Home office frees Naga tribesmen

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The four Naga tribesmen who were detained at London airport.


‘Citizens of the commonwealth’


The four Naga tribesmen who were detained at London airport on Monday night were released from custody last night.

A Home Office statement said: “Four persons describing themselves as Nagas were refused leave to land at London airport yesterday because the documents on which they were travelling did not satisfy the immigration officer as to their identity and their nationality.”

“These documents have now been further examined and other available information has been considered; and as a result the Home Secretary has given instructions to admit them into this country as Commonwealth citizens”.

A Home Office official added that no time limit had been placed on the men’s length of stay.

Leave to issue writ

Earlier in the day lawyers acting for them had been granted leave to issue a writ of habeas corpus challenging the detention order. This writ would have been returnable on Thursday, but the proceedings would now be dropped, a spokesman for the men’s solicitors said.

On their release the four, General SukhaiKaito, Major-General Mowu, Mr KhadaoYanthan and Mr Yongkong, were met by Mr A.Z Phizo, President of the Naga National Council, Mr GN Patterson, Director of the International Committee for the Study of Group Rights and their legal advisers before being taken to Mr Patterson’s home.

His wife, Margaret said last night: “If all goes well, they will be here for three or four weeks before flying out to America”.

The object of the four leaders’ visit is to present their case for independence from India to the British people.

Commenting on this in relation to the Home Secretary’s decision a spokesman for the committee said: “As far as we are concerned our object was to get these men into the country so that their case could be heard; this has now been achieved”,

Four-month trek

Mr KhadaoYanthan spoke last night of their four-month trek through Indian lines from Nagaland to Pakistan to reach a London-based aircraft at Karachi. Accompanied by 153 Naga soldiers they hacked their way through jungle and swam a river as wide as the Thames. Those who could swim towed those who could not.

“Twice we were ambushed by Indian soldiers but none of us was killed”. When they reached Pakistan he and the other three men, Mr Yongkong, General Kaito and Major-General Mowu, left for Britain to join Phizo in his fight to bring the country’s independence claims to the world’s attention.

Reported in The Times on Wednesday, September 12, 1962

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