NNPG’s Naga Independence Day speech flags Manipur killings, Forest Act


“It is also deeply disturbing that Naga tribes in Manipur led by United Naga Council (UNC) are simply watching and waiting as Meiteis and Kukis inflict catastrophic destruction against one another,” NNPG convener, N Kitovi Zhimomi said in his ‘Naga Independence Day’ speech.

Naga rebels claim that when Britishers left India on August 14, 1947, they were ‘left as an independent community’.

The Naga insurgency has survived since then and now peace parleys between the central government and various Naga militant groups have been on since August 1997.

Expressing concern at the violence, Kitovi pointed out that, “Kukis will remain eternal neighbours of Tangkhuls and other tribes (Nagas)…sharing the same Christianity faith”.

In reference to a rally organised by UNC recently wherein it passed a resolution seeking early settlement to the Naga peace talks, Kitovi said, “Why was the rally not for peace, tolerance and communal harmony in Manipur? This is insensitive and inhuman conduct on the part of UNC. These apex Naga Civil societies ….became the mouthpieces of a particular faction. They failed to differentiate between illusion and reality”.

He further stated: “Today, with ropes around their necks, these apex bodies are unable to even comment when the entire neighbourhood (major parts of Manipur) is on fire”.

However, the resolution at the UNC rally on August 9 has rekindled hope of an early solution.

UNC, the apex body of the Naga communities in Manipur, has demanded an early resolution on the Naga peace process while cautioning the Centre against any attempt to address the demands of any other community that could lead to the disintegration of the land of the Nagas.

The Meiteis, Nagas, and Kukis are the three major communities in Manipur.

The NSCN-Unification faction led by Neokpao Konyak and N Kitovi Zhimomi is the principal force behind the NNPG which is all for an early signing of a final peace pact with the central government. Kitovi is the convener of the NNPG.

Kitovi in his speech at a function organised at their designated camp referred to the newly enacted Forest Conservation Amendment Act, 2023.

“At the core, this amendment act, to the Naga people, is against the spirit of the Agreed Position signed on 17th November,

2017 between Govt of India and NNPGs. The Indo-Naga political negotiations have traversed the subject matter based on historical and political reasons. The Nagaland state government headed by the Chief Minister (Neiphiu Rio) must reflect the sentiment of the Naga people in the media on the subject of land, resources and utilisation in Nagaland.”

The Agreed Position was signed in 2017 bringing NNPG (the umbrella body of seven militant groups) together for talks with the central government.

He said the Naga people are the “masters over their land” and their voices will be final and pointed out that land and its ownership is the one reason why the Indo-Naga political conflict began.

“It is not wise on the part of the Nagaland Government to make haphazard comments on inalienable and emotive issues beyond their chair and which will affect future generation Nagas,” he said.

In his message on the occasion, Q. Tuccu, President of rival group, NSCN-IM, paid rich homage to Mahatma Gandhi for appreciating the Naga people’s sentiment those days.

“Today I bow to Mahatma Gandhi for being a sagacious leader of great insight. We are heavily indebted to him for his courage to stand up for the historical and political rights of the Nagas,” Q. Tuccu said.

Another senior Naga militant leader Thinoselie M Keyho, president of Naga National Council (NNC), tried to reach out to all factional leaders and said, “I want to send out a special appeal to all my former colleagues who are now in different camps to rally together again under the slogan, ‘Nagas are one nation, one people’.”

Since 2016-17, Naga people enthusiastically await the August 15th Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi expecting a major announcement of breakthrough in Naga peace talks. Of course Modi’s speech on Tuesday will be the last and ninth such speech before next year’s due elections in April-May 2024.

In his two-hour long speech in Lok Sabha on August 10, the Prime Minister skipped any specific and detailed reference to the ongoing Naga peace talks or the hurdles faced.

(Nirendra Dev is a New Delhi-based journalist. He is also author of the books ‘The Talking Guns: North East India’,

and ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’. Views expressed are personal)



About Author

error: Content is protected !!

Maintain by Designwell Infotech