NPF seeks France's help to resolve Naga conflict

The party, which was in power in the state till March this year, recently submitted a memorandum to Alexander Ziegler, the French ambassador to India. Representative image.

The Opposition party in Nagaland, the Naga People's Front (NPF), has sought France's intervention in the seven-decade-old Naga conflict.

This comes at time when the globe is observing the 100-years of the end of World War-I.

NPF has reminded France about the "service" Naga Labour Corps had rendered during the war while seeking latter’s intervention to resolve the ‘Indo-Naga political conflict,’ which it called a British-leftover.

The party, which was in power in the state till March this year, recently submitted a memorandum to Alexander Ziegler, the French ambassador to India.

“It may be recalled that about 100 years ago in the spring of 1917, about 2,000 Naga Labour Corps were last deployed by the British to France, mostly in Marseilles as labourers to maintain the line of communication in the midst of the WW-I," the memorandum said.

"They (Naga Labour Corps) were engaged in works ranging from digging trenches, construction, unloading military supplies, handing cargos at the ports, upkeep of roads, filling up of shell holes and rolling up of barbed wires. Most of whom had died an unceremonious death there and never returned to their homeland again,” it said as it apparently tried to impress upon the French government for intervention, as a “payback” to the Corps' service.

The deployment for the war, which cost an estimated 10 million lives, was made in response to the calls made by secretary of state for India who had asked the viceroy of India in January 1917 to supply 50,000 labourers for France.

The NPF said that prior to the advent of the British, Nagas politically remained an independent nation without any history of prior foreign subjugation with each village existing as a democratic republic on its own in the form of early Greek city-states as distinct from the British Indian-Empire.

Nagaland has seen armed conflicts led by NSCN (IM), till it signed a ceasefire with the government in 1997.

The outfit had signed a broad frame work agreement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2015, and is expected to sign a final agreement soon for a “permanent solution” to the country’s longest political conflict.

 “In due recognition of this separate historical and political entity, the British consistently dealt with the Nagas through treaties and it was only during the period of 1832-1880 that the British came to occupy a portion of Southeastern part of the Naga territory, which came to be termed as British district and whereas the larger part of the Naga territory was left unoccupied,” the NPF said.

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NPF seeks France's help to resolve Naga conflict

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