GUWAHATI: As the Centre and various rebel groups struggle to find a solution to the protracted and vexed Naga political problem, the Nagas in Nagaland and parts of Manipur celebrated the 74th “Naga Independence Day” on Friday.
In Nagaland, students led the celebrations by hoisting the “Naga national flag”. At some places, they hoisted it braving the presence of security personnel. However, there was no confrontation.
The day was celebrated in a similar manner in parts of Manipur’s hill districts where the Nagas are in a large majority.
Some Naga social media users greeted one another on various WhatsApp groups. They shared photos and videos of the celebration by the students.
Earlier, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), which is Nagaland’s apex students’ organisation, had asked all its federating and subordinate units to celebrate the occasion through the hoisting of the Naga national flag. It had also asked them to send the compliance report along with pictorial evidence to its office for documentation.
The NSF had regretted its inability to commemorate the Naga I-Day with programmes due to the COVID-19 pandemic that called for the maintenance of social distancing.
Naga extremist groups say Nagas had declared their independence on August 14, 1947 and that during a plebiscite in 1951, “99.9%” of Nagas had voted in favour of a sovereign Naga nation.
The various Naga rebel groups have been engaged in peace negotiations with the Centre for years but a solution to the problem continues to elude both sides. Nagaland attained statehood in 1963 but a section of Naga leaders had rejected it outright and continued with the armed movement for Naga sovereignty.