Kaka D. Iralu
Mission Compound, Kohima
Whereas some write ups have appeared in some local Dailies (dated September 6, 2018), regarding the above mentioned events and whereas, some sequence of events have been wrongly presented, I wish to make the following corrections for the Naga general public. I also offer myself to be corrected if I am wrong in my assessments.
1. While it is true that the Naga National Council (NNC) was not a party to either the 1964 ceasefire or the Shillong Accord of 1975, it is a fact that the NNC was all along kept informed about the proceedings of both the events.
2. The NNC being the political institution that created the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) to be its executive government, the FGN always reported back to the NNC on its political activities whether at the internal level or at the international levels.
3. In the case of the Shillong accord, the initiative for peace talks came from the Nagaland Peace Council (NPC). The NPC was mostly comprised of NBCC leaders like Rev Longri Ao, Rev. Kenneth Kerhuo etc. But within the NPC, there again was another Liaison Committee which was comprised of retired state Government servants and Indian Government representatives. This Council and Committee took up its works only after the backbone of the Naga Army was smashed through the massive Indian army search and destroy operations starting from 1971 to 1975.
4. President of the NNC and also Chairman of the NNC Central Executive Council, A.Z Phizo was kept informed of all these desperate situations developing in Nagaland. In fact, Phizo had been nominated by the Federal authorities to head the delegation for the Peace talks at Shillong, These desires of the FGN had all been communicated to the government of India (GOI) in writing and Phizo was also duly informed by the FGN to keep himself ready for the expected talks.
5. Suddenly, the Indian Government by-passed Phizo and the NNC and summoned the FGN representatives to Shillong where they were shown the already drafted Shillong Accord document. All the pleas of the Federal representatives to be allowed to consult their colleagues at Chedema Peace Camp were refused and they were compelled to sign the Shillong Accord document as “Underground Representatives.”
The corollary questions and implications:
1. If Phizo and the NNC had not been a party to the ceasefires and peace talks and the GOI had intentionally snubbed them, then why should Phizo have condemned the Shillong Accord and dragged the whole NNC Executive Council into the Shillong Accord controversy? We should also keep in mind that Phizo had written to Pushu Venu the Vice President of the NNC, that he would handle the Shillong Accord, if the GOI raised the issue as a solution to the Indo- Naga conflict.
2. Zashei, his colleagues, and the whole Naga army were definitely under tremendous pressure of either capture or death. But none of them either succumbed to the pressure or betrayed the nation at any juncture. Also, Zashei was not pressurized into implementing the second clause of the Shillong Accord. Rather, it was the Federal Emergency authorities that offered to deposit the arms as “a contribution towards disarmament and the restoration of the rule of law.” Here Zashei was acting very much within the parameters of his designated authority as President and Supreme Commander of the Naga army.
Therefore, let us once and for all stop harping on the Shillong Accord to justify our own mistakes.