A day ahead of India’s Independence Day, the Nagas in Manipur hoisted the ‘Naga National Flag’ across the state to mark the 73rd Naga Independence Day celebration.
The biggest celebration was held in Senapati district of Manipur where for the first time the ‘Naga National Flag’ was hoisted during a public event organised under the aegis of United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of the Nagas.
Hundreds of Naga from different places including neighbouring states of Nagaland and Myanmar attended the Independence Day celebration held at Katomei public ground hosted by the Naga People’s Organisation (NPO) under the theme “One Goal, One Destiny”.
The celebration started with hosting of the ‘Naga National Flag’ by the special guest of the event, Neingulo Krome, secretary-general Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), followed by speeches from the leaders of Naga civil bodies, and singing of ‘Naga National Anthem’.
On August 14, 1947, certain Naga rebel declared today as their national Independence day and since then the Nagas, scattered across the region including Myanmar, have been celebrating this day. However, the celebration this time witnessed significant participation from the public.
Neingulo Krome has attributed the large public participation due to the prevailing situation in Kashmir, which according to him has triggered a sense of wariness of the government’s policy.
“The celebration this time is historic. There has never been a public event of such a large scale in the past except in small pockets. People coming out in large numbers in support of the Naga movement and to celebrate the historic day is a clear message that people are fed up of the unpredictable policies of the government”, said the NPMHR general secretary.
Leaders of all 20 Naga tribes of Manipur, all Naga Frontal Organisations, Naga women groups, Naga student bodies attended the event.
“We are very happy to celebrate the 73rd Naga Independence and to show our support to the ongoing peace talk. It is our long-cherished dream to live under one administrative umbrella. We are very honoured to be here in Senapati and to take part in the celebration which was made this day possible by our forefathers”, said Nokpai Konyak, who led a team of Myanmar Naga students to attend the celebration all the way from Myanmar.
The celebration ended with the final football match ‘Independent Cup’ between Ukhrul and Chandel districts.
Meanwhile, the celebration was also reportedly held in other parts of the Naga dominated districts marking the event by hoisting the ‘Naga National Flag’.