After Independence, the Centre Government started integration of Naga areas (area in North-East where Naga tribes lived) within the state of Assam, and India as a whole. The hardliners led by Phizo (then Naga Leader) opposed the integration and rebelled under the banner of Naga National Council (NNC) , demanding a separate sovereign state. They were also encopuraged by some British officials and missionaries still living there.
In 1955, the separatists declared the formation of an independent government. They launched an armed rebellion. The Centre sent the army to Nagaland in early 1956’s to restore peace, law and order. By following a policy of suppression and non- negotiation, the government firmly opposed the secessionist demand for the independent of Naga areas.
On the other hand, the government also realised the need for reconciliation and winning over the Naga people. As total physical suppression was neither possible nor desirable, the government followed a policy of ‘friendly approach’ by encouraging the Nagas to integrate with the rest of country in mind and spirit. The central government also made it clear to the Nagas’ right to maintain their autonomy in cultural and other matters would be respected by India.
Meanwhile, the centre government refused to negotiate with Phizo or any other separatists until they did not give up their demand for independence or armed rebellion. Simultaneously, it started negotiation with the more moderate, non- violent and non- secessionist Naga leaders headed by Dr Imkonglibva Ao.
The armed rebellion was contained by the middle of 1957. Then the moderate Naga leaders under the leadership of Dr Imkongliba Ao negotiated with the Indian government for the creation of the state of Nagaland within the Indian Union.
The government of India accepted their demand through a prolonged negotiation and the state of Nagaland came into existence in 1963 as the 16th state of the Indian Union. This step not only strengthened national integrity and security but also restored peoples’ faith in democratic values enshrined in our constitution.
Non-violent means were seen with greater hope in the rest of India. Rebels lost their popular mass support. Though insurgency had been brought under control, sporadic guerrilla war was launched by Naga rebels in 1964 and it continues till date without any progress towards a political settlement. Instead, the present situation may be better understood as a very complex set of relations between a number of parties who have different objectives, strategies, and capabilities. As result, a precarious stability has been maintained over the last 50 years while a ceasefire violations keep occurring routinely and almost continuously.