Eastern Mirror Desk
Bhandari, May 10: Conflict of interest among Naga national workers has led to the formation of many armed Naga groups, according to senior NSCN (IM) functionary, V Horam.
‘Conflicts are part of human character. However, it is a matter of regret as conflicts of interest are not always in the best interest of the Naga nation; and a number of conflicts of interest have nothing to do with ideological clash or farsighted political vision but more to do with amassing personal wealth in the name of nationalism,’ said Horam, who is an executive member of the NSCN (IM)’s steering committee.
Participating in a ‘brainstorming session’ on the topic ‘The Naga journey-Hopes and challenges’ at the ongoing NSF conference on Friday, he said that whenever the NSCN (IM) expresses concern over the issue, they are accused of assuming a big-brother role and donning a holier-than-thou attitude.
Horam was critical of ‘some civil societies and tribe hohos’ that he alleged, were sponsoring the growth of factions ‘by advocating parallel taxation for all these political groups.’
“Such actions on their part directly encourages rise of more factions, thereby commercialising the Naga political struggle and, ridiculously, these organisations claim for equal status to give seemingly legitimacy to their organisations,” he said.
In the earlier days, he said, Naga civil societies and tribe hohos were the backbone of the Naga national movement. ‘But today, except for a few, division on the basis of tribe or region has harmed the very fabric of Naga society.’
According to him, a ‘high-level commission’ was formed to ‘expedite the realisation’ of one Naga national government but due to ‘various factors’, it could not materialise. He was nevertheless appreciative of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation for tirelessly working for forgiveness and peace within the Naga family.
Horam asserted that the framework agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and New Delhi “is outside the Indian Constitution.” He added that “all substantive issues” have been discussed, except for “Constitution and Naga national flag.”
“Without these two there is no shared sovereignty, coexistence and identity. Any agreement without these two issues would amount to merger, acceptance of Indian Constitution, and to live under the Indian flag. Therefore, it is not acceptable to us as it is contrary to the very principle and spirit of the framework agreement.”
Another panellist, Neingulo Krome, the general secretary of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, said that the Naga journey starting with the memorandum to the Simon Commission is replete with sacrifices and sufferings, punctuated by instances of missed opportunities.
Citing an instance, Krome suggested that had Nagas accepted the offer of “Crown Colony” in 1935, then Naga people might have been granted independence in 1985, similar to Hong Kong.
He said that if the framework agreement cannot guarantee sovereignty, then there would be more condemnations. Krome underscored the need for change in attitude to overcome challenges and misconceptions.
The other panellist, Alezo Venuh, envoy to the collective leadership of GPRN/NSCN and coordinator of the working committee of NNPGs, said that the ‘Naga revolutionary movement’ evolved from the larger understanding of the Nagas to free themselves from cultural annihilation and genocide perpetuated by the colonial and neo-colonial forces.
“The urge for independence and to live as one political and demographic entity became more and more prominent and the spirit of freedom spread along the Naga Hills.
“We need to look at the political designs of the British which majority of the Nagas in the hills never realised and this led to the conflict of understandings that boiled and fumed all along the Naga Hills and neighbourhood.”
According to him, Naga people need to look forward to have a pragmatic approach on the futuristic policies that includes the dynamics of political and socio-economic planning and growth.
“We need to pace the process to overcome the time lags and lapses that had severely afflicted our present state of affairs as this was not the time to find fault with each other or create public opinion on the failures.”
Venuh went on to say: “Sovereign powers of the Nagas are vested within the villages of every Naga community.”
He recounted that Champang villagers had issued a mining lease against one issued by the state government.
“We have to examine the impact of the exercise of authority of sovereign power by the village and where it took matters to.
“The positive impact has to be taken note of, instead of taking into cognisance the bearing on the decision of the Champang village council on the political rights of the Nagas, a large section of the Naga society denounced and decried this act”, he said.
(Related news in page 3)