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Aboard A Common Destiny Ship

Two very interesting points stood out in the September Summit, held at the initiative of the Naga Forum for Reconciliation at Dimapur on September 18, where the top rung leaders of the NNC, NSCN (K) and NSCN (IM) turned up and discussed issues to iron out all the differences so that they may embark on the ‘˜journey of common hope.’

And out of these two interesting points, which we have noted, there are vital lessons which will be of immense benefit to the people of Manipur.  To digress a little, before we come to the soul of this commentary, it is interesting to note that in Nagaland, the two NSCN factions no longer come under the name of ‘˜IM’ or ‘˜K’, that is Isak-Muivah for IM and K for Khaplang. This is clear if one goes through any of the dailies published from the neighboring State.

Instead the K group now comes under the nomenclature GPRN/NSCN while the IM group is known as the NSCN/GPRN. As for the NNC, we admit, that we are not familiar with this organization which is otherwise the mother of the two factions.

To us, their history and the present set up is a bit hazy and we still do not have a clue as to what role Adinho Phizo, daughter of the late ZA Phizo, founder of the NNC, assumes within the NNC or what clout she enjoys amongst the Naga people, living as she is in England since she was a kid. There may not be much to read within the change of the usage of the term to refer to the two factions of the NSCN, or there could be some political significance behind it.

Whatever the case, this much is clear and that is, the three underground groups of the Naga people finally seem to have come around to the idea that there is no way forward but to reconcile and iron out their differences, if an answer is to be found to the Naga political issue. Now coming to the interesting points, with which we started this editorial, one point that stands out prominently is the positive role that civil society organizations can play in ushering in peace within a society.

This is where the role of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation becomes interesting and significant. Is this body strictly a neutral entity with no leanings towards any of the said three groups or does it stand condemned by any one of the faction, like the Naga Hoho, which has been accused many times by the Khaplang group of the NSCN as being working at the behest of the rival IM group ?

It is here that the civil organizations in Manipur should question themselves on their positions and where they stand when the inevitable comes to bring all the armed outfits of Manipur under one umbrella. Judging by the way in which the top rung leaders of the three groups attended the summit and held a heart to heart talk, we may assume that the Forum is a neutral body, with no pre-conceived notions.

The other interesting point that we refer to is the timing in the change of heart of the leadership of these three groups, which have been at loggerheads with each other for decades. Is it a sign of the thumb rule of politics, that there are no permanent enemies and permanent friends, coming to the fore or was the Summit held by the genuine desire to iron out all differences amongst themselves?

Another significant query which we can raise at this point and which every true Naga should ask themselves is why the three groups have decided to recognize the importance that the reconciliation drive deserves, after all these years of gunning for each other?

Remember, more NSCN cadres on either side have been killed by the rival group, than by the security forces of India. Also remember, the NSCN was founded on the blood of numerous Naga leaders at that point of time when the Shillong Accord was signed in 1975. There must be reason enough for Naga thinkers and intellectuals like Kaka D Iralu, to constantly refer to the mayhem and killings under the directions of Mr. Muivah at Eastern Nagaland, after the Shillong Accord was signed.

The split of the NSCN into the Khaplang group and the Isak-Muivah faction was also founded on the blood of numerous Naga ‘National Workers,’ in the first coup, where Mr. Muivah is understood to have escaped narrowly and with the help from some other friendly or neutral underground organizations.

Remember Dally Mungro of the NSCN (K), who was taken away in front of his wife by some NSCN (IM) cadres in Kohima sometime in the early part of this century and later found shot dead? Mungro was at that time one of the most important functionaries of the Khaplang group and being in the media, we have had the privilege to have a look at an old black and white photograph where Mungro stood next to Mr. Muivah when they were brothers-in-arms. So much for the past bloodshed and hatred, but the question still remains, why the three groups have started talking about reconciliation so earnestly at this juncture, when the guns have literally fallen silent following the peace pacts signed with the Government of India between the IM group as well as the Khaplang faction.

Is it because the Naga people have begun to taste life as it should be lived, without the fear or apprehension of the gun going off any moment, or is there a political design to come to a meeting point, where the demands of the three groups can come under one head ? Or is it just a genuine desire to bury the gory past and erase all the bitter memories? T

he Reconciliation Summit of September 18, 2010 which was attended by the top notch leaders of the three groups such as ‘Kedaghe’ (Brig Retd) Singnya of the NNC, ato kilonser of the Khaplang group, N Kitovi Zhimomi and ato kilonser of the IM group, Th. Muivah, is by far the most significant step towards reconciliation till date. And talking about peace, we pray and hope that the price of peace, which Mr. Muivah and his men are hankering after, does not come in the form of a disfigured or redrawing of the boundary lines of Manipur.

Like it or not, but it stands true that just as the three Naga groups have to travel by the same boat towards a common destiny, the people of Manipur too will have to travel on this same boat, for the future of the Nagas and the Meiteis cannot be possible without the other.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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