This series on Naga political developments is not an exhaustive list but a collection of some major events which may help understand the chronology of events on Naga political developments. This series not only covers insurgency / Naga separatism but other aspects as well.
The roots of Naga separatism precede the India’s Independence. Way back in 1929, when the Independence Movement of India gained momentum, the Naga leaders urged the British not to attach the Naga territory with India. Under the banner of the “Naga Club”, the Nagas petitioned the Simon Commission that they should be left alone to determine their future as in the past and not forced to be ruled by Indians. With recommendations of the Simon Commission, the Government of India Act 1935 declared the “Naga Hills District” to be treated as “Excluded Areas”. On 19 July 1947, a Naga delegation met Mahatma Gandhi at the Bhangi Colony in Delhi and told him that they were resolved to declare their independence a day before India would do so, on 14 August 1947. Gandhi assured the delegation that under no circumstances would force be used against the Nagas, who, according to him, were free to stay out of the Indian Union, if they desired so.
Chronology of Naga Political Developments – Part One
1826: The British annexed Assam in 1826.
1832– First contact between the British and the Nagas happened when Captain Jenkins and Lieutenant Pemberton escorted by Raja Gumbeer Singh‘s Manipur troops forced a passage through the Naga areas for a strategic survey of road communication between Assam and Manipur.
1866: Creation of Naga Hills district
- The Naga Hills district was created in 1866 by the Government of British India and Naga Hills became a district of Assam Province with its headquarters at Samaguting (present day Chumukedima).
- The first police outpost was established in the Naga Hills at Samaguting in 1866, which was later shifted to Kohima in 1888.
1918 – Formation of Naga Club
- Naga Club – the first sign of Naga resistance – provided the socio-political foundation for the Naga nationalist movement.
- During the Kuki revolt (1917–19) and the World War I (1914–18), the British Government recruited a number of labourers and porters from the Naga tribes. As part of the labour corps, around 2000 Nagas were sent to France, where, alienated from the other British Indian troops, they developed a sense of unity. They agreed that after returning to their homeland, they will work towards unity and friendship among the various Naga tribes. These Nagas, together with the British officials, formed the Naga Club in 1918.
1919: Declaration of the Naga Hills District as a “Backward Tract”
The Government of India Act 1919 declared the Naga Hills District as a “Backward Tract”. The area was to be treated as an entity separate from the British Indian Empire.
1929: Memorandum to the Simon Commission
Naga Club submitted memorandum to the Simon Commission requesting that the Nagas should be given a choice of self-determination after the British departure from India.
1939, April 1: British District “Naga Hills” declared as “Naga Hills Excluded Area” under the Government of India.
1945, April: Formation of Naga Hills District Tribal Council
- In April 1945, the deputy commissioner of the Naga Hills District, C. R. Pawsey, established the Naga Hills District Tribal Council as a forum of the various Naga groups in the district.
- Naga Hills District Tribal Council replaced the Naga Club.
1946, February 2: Formation of Naga National Council (NNC)
- In February 1946, Naga Hills District Tribal Council was reorganized as a political organization called Naga National Council (NNC). Naga National Council (NNC) was formed on 2nd February 1946 at Wokha in Lotha Region sponsored by the NHDTC / Naga Club.
- NNC’s objective was to work out the terms of relationship with the Government of India after the British withdrawal. Mr. T. Aliba Imti became the 1st President of the NNC.
- NNC had two central councils, one each at Kohima and Mokokchung. Each central council was split into a number of tribal councils, which were further split into sub-tribal councils. Generally, a sub-tribal council was formed with five villages. Members were not elected, but chosen by the NNC leadership.
1946, June: Demand for Autonomy
- In June 1946, a memorandum was presented to the British Government wherein the NNC demanded an autonomous status for the Naga region. NNC passed a resolution on 19 June 1946 at Wokha in Mokokchung division – that it was against grouping of Assam in Bengal, and wanted the Naga Hills District to be included in an autonomous Assam in the independent India. It further emphasized local autonomy for the Naga Hills District, and a separate electorate for the Naga tribes.
1947, February 20: Demand for Interim Government
The Nagas demanded an Interim Government(Guardian power), effected prior to the British departure, for a period of ten years and self-determination there after.
1947, June 26: Naga-Akbar Hydari Accord, 1947 or The Nine-Points Agreement
The Naga-Akbar Hydari Accord, 1947 or The Nine-Points Agreement (Kohima, 26-28 June 1947) signed by the Naga National Council (NNC) and the Governor of Assam.
