Nagalim Voice May 2023
A BRIEF LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF INDO-NAGA PEACE PROCESS
Beginning from the 9 Point Agreement (Hydari Agreement) of 1947 to the Framework Agreement of 2015, India tested the nerves of the Nagas as it signed agreement after agreement but without any follow up in the implementation process that is commensurable to the spirit of the agreements.
9 POINT AGREEMENT
Following the failure of the sub-committee of the Constituent Assembly that met in Shillong to persuade NNC (Naga National Council) to join the Indian Union, Sir Akbar Hydari, the Governor of Assam came to Kohima to meet the NNC leaders. Finally, after three days of deliberation the first political agreement between the Nagas and the Government of India known as 9 Point Agreement (Hydari Agreement) was signed in June in 1947. Sir Akbar Hydari, the Governor of Assam signed on behalf of the Government of India whereas from the Naga side it was signed by moderate NNC President Aliba Imti and General General Secretary T. Sakhrie.
The preamble of the agreement rightly pointed out the right of the Nagas to develop themselves according to their freely expressed wishes. Thus, this agreement made most of moderate NNC members felt that the Naga’s right to become independent after the tenth year was safeguarded. But Indian Government had differing views and denied that such a provision was granted under the 9th clause of the agreement. It took just a matter of few days when the true colour of the Indian government was exposed. The Indian Constituent Assembly unilaterally bypassed the principles of the agreement while simultaneously Indian Armed Forces honed its war machinery to invade Naga Homeland. Sir Akbar Hydari went to the extent to warn the Naga delegates that if they refused to join the Indian Union, India would use force against them, giving the Nagas three days deadline to decide. Such a threat coming from Sir Akbar Hydari was also considered as an insult to the pride of the Naga leaders. More importantly, this threat was taken as a challenge forcing the NNC leaders to put their foot down to defend the rights of the Nagas. Ultimately, the Naga public rejected the Hydari’s agreement within the three days deadline given by Sir Akbar.
Phizo also outrightly rejected the agreement as he understood that the Indian government had no intention of honouring it.
The Nagas thus consider the 9 Point Agreement to be the first act of treason.
The infamous Shillong Accord was signed during the tumultuous period of “National Emergency” during the rule of Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Taking advantage of this precarious political scenario, the Indian State launched series of military operations and pressured known political leaders of the resistance movement with threats and undemocratic means. It was under these extremely compelling circumstances that, with no formal international intervention or support of any kind, that NNC members belonging to the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), under duress, signed the Shillong Accord on November 11, 1975, which states “on their own volition, they accept, without condition, the Constitution of India.” They agreed to surrender their arms, and in due course formulate other issues for settlement.
The Indian Armed Forces and intelligence agencies warned against any criticism against the Accord. However, by January 25, 1976, the date was set for completion of the surrender of arms. The arms deposited were far less than what was expected. Only 150 arms deposited, which the Indian Army later secretly disfigured all to make it un-useable. The majority of the Nagas had rejected the Accord. By mid-June 1979, hundreds of Naga villages were placed under a curfew imposed by the Indian Government as military operations resumed against those who opposed the Accord.
Following the signing of the Accord, NNC/FGN members were placed under the “Rehabilitation Package” provided by the Indian Government. Accordingly, the NNC members were confined in designated camps and provided with all essential basic possessions including security protection by the Indian Government. This pact of “Rehabilitation” produced dependency for the NNC upon the Indian Government, which has continued until the present day, and consequently contradicts and destroyed the very political legitimacy and existence on which NNC first established its relevance in 1946.
The irony of the situation was that the signatories of the Accord did not consult the top leaders of NNC. This sounded the death knell for the accord.
It is on record that when Venyiyi Rakho, a member of the delegation was explained the meaning of the three clauses, he walked out. He said he would have nothing to do with the agreement until Phizo gave the clearance from London or Muivah from across the border.
On August 15-16, 1976, a Naga National Assembly was held where leaders of the Naga Resistance Movement denounced the Shillong Accord as a “sell-out” of the Naga rights, and announced the continuation of the struggle.
16 POINT AGREEMENT
The much despised 16-Point Agreement is all about the 16 Point proposals submitted to Nehru on July 16, 1960 by a bunch of collaborators under the nomenclature of Naga People’s Convention (NPC), created by the Government of India. No wonder it was manipulated by India with the sole purpose to nullify the 1951 Naga Plebiscite conducted by Naga National Council (NNC). NPC was the brainchild of SM Dutt, the then Deputy Director of the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The factual status of the 16 Point Agreement was that it is never a political settlement between the Nagas and the Government of India because the agreement was not the result of a political negotiation process, but merely a charter of points, which the NPC agreed upon at the insistence of the Indian State. It was in fact a political settlement made with a non-political organization. Thus it failed to show up as a valid political document. Moreover, the day the Second Indo-Naga Ceasefire was signed in 1997 and started political negotiations it override the 16 Point Agreement automatically to make it no more a valid document.
The establishment of the Nagaland State that followed the 16 Point Agreement did little to improve Indo-Naga relations, rather it deepened acrimony. Not having either the mandate or the expressed will of the people, the Nagas rejected the 16-Point Agreement. Truth be told, that AZ Phizo and the 99.9% Nagas of the Plebiscite, refused to surrender to the treacherous betrayal of the 16-Point Agreement. As testified by the acrimonious development, the 16 Point Agreement is the greatest betrayal that took place in the history of the Naga political movement. The Government of India, not stopping its policy of flattery is desperately trying to push the re-edited 16 Point Agreement in collusion with some collaborators.
THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT
More than 25 years gone since the Indo-Naga political dialogue started after the historic second Indo-Naga ceasefire of 1997. But the Government of India is still fiddling around the Framework Agreement of the 3rd August, 2015 even after more than seven years and helplessly attempting the impossible on the non-negotiable issue of the Naga National Flag and Constitution.
It would be exercise in futility for India to expect NSCN to place these two issues that symbolize the Naga national identity on the bargaining table in exchange for something to hasten the Naga political solution.
NSCN has done what is politically necessary to be done by signing the historic Framework Agreement on the 3rd August, 2015. Now the ball is in the court of the Government of India to implement it.
The Framework Agreement was not a clandestine agreement but the world was made to bear witness as the high profile signing ceremony was live telecast all over the world. The Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi who supervised the signing ceremony held right in the court yard of his official residence went further to call up all political leaders of India to informed them that he has solved the longest insurgency issue in Southeast Asia.