown between these forces and the National Resistance Forces.

1978 August 30 military coup was staged by a section of the Naga Army that was backed the Shillong accordists. All leaders of the NNC who did not support the Shillong Accord were taken captive by the military. All the office of the NNC and Federal Government of Nagaland were usurped by the pro -Shillong Accord military regime.

1979 After a number of fierce encounters with the traitors, the patriots took over the offices of the NNC and Federal Government. However, by recruiting various anti-socials, the remnance of Shillong Accord claimed to represent. They do this until today.

Khaplang then President of the Federal Government of Nagaland through the military coup denounced the organization and joined the patriotic forces leading to the merger of Eastern Nagaland (in Burma) and Western Nagaland (in India) at Nokpa village on the 30th January.

On September 9, the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights was formed in response to the long felt need of the Naga people to “Organize opposition” to the gross violations of human rights perpetuated by the Indian State.

1980 Raising a new National Resistance Organization. After the failure of the leadership of the NNC to carry on the Naga peoples struggle for self-determination, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) was formed. Under the leadership of Isak Chishi Swu, Khaplang and Th. Muivah, respectively as Chairman, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the NSCN. They formed a new Government, the Government of the Peoples Republic of Nagalim, GPRN.

1988 Division in NSCN: With NSCN at the leadership, National Movement once again regained respect and support of the people. But NSCN Vice President, SS. Khaplang came in for grave charges relating to his financial handling and moral behavior. As news of his staying away from NSCN Council meetings became known, Choumai, Commander of the Kachin Army, encouraged Khaplang to take over NSCN. With large supply of arms from India received through Choumai, Khaplang attacked the NSCN Council Headquarters on 30 April and killed more than sixty on the spot. He appointed himself the Chairman of NSCN. In the weeks that followed, Khaplang’s followers in coordination with the Indian Army and the Burmese Army killed more than one hundred members of the national movement.

Following the abortive coup, Khaplang’s group has been armed, financed and sheltered by the Indian agents and the Nagaland State Government under its Chief Minister, S.C.Jamir.

1997 Peace-talk: Isak and Muivah led NSCN (NSCN-IM) quickly recovered from the shock. From year 1990, India’s forces, both military and political, suffered heavy losses. It helped India’s leaders to realize that military cannot solve the problem. India began to consider non-military options and in 1995 invited NSCN to begin political negotiation at the highest without conditions at a mutually agreed third country. After two years of behind the scene preparations, they announced on 25 July 1997 their decision to enter into a “cease-fire agreement” effective from 1st August 1997to pave way for political negotiations.

(1995 Meeting between the Naga representatives Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah and the Prime Minister of India, Narasimha Rao at Paris in June. Preliminary talks on a prospective peace process. India’s Prime Minister’s met again with Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah in September in New York, USA.

1997 Meeting between Deve Gowda, Prime minister of India and Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah at Zurich in February. Continuing the preliminary peace talk process. Talks included proposition on a cease fire. March 4, prime Minister of India announced in the Parliament, his Government’s decision to enter into peace negotiation with the NSCN.

1997 The Indian Government and the NSCN on July 25 announced the Cease-fire to begin “UNCONDITIONAL PEACE-TALKS” stating:” That there be a total suspension of armed conflict between the two sides for three months, beginning on 1 August 1997”

1998 The Prime minister of India appoints the former governor of Mizoram Mr. Swaraj Khaushal as interlocutor for the talks. India’s team led by Prime Minister Vajpajee met the top leaders of the NSCN, Isak Swu, Khudao Yanthan and Th. Muivah in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The negotiations encountered innumerable difficulties. However, both sides have emerged stronger from the many ups and downs and on 11 July 2002 the Government of India in a Joint Communiqué with the NSCN, recognized the unique history and situation of the Nagas. The Government of India also renewed the invitation of the Prime Minister to the leaders of the NSCN to come to India to expedite the peace dialogue.

To strengthen the peace-process the Nagas held three major consultation meetings. The first national consultation lasting three weeks was held in Dimapur, Nagalim in 1999. People from all walks of life took part in this consultation on the invitation of the NSCN. Two more consultations were held in Bangkok Thailand in 2002.The national consultations expressed full confidence in the NSCN leading the Naga nation in the peace-talks.

Alongside the national consultations, Nagas have also launched National Reconciliation Process for healing within the society. They have also initiated dialogue with of other communities in their neighborhood and the general public in India.

Related articles:

1. India: Threat from Nagaland(1968),,9171,902255,00.html
2. Nagalim: Unbearable life in Myanmar and unwelcome in India(2004), UNPO,
3. Naga History: Chronology of Events from NISC(2002),
4.Nagaland's Rainbow In Asia's Darkness (16th - 20th Century)(2003), by Kaka D. Iralu,
5. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), Harvard University and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, NSAG(“non-state armed groups”)Project,

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