Naga Republic News
In a show of solidarity of Naga aspiration and to demonstrate the collective desire and resolve as a people, a rare closed door meeting of leaders representing cross section of the Naga people was held on September 8. Representatives from different background including MLAs, political parties, Church, Naga civil society from Manipur, Assam and Nagaland besides the Forum for Naga Reconciliation took part.
Following the day long deliberation, a statement called the ‘Declaration of the Naga Collective Spirit’ (see below) was issued. The declaration was signed jointly by fourteen organizations representing different segment of Nagas.
The signatories included among others senior Minister CM Chang on behalf of the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance legislators; senior MLA Dr Ngangshi Ao on behalf of NPF legislators; Vice-President, Naga Mothers Association; President Naga Hoho; representative of NSF; Vice-President United Naga Council and Convenor, Forum for Naga Reconciliation.
The Naga Republic was able to get a copy of the declaration through social media.
Time to rebuild trust and relationship as good neighbors: In the two file photos, former Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang of the NPF is seen here with his counterparts from Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh during the 2017 Hornbill Festival. In a first of its kind, Nagaland played host to the Chief Ministers from neighboring States. (Below picture) A few months earlier, Manipur CM Biren Singh hosted a visit from then CM of Nagaland Dr Shurhozelie in what was seen to be a rare and historic visit to Imphal
The meeting of Naga organizations and elected representatives, both from the ruling PDA government and opposition NPF, comes at a crucial time with the Indo-Naga political talks in its final stages and amidst growing apprehension, especially in neighboring Manipur with the Imphal Valley based civil society organizations protesting the likely outcome of a Naga Peace Accord.
In what could perhaps be a historic first time, the meeting of Naga organizations and elected representatives has reached out to the ‘various neighbors who border Naga ancestral homeland’ calling on them to ‘embrace the common humanity we share’ together.
As part of a 4-point declaration that was signed after the meeting, the Naga leaders urged its neighbors “to partner” with the Nagas “in bringing positive changes to transform this region for the collective interest, security and well-being of all people”.
The declaration stated that ‘honouring the Naga historical and political rights” should not be at the “expense of our neighbor’s rights” and that similarly, “upholding our neighbors rights cannot be at the expense of Naga rights”.
As such the declaration pointed out that it required both the Nagas and their neighbors “to form relationships based on trust that breaks down the domestic walls and other boundaries that divide us”. While urging its neighbors to partner the Nagas, the declaration put out this message: “Our future is indeed intertwined, interconnected and interdependent”.
On the home front, the declaration while pointing to the Naga historical and political rights also mentions about the need “to respect the various distinct regional identities, aspirations and differences existing within the broader Naga consciousness”.
At the same time, the declaration also called for demonstrating “statesmanship” and to “step away from sectarian and divisive politics” in order to “embody a new vision for shared humanity” among the Nagas and also to continue pursuing the path of reconciliation and justpeace through non-violent means.
Earlier the meeting of Naga leaders also affirmed their solidarity as one people on the issue of Naga political and historical rights and pointing out that the “Naga people did not violate any agreement for union made with any nation in our history”. “This established the legitimacy and integrity of Naga rights”.
The meeting also recognized the present difficulties when Nagas “have been violently tossed between our inherent rights and the contemporary realities of geopolitical integration and sweeping economic and cultural changes”.
“Amidst these contemporary realities, we are determined to engage each other in finding meaningful ways to respond to challenges and explore ways forward”, the meeting affirmed.
See the ‘Declaration of the Naga Collective Spirit’ below: