The Ukhrul Divisional Unit of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) (in Manipur) submitted a memorandum on Tuesday to His Excellency Ambassador of France to India Alexander Ziegler seeking immediate French intervention in the Indo-Naga international armed conflict.
In the memorandum, the NPF has mentioned that the Nagas have a “historical reason” to expect due political intervention on the part of the French Government in resolving the prolonged historical problem of Indo-Naga international armed conflict.
To bring in the ‘French connect’, the NPF wrote in the memorandum that about 100 years ago, in the spring of 1917, about 2,000 Naga Labour Corps were last deployed by the British to France mostly in Marseilles as labourers for maintaining the “lines of communication” in the middle of World War I.
The memorandum further mentioned that the Naga labourers were engaged in works like digging trenches, construction, unloading military supplies, handling cargos at the ports, maintaining roads, filling up of shell-holes and rolling up of barbed wires, etc. Most of these Naga labourers died an “unceremonious death” never to return back home.
Drawing the French Ambassador’s attention to the historical background of the Nagas, the memorandum further mentioned that prior to the advent of the British in India, Nagas politically remained an independent nation without any history of prior foreign subjugation with each village existing as a democratic republic on its own in the line of the early Greek City States as distinct from the British Indian Empire.
The memorandum concluded by stating that in due recognition of this separate political and historical entity, the British consistently dealt with the Nagas through treaties and it was only during the period of 1832-1880 that the British came to occupy a portion of the south-eastern part of the Naga territory which was termed as the ‘British District’ and the larger part of the Naga territory which was left unoccupied was termed as the ‘Free Naga Territory’.