With the Naga peace talks said to be in the final stage to find a final solution to the decades-old Indo-Naga political issue, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) has made it clear that the people of Nagaland will not part with even an inch of their land for ‘pacification purpose’. 

Resolving to reaffirm its earlier stands on the impending settlement post-solution to the vexed Naga political issue, the council, in a statement issued by its president Toniho Yepthomi and general secretary Nribemo Ngullie, said the people of Nagaland are apprehensive that the Government of India may like to appease the negotiators with land that belongs to the private landowners in Nagaland. 

The statement said the territorial integrity of Nagaland state should be protected with the same yardstick as the territorial integrity of the neighbouring states is protected and so long as the integration of all the Naga contiguous areas is not possible. 

The council said it will be disastrous to sacrifice the lands of Intangki National Park and the Nagaland Special Development Zones in the foothill valleys from Dimapur to Tizit for rehabilitation purposes.  

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It added that neither the Centre nor the Nagaland government should force the indigenous landowners to accommodate outsiders in these ‘lands of ours’ without integration of all the Naga contiguous areas. 

The NTC affirmed that the Nagas of Nagaland cannot accept only ‘population integration’. It said the rights of ownership is of utmost importance and must be respected. 

It reiterated its adopted stand that if territorial and land integration is not possible at the moment, ‘we cannot opt for population integration’.     

The NTC also expressed apprehension about the proposed cultural organisation under the aegis of Pan Naga HoHo (PNH) for which the Government of India may like to approve its formation and funding. 

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As the objective of the PNH relates to tradition, culture and religious matters of the Nagas, the NTC pointed out that Article 371A of the Constitution comprehensively covers these characteristics with legal insulation from any outside interferences for the state of Nagaland.  

According to the council, the establishment of any parallel authority with the power of access to those aspects under Article 371A by the Centre will definitely create sufficient rooms for collisions and undue encroachment on the basic rights of the Nagas of Nagaland in particular. 

In the event of the formation of PNH, its headquarters should not be within the state of Nagaland, it stated. 

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com