GUWAHATI:After several civil society organisations in Christian-majority Nagaland opposed the Centre’s move to construct the “Rani” Gaidinliu memorial hall in the state, an insurgent outfit has now come forward expressing its objection to the move.
The Naga National Council (NNC), which had launched the Naga insurgency movement seven decades ago, “condemned” the Centre and Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang’s attempt to glorify the “pro-Indian and anti-Naga nationalist”.
The Centre has decided to construct the hall in Kohima under the patronage of the state government to commemorate the birth centenary of the Naga spiritual and political leader, who had resisted the conversion of Nagas to Christianity.
“Gaidinliu was given the sobriquet ‘Rani’ by (former Prime Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru because of her anti-Naga stance. It is unfortunate that the Centre is trying to prop her up as a pro-India Naga icon,” the NNC said in a statement. The outfit also opposed the Nagaland government’s proposal to build a temple and resource centre to promote the “Heraka” religion, which the Rani preached.
“Through such move, the VHP and the RSS are trying to integrate Heraka and Hinduism, though, the two have nothing in common,” the NNC said. The influential Angami Public Organisation (APO) has also spoken out against the Centre’s move. According to the APO, it failed to comprehend the “logic and sagacity” of Zeliang Government to accord top priority and recognition to a “non-indigenous lady”.
“When the government can neither provide nor sustain basic amenities and infrastructure to its citizens owing to lack of funds, the memorial project affecting the state exchequer is too absurd and infuriating,” the APO said.
The organisation warned that it would resist the “institutionalisation of any culture or cult that is not compatible with the practices and beliefs of the indigenous people”.
Gaidinliu had spearheaded a revolt against the British that led to her arrest and incarceration in 1932. She was released in 1947 following India’s Independence. She died in 1993. The Heraka religion is today practised in parts of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam.