Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Feb. 23: The stretch of road from Mandi House to Parliament Street in the national capital was a sea of humanity on Saturday as thousands of Nagas staged a peaceful march—Global Naga Mass Rally —to knock on the doors of the government of India to solve the much-delayed Indo-Naga political issue that has been dragging on for decades, despite several rounds of talks between the two parties.
One of the convenors of the rally told Eastern Mirror that it was “difficult to know the exact number” of people who participated in the rally but it ‘could be about 10,000.’ Nagas, many of them in traditional attire, took to the streets carrying placards and shouting slogans, demanding the government of India to fulfil its promise of solving the protracted Naga political issue.
Besides Nagas in Delhi and representatives from various Naga apex bodies like Naga Hoho, UNC, NPMHR, FNR and NTC, many well-wishers and organisations like South Asian Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) and National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) too expressed their solidarity with the Nagas.
“Today, India heard the loudest and most thunderous roar of Nagas on the streets of New Delhi and history was written. Today, the 23rd of February 2019, all the Nagas rose in unison! What an emotional sight!” said Maivio J Woba, one of the convenors of the rally. “The blood of the Nagas is boiling and Nagas cannot afford to wait any longer till an answer is given.”
“I am impressed by the presence of youngsters’ discipline and devotions to the cause of the Nagas’ self-rule and I am quite sure this will continue till they achieve their objective,” said Tapan Kumar Bose, former secretary general of SAFHR.
Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights secretary general said “(Naga political) solution will be there only if India is willing to recognise our rights”; and that Saturday’s rally has nothing to do with the upcoming election.
Though organised by the Naga Student Union Delhi (NSUD) in collaboration with Naga community in Delhi on the theme, “Global Nagas’ call for immediate political solution—honourable and acceptable,” Saturday’s rally was unique because of the involvement of the masses, including the Naga daispora from across the world.
“The rally is about the Naga people’s awakening. They want their voice to be heard, now. They’ve waited too patiently and for too long. The sleeping giant has awoken. Let the powers that be pay heed,” said Samuel Vio, a Naga based in Hong Kong.
“We appeal to (the) global community to pay their kind attention to the 10 million Nagas who are bleeding with much wounds and scars due to this (Indo-Naga political) issue. We appeal to them to urge the government of India to look into the Naga political issue seriously and engage them with all seriousness and find solution,” one of the convenors of the event to told Eastern Mirror.
The source also said that the public wants to remind the Indian government of the wise words that he claimed was once told by a Naga elder to Indian officials: “While Nagas (children) are knocking at the door, open the door and accept them. Once they stop knocking and leave, and enter the jungle, you will find them only at the sound of gunshot which is not desirable for India.”
The Naga political issue has remained unsolved to this day despite several rounds of peace talks between the government of India and NSCN (IM) since the two parties signed ceasefire in 1997 in an attempt to end Nagas’ six-decade-old struggle for self determination. In a significant move, the Indian government and NSCN (IM) signed the “historic” peace accord, a framework agreement for Naga peace, on August 3, 2015, and the Working Committee (WC) comprising six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) too have joined the talks. But no positive result has come out of the Indo-Naga peace talks till date.