Ethnic conflict in Nagaland
The ethnic conflict in Nagaland, in northeastern India, is an ongoing conflict fought between the ethnic Nagas and the governments of India and Myanmar. Nagaland inhabited by the Nagas is located at the tri-junction border of India on the West and South, north and Myanmar on the East.
"National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)", which wants an independent "greater Nagaland" to include territory now in Myanmar, based on ethnicity; and the "Naga National Council (Adino)".[full citation needed]
The question of "Naga Sovereignty" was put to plebiscite on 16 May 1951. To defend themselves, the Naga after much deliberation formed the armed wing of NNC, came to be known as NSG (Naga Safe Guards) under Kaito Sukhai.
1946 saw the creation of the Naga National Council (NNC) under Phizo's leadership. The NNC leaders and the Governor of Assam, Sir Akbar Hydari, signed a Nine-Point Agreement which granted Nagas rights over their lands and legislative and executive powers. The judicial capacity of Naga courts were empowered and no law from the provincial or central legislatures could affect this agreement. Very significantly, the agreement included a clause demanding that the Nagas be brought into the same administrative unit at the earliest. However, one clause stipulated
The Governor of Assam as the agent of the Government of India will have a special responsibility for a period of ten years to ensure that due observance of this agreement to be extended for a further period, or a new agreement regarding the future of the Naga people to be arrived at.
The interpretation of this clause has been contested between the Nagas and the Indian Government. To Nagas this clause meant independence from India at the end of the ten-year period. To the India Government this clause meant making a new agreement after the ten-year period if the present agreement did not address Naga issues sufficiently. Phizo rejected the Nine-Point Agreement to who the agreement fell short of dealing with the issue of Naga sovereignty. The NNC under Phizo's leadership declared Naga independence on 14 August 1947 and with success propagated the idea of Naga sovereignty throughout the Naga tribes. A Naga plebiscite was organised on 16 May 1951. The Naga struggle remained peaceful in the 1940s and early 1950s.
The Naga insurgency, climaxing in 1956, was an armed ethnic conflict led by the Naga National Council (NNC) which aimed for the secession of Naga territories from India. The more radical sectors of NNC created the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) which also included an underground Naga Army.
In the words of historian Benjamin Zachariah, ″It was in the north-east of India that the Nehruvian vision took on its most brutal and violent forms.″ The actions of mass murder and rape by the Indian defence forces could not endear to the Nagas a sense of belonging with the Indian nation. The Indian government coerced the dissenters into accepting their power with the application of Kautilya's advice to use internal force. Gandhian advice to engage with the aim of reaching a common ground through negotiations was also utilised. The Indian Government conceded a separate Naga state within the Indian Union in 1960 and the state was inaugurated in 1963.
Several rebel groups have operated in Nagaland since the mid-twentieth century, including the following:
- Naga National Council: a political organisation active in the late 1940s and early 1950s, which became separatist under Angami Zapu Phizo.
- Naga National Council (Adino) – NNC (Adino): the oldest political Naga organisation, now led by the daughter of Naga rebel A.Z. Phizo.
- National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah): formed on 31 January 1980 by Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S. S. Khaplang ADAMANT. They want to establish a ‘Greater Nagaland’ (‘Nagalim’ or the People’s Republic of Nagaland) based on Mao Tse Tung’s model.
- National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang): formed on 30 April 1988, its goal is to establish a ‘greater Nagaland’ based on ethnicity, comprising the Naga-dominated areas within India, and contiguous areas in Myanmar.
- Naga Federal Government: separatist movement active in Nagaland during the 1970s. After its leader was captured and the headquarters destroyed, NFG's activities decreased.
- Naga Federal Army: separatist guerrilla organisation active in the 1970s. Several hundred members of NFA reportedly have received training in China.
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