Four unions under Khonoma village in Kohima district urged the government of India not to unwisely use force to treat the Nagas as people who “have no option but to keep fighting or surrender”.
“Without violence Nagas will fight to defend their rightful position, and their sovereignty shall never be compromised,” the presidents of the four unions said in a joint statement titled “Khonoma position on the Naga struggle” on Wednesday.
Khonoma is the first green village in Asia.
The joint statement was issued by the president of Khonoma Rüffüno Nagaland Nisavi Hieme, president of Semoma Union Kevisekho Chücha, president of Thevoma Union Asielie Whiso and president of Merhüma Union Megorüzo Chase.
The statement said Khonoma village has from the very beginning contributed her fair share to the launching and nurturing of the “heroic Naga struggle” to become a nation.
“Today her sons and daughters are humbly grateful and proud of the role their village too has played along with all other Naga villages and tribes to establish our people’s common identity and nationhood,” it said.
The statement also said the Naga struggle has revealed India cannot even discuss Naga sovereignty as India is a young democracy although a very ancient nation and civilisation.
“But that does not mean we are to treat our history as if it is not true or not important for our proper development,” it said.
Saying that the Nagas were not against India or anti-India when they declared their political identity as a sovereign, independent people and nation before the British left India, the statement said no malicious intention to harm India, and no hatred or bitterness motivated the Nagas.
“Hatred, the poison that creates conflicts and destruction, has come into the crisis today because of disrespect shown to the facts of our history.”
“The people of India should know the Nagas dared to claim the right and privilege their history entitled them to claim.”
“Their defence of the stated status at immense sacrifice till date clearly shows what their aspiration and their struggle for it mean to them,” it said.
The statement said it is clear to the Nagas that India has no right to treat the Naga struggle as “secessionist”, “separatist” or “anti-national” as the government of India has done thus far.
“The Nagas were never a part of India at any stage or any other neighbouring nations before the 1880 agreement to restore peaceful co-existence. The unilateral interpretation of the agreement by the British was the only confusion,” the statement said.
It said the Nagas have not asked India to give them sovereignty nor asking from India anything that is not legitimately theirs does not arise.
The Nagas expect India to recognise the facts of their history, it added.
Maintaining that today’s Nagas have understood India’s problem, the statement said it is extremely difficult for India to discuss the sovereignty issue with the Nagas.
“Therefore, whatever any settlement any Naga political group/s may reach with India will have to leave sovereignty out to wait for the day in the future when the situation” will improve and “India will be ready to discuss for a settlement with the Nagas of that time that will be honourable and acceptable to both sides,” it said.