- On June 26, 1947, Sir Muhammad Saleh Akbar Hydari, the Governor of Assam, reached a Nine-Points Agreement with the Naga leaders with moderates like T Sakhrie and Aliba Imti.
- The 9-point accord was signed between the then Governor of Assam, Akbar Hydari and the representatives of the Naga National Council at Kohima after three days of deliberation. The following Tribes represented at discussions on the 26th, 27th and 28th June, 1947 at Kohima: Western Angamis, Eastern Angamis, Kukis, Kacha Nagas (Mzemi), Rengmas, Semas, Lothas,Aos,Sangtams,Changs.
- It was decided that the Nagas would be granted judicial, executive and legislative powers, as well as autonomy on land, taxation related matters. Another point in the agreement was to bring back land transferred to the Sibsagar and Nowgong Districts in the past and unification of Naga territories from nearby districts into the Naga Hills District.
- The period of this Nine Points agreement was for 10 years at the end of which the Nagas could choose between extending the agreement or a new agreement.
- However, the Indian Constituent Assembly refused to ratify The Naga-Akbar Hydari Accord. The Naga leaders envisaged a sovereign state with India as a “Guardian Power” for ten years, while the Indian Constituent Assembly concluded that the Nine Points Agreement guaranteed only a “district autonomy within the Indian Constitution”.
1947, July 19 : NNC meeting with Mahatma Gandhi
On 19 July 1947, an eleven-member Naga delegation led by A Z Phizo met the Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi at Delhi to discuss the issue of Naga autonomy and informed him of the decision by the Nagas to declare Independence.
1947, August 14 : Declaration of Naga Independence
On 14th August 1947, the NNC formally declared independence to the outside world by hoisting their national flag. Information about this declaration was also cabled to the United Nations as well as to Great Britain.
1947, August 15 : Independence of India
1948, January 4: Burma obtained independence from British
The Burmese obtained independence from the British Colonial rule on 4th January 1948. The Burmese Government claimed the Eastern part of Nagaland was an integral part of the Myanmar Union. The Eastern Nagas therefore fought against the Burmese army in the 1950s.
1950, December 28: Angami Zapu Phizo elected President of NNC on December 28, 1950
1951, May 16 : Naga Plebiscite for sovereignty
- Naga Plebiscite of 1951 organised by the NNC – 99.9% of the Nagas voted in favour of a sovereign state. Assam Governor Shri. Jairamdas Doulatram visited and Memorandum for independence submitted to him.
- Source: PHIZO’S PLEBISCITE SPEECH http://www.neuenhofer.de/guenter/nagaland/phizo.html
1952, January 25 : First General election of free India started
- The Nagas did not participate in the election.
1952, October 18 : Zasibito (from Jotsoma) a Naga leader and Asstt. Judge, Court of KCC, is killed by a Indian Officer on the main road of Kohima.
1953, March 3 : Nagas walked out on Nehru
- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and Mr. U Nu, Burmese Prime Minister visited Kohima in 1953.
- A good number of Nagas gathered at Local Ground in Kohima to see Nehru. But before Nehru spoke to the crowd, an announcement was made that the Nagas would not be allowed to meet Nehru to submit a memorandum. In protest, the spectators started leaving the meeting Nehru was addressing.
1953: Massive crackdown on NNC
- Troops in large numbers were moved by the Government of India into the Naga hills to crackdown on NNC and its activities.
1954, July 4: NNC established the Naga Supreme Court on July 4, 1954
1956, January: The Naga Hills District was declared a “Disturbed Area”, putting it under the Indian Army’s command.
1956, January 14 : The Yehzabo (Constitution) of Nagaland was approved on 14th January 1956 by NNC.
1956, March 22 : Formation of Federal Government Nagaland (FGN) by NNC
- Following the Yehzabo, the Federal Government Nagaland (FGN) was formed on 22nd March 1956 under the aegis of the Naga National Council.
- This Federal Government was formed with the Nagas of the “Naga Hills Excluded Areas” and the independent Nagas of “ Free Nagaland”.
- Also on the same day the name of Naga country “Nagaland” was approved by the Tatar Hoho (Parliament) of the FGN.
- Along with FGN, an underground armed wing Naga Federal Army (NFA) was also formed.
