Mourning after, clash of nationalism in Nagaland

A condolence message from Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu recently sparked a controversy and spurred a debate on Naga nationalism.

Published: 19th June 2017 12:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2017 05:39 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: A condolence message from Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu recently sparked a controversy and spurred a debate on Naga nationalism. The immediate comparison one may draw is vis-a-vis BJP’s aggressive Indian nationalism. Liezietsu had mourned the death of S S Khaplang, a Naga from Myanmar, chief of insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)-K. NSCN-K is proscribed, and Khaplang was wanted by security agencies after the outfit killed 18 soldiers in Manipur in 2015.

The debate was about if a CM, sworn under the Constitution, can mourn the death of an insurgent leader whose group is banned. This is not the first time that a politician in Nagaland or a political party in the Northeast has spoken warmly about rebels as “national workers”. Former Nagaland CM  Neiphiu Rio did it in 2003, and in Mizoram, the Mizo National Front stands up for Mizo chauvinism.

“Khaplang was part of Naga nationalism. Whether there was a ceasefire with the government of India or not, he was working for the Nagas,” said former Congress minister I Imkong.
Liezietsu’s Naga People’s Front (NPF) is a BJP ally in Nagaland and Manipur and in Parliament. When it came to criticism of his condolence message, parties, including the Opposition, firmly stood behind Liezietsu.

Few political parties in Nagaland can afford to ignore Naga nationalism. While the Naga Club had approached the Simon Commission for excluding Naga Hills out of a future India, A Z Phizo’s Naga National Council had declared “independence” on August 14, 1947. With polls next year, Naga nationalism is hardly subliminal. The NPF slammed “a section of national electronic media, which needlessly criticised the message of the CM, which exposed their ignorance of ground realities here”.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp