APO calls for trust and understanding among Nagas

Reaffirms support for 1951 Plebiscite

Kohima, September 27 (MExN): The Angami Public Organization (APO) declared its stand on the settlement of the Indo-Naga issue through a statement issued on Sunday.

Noting the ‘crucial moment’ for the Naga struggle, the APO stated that the “choices made by the leaders involved will decisively shape the future of tomorrow's Nagas for good or ill.”

The Organization expressed that the ‘right solution’ can be achieved “if the genuine apprehensions and concerns of different groups are understood and addressed and not treated lightly or ignored…”

It stressed the need for a conducive atmosphere of “trust and understanding within the Naga family with all sections of society making their honest contribution for lasting parties to resolve the issue without further delay.”

It further stated that the Angamis have always stood by the terms of the Naga Plebiscite of 1951. “APO stands by the Plebiscite. This position remains unchanged,” the statement added.

The APO stressed that the choices made by the Nagas over the years from the British rule to the Simon Commission in 1929, their reaffirmation of the same position 18 years later in the declaration of independence on August 14, 1947 and the Plebiscite of 1951 are all a matter of record.

Further, the APO stated that the Naga struggle for their aspirations cannot be characterized as one with any intention to cause harm to India.

“To declare we are incapable of causing harm to our neighbor is to state the obvious. But Nagas keep repeating it for the Indian public to understand the truth,” it added.

The APO said that the Nagas fought the British invasion of their land at a time when the Nagas had not yet come to know India or Burma in any political shape or form. The Nagas had no connection with these neighbors before the British came, the APO stated.

Adding that the Nagas were not “anti or against the British created India and Burma and their peoples in any way,” the APO added that, “To the Nagas the moral, legal and political authority of their struggle comes from these unique facts.”

In this regard, the APO stated that if India and Myanmar do not discuss the ‘core issue’ of sovereignty in their negotiations with the Nagas, then any settlement that may be reached by any group would be ‘interim’ and “does not change the Naga position of sovereignty.”

Expressing hope that the Indian policy shapers would see the long term good for both sides,  the APO assured that India would not be “damaged by doing what will be best and wise…”

‘A divided house cannot stand’
The APO took a strong stand for restoration of unity among Nagas and stated that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

On what may emerge from the negotiations by the two groups, the APO asserted that “it must not damage what Nagas always had or have achieved but be honorable and acceptable to Nagas and India, therefore workable.”

Appealing for acknowledgement and appreciation of each other’s contribution, the APO said that “We have to cease blaming and destroying one another for what we have not yet achieved.”

"Nagas henceforth, should thank Almighty God and acknowledge and appreciate one another's contribution for what we have achieved together,"it said.

The Organization highlighted the need to reach out in humility and transparency and ‘far seeing willingness to our neighbors’ to bring about a common stability for the region. This, according to the APO, is of number one priority for economic development.

“The need for mutual trust and co-operation built on genuine goodwill for one another is desperate,” it added.

Stating that Nagas have become ‘a people and a nation’, the APO said that it is not a small achievement. 

“Whether we consolidate it and build on it or destroy it will reveal what motivates us. It is up to us,” it said.