1956, June: Formation of Naga People’s Convention
- The Deputy Director of the Indian Intelligence Bureau (I.B.), S.M. Dutt , convened a meeting of the moderate Naga leaders, and named it the “Working Committee Meeting” for calling a convention in August. From these meetings the so-called Naga People’s Convention was formed.
1956, August 13: Farewell service of A.Z. Phizo for Alee (Foreign) Mission in 1956
- NNC decides to send A.Z. Phizo on a Foreign Mission to inform the world about the sufferings and plight of the Naga people in the hands of the Indian army. Farewell service of A.Z. Phizo was conducted on 13th August 1956 at Phensenyu village, Rengma Region.
- He managed to reach London, U.K., on 12th June 1960. On 8th October 1960 he submitted a memorandum to the United Nations Organisation (UNO) attached with a document called “The fate of the Naga people – An appeal to the world.” In this memorandum he appealed to the world to intervene in the Indo-Naga conflict.
1957, August 22 to 26 : The first Naga People’s Convention (NPC) at Kohima.
- The Naga People’s Convention held in 1957 had demanded that the Naga hills district of Assam and the Tuensang Frontier Division of North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) be merged into a single unit. The demand, which later led to the formatin of Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA).
1957, December 1: Creation of Naga Hills-Tuensang Area
- On 1 December 1957, Tuensang Frontier Division was separated from NEFA and attached to the newly formed Naga Hills District to form a centrally governed Naga Hills-Tuensang Area. (W.e.f. 1st December, 1957, vide notification No.S.R.O.3843, dated 30-11-1957 Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II- Section 3, page 2877} .
1958, 21st to 23rd May: The Second Naga People’s Convention at Ungma, Mokokchung
- The significant outcome of the Second Naga People’s Convention was the sixteen-point proposal, which envisaged the formation of a new state to be known as Nagaland within the Indian Union comprising the territories of the Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA).
- The Convention accepted the draft for a new Agreement with the Indian Government later to be known as ” Sixteenth Point Agreement”.
1958, September 11: The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act enacted
- To quell the raising insurgency, military actions were intensified and government inducted Armed Forces and enforced Armed Forced (Special Powers) Act in on 11 September, 1958.
1959, October 22nd to 26th : The Third Naga People’s Convention was held at Mokokchung.
- The sixteen-point proposal was placed for approval before the third Naga Peoples’ Convention which met at Mokokchung from 22nd to 26th October in 1959.
- Dr Imkongliba Ao, was one of the most instrumental figure in the drafting of the 16 Point Proposal.
1960, July 26 : Sixteen-point Agreement
- Sixteen-point Agreement with the Naga People’s Convention leading to the formation of Nagalnad state within India.
- “The territories that were heretofore known as the Naga Hills-Tuensang Area under the Naga Hills-Tuensang Area Act, 1957, shall form a State within the Indian Union and he hereafter known as Nagaland.”
- General Shrinagesh, who was the first GOC of the invading Indian troops and later became the Governor of Assam exclaimed: “This (Sixteen-point Agreement) means leaving the Militants out of the settlement. It was with the Militants that the Government of India had to come to a settlement for peace in the area, and not with the ‘liberals’ who had no conflict with the Government of India.” (Harish Chandola; The Naga Story, p.139)
1963: The Nagaland and Nationalist Organization (NNO), is established.
- Nagaland and Nationalist Organization (NNO) arose from the NPC.
- Some supporters of the NNC established the Democratic Party of Nagaland.
1963, December 1: Creation of Nagaland State
- In February 1961, Naga Hills Tuensang Area was renamed to “Nagaland“.
- On 1 December 1963, Nagaland became a full fledged state – the 16th state of India by Article 371A of the Constitution of India and placed under the External Affairs Ministry of Govt. of India.
- At the time of inauguration of the Statehood there were three districts, namely Kohima, Mokokchung and Tuensang.
- On 1 August 1965, the administration Nagaland was transferred from the Ministry of External Affairs to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Part One –Prior to the formation of Nagaland State.
Part Two –Post formation of Nagaland State till the year 2000.
Part Three: Year 2001 onwards.
- Naga Resistance Movement and the Peace Process in Northeast India (H. SRIKANTH & C.J. THOMAS)
- THE NAGA CONFLICT (M Amarjeet Singh, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDIES)
- South Asia Terrorism Portal – http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/sair10/10_41.htm#assessment2
- Peace Maker, UN – https://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/IN_470628_Naga-Akbar%20Hydari%20Accord.pdf
- Centre for Development and Peace Studies: http://cdpsindia.org/nagaland_incident.asp