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NSCN-IM, other Naga groups observe 'Naga Plebiscite' together after 73 years, insist on 'sovereign rights'

Talking about the 'Naga plebiscite' conducted by Naga National Council, NSCN-IM vice-chairman Tongmeth Wangnao said, "It was the most powerful symbol of Naga people’s inalienable right for sovereignty".
Last Updated : 16 May 2024, 16:19 IST
Last Updated : 16 May 2024, 16:19 IST

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Guwahati: Naga rebel group in ceasefire, NSCN-IM, and several other civil society organisations on Thursday insisted on "sovereign rights" of the Nagas, while jointly commemorating the "Naga Plebiscite" of 1951, for the first time. 

The NSCN-IM have been commemorating the day at its "headquarters" at Hebron near Dimapur but the group, for the first time, invited civil society organisations such as Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers' Association, Naga Students Federation and Global Naga Forum. United Naga Council, Manipur, Tirap Changlang Longding People's Front, Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Naga People's Front and Naga People's Organisation, Myanmar were some other important invitees for the event.

Talking about the "Naga plebiscite" conducted by Naga National Council, NSCN-IM vice-chairman Tongmeth Wangnao said, "It was the most powerful symbol of Naga people’s inalienable right for sovereignty. Not only does it represent the virtues of being Nagas, it also ignited the flame of irreversible political identity of the Nagas as a sovereign nation".

He said through the "plebiscite", 99.9 per cent of Nagas had voted for a "sovereign Naga nation". He concluded his speech saying, "Let the world hear us today. In God’s name we observe Naga Plebiscite in consonance with the recognized unique history of the Nagas and Framework Agreement, after 73 years. This is to put on record once again the inalienable rights of the Nagas to be a sovereign nation. Thus, the sovereign rights of the Nagas rights as flaunted on May 16, 1951, will continue to remain imprinted indelibly in the psyche of the Nagas."

The event was organised at NSCN-IM "headquarters" at Hebron where the leaders and cadres of the group have been lodged since it signed a ceasefire with the government in 1997. Apeuna Iheilung, vice-president of Naga Mothers' Association appealed all Naga political groups including the NSCN-IM to for peace and reconciliation and "rededication to the spirit of Nagas as people beyond all borders and man-made boundaries".

Talks imbroglio

The joint commemoration of the Naga Plebiscite came days after NSCN-IM alleged that the Centre was trying to "backtrack and disown" the 2015 Framework Agreement that sought to find a "final solution" to the 76-year-long conflict. The Framework Agreement was signed in New Delhi on August 3, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top NSCN-IM leaders to end the country's longest conflict.

Nagas had declared "independence" in 1947 and launched an armed movement in which hundreds of Nagas and security forces died in the conflict that followed. This violence continued till 1997 when the NSCN-IM agreed for a ceasefire agreement with the Centre and continued negotiations.

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Published 16 May 2024, 16:19 IST

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