Naga Peace Deal

Nagaland, one of the Seven Sisters, is known for their culture and their fight to form a separate nation. The article contemplates why the Naga’s have bloodied their history for decades to form a separate nation.

It is true that of all states in India, Nagaland has a unique history. We are sensitive to this historical fact. But this uniqueness has in no way diminished the spirit of patriotism among the Naga people.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Introduction

The people of Nagaland for over six decades have fought for recognition as a separate state and later a separate nation. To understand Naga’s need for a separate constitution and flag we need to understand the core reason for a separate union. Naga people for almost seven decades have fought for the right to be understood and recognized by the government. This long fought bloody war has come to an impasse where the Naga people, as well as the government, are eager to settle terms without any more bloodshed.

Nagaland shares a border with the Myanmar which provides the natives easy access to China mainly Tibet were the leaders and soldiers of the underground and taught how to fight. Nagas are recognized as a single tribe. The Nagas consist of 16 to 17 with no major tribes. These tribes differ from each other linguistically as well as culturally. The rule of British education came very fast and is almost a hundred percent and developed Christianity as a religion.

Nagaland’s History that has led to the Naga Peace Deal

A timeline of Naga history has been discussed as follows:

Angami Zapu Phizoalso known as the “Father of Nagas” founded Naga insurgency and his dream was to a sovereign Nagaland.

  • In 1956 the Nagas attacked the Indian army. The condition was grievous and led to many casualties within the armed forces and hence led the parliament to pass an Act to empower the Indian armed forces in 
  • 1958 Armed Forces Special Power Act was enacted to fight the Naga insurgency. 
  • In 1960 the Nagas seized the land of Indian army garrison and abducted a few personnel’s this was an embarrassment for the Indian government and led the talks of separation of Nagaland from the state Assam. 
  • In 1963 Nagaland was separated from Assam. But the fights and insurgencies continued. Later on, Tribes started to peel out from the underground as peace talks between the Indian government and Nagas started. Seams were the first tribe to come overground as their leader. Katio Sema supported the Indian army this brought an understanding between the two. He has assassinated at the age of 37 this incident angered the Sema’s. 
  • In 1969 Mowu Angaimi Nagaland’s army chief was captured by the Indian army. 
  • In 1971 East Pakistan was separated from Pakistan and renamed as Bangladesh. One way to enter China was blocked for the Nagas. 
  • Between 1972 -73 2650 insurgents surrendered. 
  • On 16 Aug 1973 Atheto Sema who was a well-respected leader among the Nagas came overground, he was a great soldier and respected within the armed forces as well. He surrendered and Ms. Gandhi’s government set up a BSF battalion for him where he was crowned as the 2nd Lt. and his boys who surrendered with him were granted the position of a BSF soldier. 

While Phizo was away Skato Su established himself as an advocator of the Nagas. He served as the member of parliament for 2 terms in Rajya Sabha. 

Shillong Peace Accord 11th January 1975 

The main clauses of this were:

  1. Nagas had to accept the Indian constitution unconditionally.
  2. The weapons had to be brought overground.
  3. Leaders will be given time to come to the final settlement but first was that they had to accept the Indian constitution unconditionally.

Phizo neither supported nor criticised but his brother signed it and hence was believed the treaty had its support.

  • 1st constitution for Nagaland was set up
  • 1985 they become quite powerful.
  • 2001 1st ceasefire took place between the centre and Nagas

Salient Features of the Naga Peace deal

The first demands of Nagas have been that they wanted a separate sovereign that included Nagaland as a whole and parts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. In response to this demand, the government has stated that a separate sovereign is out of the question. The present ceasefire has been the longest ceasefire between the central and the Nagas, but the nitty-gritty of the deal is still to be worked out. The central wanted to come to an accord by 31 October 2019. But still, there has been no major development.

In 2015 the NSCN-IM and government of India signed a peace accord that brought an end to the Naga insurgency that have been going on for six bloodied decades.

The main conflict has been on the separate constitution and national flag. Though in Shillong peace accord that took place in 1975 the main clause was that Nagas had to accept the Indian constitution unconditionally. The Nagas in their day to day life are governed by their customary laws. 

Constitution and Nagaland 

The Nagas time after time has demanded their separate constitution. India is a semi-federal state this means India is a mix of unitary as well as federal style of government. In the federal government, each state can have a separate set of laws. In India, as the true federation is not followed the constitution and other laws are uniform on every state with the exception until recently to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

After the abolishment of Article 370 that ceased the special privileges granted to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Naga people have been hesitant upon there privilege and protection that is granted to them in the Article 371A[i]of the Indian constitution that no act of the parliament will apply to the state of Nagaland if it is in respect of religion, social and cultural practices further on customary laws and ownership transaction of land and resources. 

Though India’s constitution ensures secularism under Article 25(2)(b)[ii]as well as ensures equality in Article 14[iii]of the Indian constitution.

Conclusion 

“Autonomy for Nagaland within the Indian union will be a more prudent course to follow dependent will mean tribal warfare no hospitals no schools no salts no trade will the planes general unhappiness.” 

Charles Ridley Pawsey

The culture of Nagas is very different from the rest of the states in India and hence they have always thought of them as a mismatch with India. But India is so incredible only because it is a set of mismatched states. Every state have a different culture, language and religion. India is state where customary laws prevails over the written law most of the time. The Indian government has a duty to peacefully listen to the Nagas and thief demands and act rationally. Further the Naga leaders have the duty to understand some of their demands are impossible and hence to act rationally and in the best interest of the Nagas present not only in Nagaland but all over India.

The main want of Nagas is to preserve the Naga way of life and their Christianity.


[i]Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,—

(a) no Act of Parliament in respect of—

(i) religious or social practices of the Nagas, (ii) Naga customary law and procedure,

(iii) administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law,

(iv) ownership and transfer of land and its resources,

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