The Naga Plebiscite Day was celebrated on 16 May 2024 at the NBCC Convention Centre, Kohima, Nagaland, organized by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) and supported by Naga political groups, apex civil society organizations, and the Church.

kohima Naga Plebiscite

The event began with an invocation by Rev. Khrotso Mero and the singing of the hymn “Faith of Our Leaders” by the congregation. Representatives of various Naga political groups delivered greetings on the occasion, which was attended by civil society organizations and the public from all walks of life.

Rev. A. Puni, a member of the Collective Leadership of NSCN/GPRN, stated that the plebiscite day symbolized the unwavering will of the Nagas to uphold their distinct culture, heritage, and tradition. He added that because of leaders like A.Z. Phizo, the Nagas could claim their share on earth. He reminded the audience that the journey to self-determination is far from over and urged the people to remain steadfast.

Vilanuo Yhome, President of the Naga Mothers Association, acknowledged the significance of the day. She appealed to the younger generation to remember the long years of the Nagas’ struggle and to keep the flame alive in their hearts until they see the freedom yearned for. She further appealed to the leaders of the Naga political groups for peace, reconciliation, and rededication to the spirit of Nagas as one people beyond all borders and man-made boundaries.

The messages of Gen. Niki Sumi (Retd.), President of NSCN/GPRN, and Wangtin Naga, President of NSCN/GPRN-Reformation, were read out by representatives from their respective groups. Several other leaders from the Naga political groups also spoke on the occasion.

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The NNPG Working Committee stated, “The Naga political movement has evolved by the spirit and the essence of May 16, 1951, which guides us to this day, further reinforcing the Nagas’ aspiration for sovereign independent nationhood.” They added that the plebiscite day marks a landmark and epoch-making political exercise that will always be the guiding principle of the Naga political journey, as it has been and always will be.

He stated that “our dreams and longing will remain merely a wish and illusion unless we wake up from our dream and translate our dreams into reality.” He urged the Nagas not to live on past glories alone. He further called on the Nagas not only to contemplate but to summon the courage to take decisive political action to protect and defend what they already have and to determine and envision their future together with the rest of the world. He appealed to the congregation to come forward and salvage their political and historical rights.

Gen. Niki (Retd.), President of NSCN/GPRN, in his message, stated, “16 May 1951, is undoubtedly one of the finest defining moments in the Naga journey for self-determination,” where all the Nagas gathered together as one, irrespective of creed, color, and tribe, with the common goal of sovereignty. He further declared that the Nagas will be the masters of their own political destiny, stating it as a political legacy inherited from their forefathers. He encouraged the people not to let the sacrifices of their forefathers go in vain but to take a step closer to their aspiring goals, handing down the burden of nationhood to every successive generation.

Kedallo, NNC/FGN & Co-Convenor, WC, NNPGs, Zhopra Vero, said, “Until the Naga plebiscite of 1951, no act of the Nagas can be legitimately claimed as having a real national character.” He added that this day marked the exodus experience of the Nagas, a decisive moment destined to change their history, giving them a collective dream to aspire to more than they were, telling the world that the Nagas want to live a life of freedom, as one people and one nation. He also stated that the Naga plebiscite day is a historic event that cannot be repeated, saying, “No plebiscite for self-determination can surpass our record.” He added that visionary leaders like A.Z. Phizo made it happen, mentioning that the struggles of the Nagas were a costly choice but not a mistake, nor in vain, and gained a place in history as a courageous people who stood for what is right and just.

The NNC General Secretary urged the Nagas to reaffirm their unity, set aside their differences, and work together towards their common goal, encouraging the people to return to their roots of political and historical rights and forge a brighter future for the generations to come.

The Naga National Political Alliance stated that the current fragmentation and fractured unity in Naga society are unfortunate. They called for steps to realize the dreams that their forefathers have yet to achieve and assured that the NNPA will always seek to further the Nagas’ cause and prioritize their interests above all else. They further asked the congregation about what initiatives they have taken to further the Nagas’ cause, mentioning that people born after 16 May 1951, are national workers by default, as their forefathers pledged to remain a free people and a free nation, choosing their own destiny.

Harvest Choir Dimapur led the gathering in singing the Naga National Anthem.

MTNews Desk

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