We are an indigenous people in Burma: Naga
16 March 2013: Leaders of the Naga in Burma rejected a government statement which includes them as one of the 53 Chin tribes.
Five Naga organizations said the fact that the Naga people are listed under the Chin ethnic group is not totally acceptable.
“The Naga people are the indigenous people in Myanmar and India, and we have our own dialect, culture, customs, long history and distinctive identities,” said their statement.
Complaint by the Naga organizations came days after U Win Myint, Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population, responded to questions over the ethnic issues raised by U Aung Thein from Danu Self-Administered Zone in Hluttaw session on 27 February.
“The baseless, unacceptable and non-logical reply of the Deputy Minister of Immigration and Population can impact on the national unity in the time of trying to get the national unity and reconciliation,” added the Naga leaders.
According to the organizations, the region in which the Naga are residing has been recognized as the Naga Self-Administered Zone in the 2008 Constitution.
They also called on the central government of Burma to amend the official list of ethnic tribes in the country and put the Naga as a separate entity.
The statement was jointly issued by Rangoon-based Naga organizations including Naga Tradition and Culture Sub-Township Committee, Naga Hills Development Network, Naga Student Youth Federation, Naga Baptist Convention, and Naga Baptist Christian Fellowship.
Formerly administered as part of Sagaing Division, the Naga Self-Administered Zone consists of three townships, Leshi, Lahe and Namyun in northern Burma.