Nagas call for tougher action against junta

Nagas call for tougher action against junta
Tiamerenla Monalisa Changkija
6 October 2007

KOHIMA: Naga people today call for tougher action against the generals in Burma by the world community.
Protesting the brutal regime of General Than Shwe’s military government here Saturday afternoon, Naga organizations called for tougher action against the junta and restoration of democracy in that country.

Joining the rest of the world in observing the “International Day of Action for a Free Burma”, Naga Hoho, Naga Students’ Federation, Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, Nagaland Baptist Church Council and several student organizations in unison denounced the brutal crackdown of pro-democracy protesters in Burma recently by the junta.

Hundreds of Naga protestors carried the banners and placards reading, ‘Stop breakdown on the peaceful demonstration in Burma’, ‘Free the Burmese people from the Junta’, ‘We need region change’, ‘Don’t’ repeat 1988 massacre’, etc., they condemned the military crackdown on the peaceful protestors in Rangoon and other cities across Burma recently.

Naga Hoho President, Bengdangmayang Jamir said the international community irrespective of small or powerful nations should condemn the military junta firing upon and arresting monks and peaceful civilian demonstrators and act immediately for prevention of further violence and bloodshed.

He said the brutal repression that took place in 1988 resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 people must not be repeated. “The people of Burma have the right to peacefully express their views and the government of Burma has the responsibility to respect and uphold the right to peaceful protest,” Jamir asserted.

The Naga Hoho urged the members of the United Nations Security Council to immediately intervene and resolve the long-standing human rights problems in Burma, including the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. It also called on China and other Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, especially India and Japan, to use their influence on Burma to allow for peaceful protests and stop any violence against the protesters.

He, however, criticized rthe Government of India for what he alleged double standards in dealing the present crisis in Burma.

The Naga organizations unanimously criticized the Centre for not being adequately vocal on the present crisis in Burma, though it claims to be the world largest democratic nation. They said India’s claim as a vibrant democratic nation has proven to be a farce.

“India proclaims as biggest democratic nation but has remained silent. What is the policy of Government of India?” Jamir questioned.

Dr. Venuh, Secretary General of NPMHR also accused New Delhi of having double standards in the eyes of international community. He also joined his fellow colleagues in saying that Indian democracy is a farce. He said instead of liberating the oppressed people in Burma, Delhi was talking of how to crush the Northeast insurgents in collaboration with junta.

Rev. Kari Longchari, Director Peace Affairs, NBCC, also urged the people to pray for the oppressed people of Burma. He said India us only interested in economic gain from Burma and least bothered about the people there, who are crying for democracy. “India is interested for economic gain, not for the suffering of the people,” he added.

He said military rule in that country should come to an end as people have suffered enough, especially Nagas of Burma.

NSF president, Imchatoba Imchen, said both India and China have given a lukewarm response to the present crisis in Burma. He said the world is watching what India and China are doing at this juncture when Burma is burning. “India should not play double standards games but support Burmese people in restoring democracy” he insisted. He said Nagas as friends of Burmese people cannot remain silent when there is brutality perpetuated on the innocent people.

Today’s protest rally was significant in the sense that Nagas are trying to win the hearts of the managers of National League for Democracy in resolving the Naga issue. Over the years, Nagas have been quite supportive to the Suu Kyi’s movement and vise-versa. Several NLD leaders have come out in support of long pending Naga political issue with New Delhi. Some NLD members are also operating from Nagaland, including Naga National League for Democracy of Burma.

There were 4 Naga MPs who were elected under NLD, prior to the military coup in 1988.

Saigang Division in Burma is the home to the Nagas, but still remains one of the most neglected regions in the world.
Tiamerenla Monalisa Changkija
Editor, Nagaland Page