Nagas rise as one to recommit to faith in FA
Source: The Sangai Express

Spt/Ukl/Imp, August 03 2023: The United Naga Council and many other organisations including All Naga Students Association Manipur observed the 8th anniversary of the signing of Framework Agreement today.

The Framework Agreement (FA) was signed between the Government of India and the NSCN on August 3, 2015 .

The United Naga Council (UNC) observed the day at its office at Senapati in the presence of leaders of different Naga civil society organisations.

Supporting the Framework Agreement, UNC general secretary Vareiyo Shatsang stated that from time immemorial, Nagas' socio-political existence has been unique in its own right.

They were guided by a common desire and expressed will to exist as "One people, one Nation" .

Each village functions as an independent democratic and sovereign republic, he said.

The rise of Naga Nationalism began much earlier than the Indian National Resistance, and the fierce attack on the Ahoms during the 12th century AD while they were intruding the Naga territories was one example of Nationalism, he said.

The Nagas were independent before the advent of the British.

No argument is needed to show that the Nagas are a separate people with their own customs, traditions and culture.

The Nagas ancestral domains were neither conquered nor annexed by consent and thus, its movement for self-determination gained momentum with the signing of the ceasefire in 1997 and the subsequent Framework Agreement on the 3rd August, 2015, he said.

Vareiyo Shatsang added the FA was signed recognising the unique history and position of the Nagas, embodying the spirit of shared sovereignty, for an enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the "two entities" respecting the Naga National Flag and Constitution.

However, unfortunately, the fate of the Framework Agreement hangs in balance as the commitment of the Govt of India fluctuates wildly every now and then.

In the event the talk fails, the UNC general secretary stated that a battle as a final showdown is inevitable to decide the future.

The fight is going to be tough but it is to be noted that the Naga movement is not a contest of strength.

It is a matter of right and wrong, just and unjust.

The truth shall triumph in the long run.

No sacrifice is too great when it comes to defending the people's inalienable rights, he said.

Shatsang then urged the gathering to keep their spirit high and never allow despair to overcome their minds.

People must have total faith.

The United Naga Council, as the apex organization of 20 tribes, will be the only organization standing for the cause of the Nagas, he stated.

A special prayer session for a logical settlement of Naga political issues was held, led by Rev K Daniel, president, Senapati Karong Area Baptist Union.

Samson Remei, former president of the UNC called August 3, 2015 a historic day and a landmark achievement for all Nagas.

The former president called on the gathering and all Naga leaders to continue to lend their best support.

Of the different agreements signed in the past, the Framework Agreement can be taken as the most important one for the Nagas, he said.

Leaders and representatives of Naga Women's Union, All Naga Students Association, Manipur, Naga People's Movement for Human Rights (South), Naga People's Organization, Senapati District Women's Association, Senapati District Students Association and others attended the programme.

On the FA anniversary, the All Naga Students Association, Manipur (ANSAM) reaffirmed their stand and support to the Agreement.

ANSAM, in a statement, said the FA was signed with the Government of India to bring an end to the protracted political struggle of the Nagas with the recognition of the "Naga Flag, Constitution and Integration" as our inalienable rights.

While stating that the FA had opened a new chapter for a logical and unique settlement of the Naga issue, ANSAM, however, expressed deep concern as the FA has not been implemented in letter and spirit even after 8 years of signing and 26 years of Naga political talks.

It urged the Government of India to implement the FA with the recognition of the 'Naga Flag, Constitution and Integration of the Naga people' .

At Ukhrul, Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), TSL, TKS, TMNL and other civil society organisations observed the anniversary at TNL Hall, Viewland.

At the observance, retired IAAS, Sword Vashum narrated the detailed historical background of the Naga National movement.

Nagas must stand firm for the truth while safeguarding their inherent rights, he said.

"Naga conceived the spirit of Nationalism after our great grandfathers went to Europe as labour corps in 1917-19.After they returned home, they formed the Naga Club to uphold the rights of the Naga and protect themselves from external forces," he said.

A memorandum was submitted to Simon Commission in 1929 mentioning that Nagas were never administered before, therefore Nagas should be given a choice of self determination after the British depart from India, he said.

"Our visionary leader AZ Phizo declared Naga's Independence on 14th August 1947, and this was culminated by the Naga Plebiscite of 1951 for total separation" .

Naga struggle for "self determination" has been suppressed and deprived for more than 7 decades.

As the Government of India has not fully implemented the FA, Naga CSOs have to wake up and take greater roles for bringing a solution.

Nagas' common aspirations can be achieved only when Nagas are united and firm on their stand, he said.

TNL vice president Jollyson R Shimray stated that the anniversary was observed to educate the younger generations about the Naga political issues.

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