Naga Reconciliation : Stepping into the Water

Dimapur | December 14 : After weathering the intense and stormy initial stages of reconciliation efforts and after making breakthroughs through lengthy sessions of tense discussions, and after organizing symbolic events such as the reconciliation soccer matches and the Naga National Choir, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation today stated that the Naga reconciliation process was gaining momentum. It further asserted that a ‘paradigm shift’ had taken place in the reconciliation process with the Naga political groups ‘transcending the past.’ The Forum for Naga Reconciliation said that the Naga political groups had expressed clear intentions not to ‘repeat the past.’
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation pointed out that the Naga political groups were committed to jointly working out a ‘common approach’ and pointed out that after their return from the seventh meeting Chiangmai on December 4, the Joint Working Group (comprising of NSCN/GPRN, NNC/FGN and GPRN/NSCN) had convened on December 8 in Dimapur, during which they openly and encouragingly reiterated their commitment to uphold and honor the joint declaration to “jointly oppose any conditional package” offered by the Indian government to the Nagas.
Reiterating that the sole objective of the forum was reconciliation between the various Naga groups, the forum asserted that the act of reconciliation was itself political. Negating the assumption that reconciliation was confined only to ‘spiritual,’ the forum said reconciliation cannot be dichotomized;  that it involved not just the spiritual, but the political and social aspects as well. Reconciliation must be holistic, it affirmed. The forum however clearly asserted that while the Naga reconciliation process had political implications, the political process of negotiations and finding a solution on the basis of the historical and political rights of the Nagas was the joint responsibility and duty of the Naga political groups.
Addressing media persons today, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation said to be organizing “Celebrating Christ” a pre-Christmas celebration at Town Baptist Church, Dimapur on December 16 at 12noon. The convener of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation Rev. Dr. Wati Aier said Christmas greetings would be heard from the ‘kilo kilonsers’ of the signatories of the Covenant of Naga Reconciliation. A gift-exchange between the Naga political groups will be the main highlight of the celebrations. Rev. Dr. Anjo Keikung, general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council would be the main speaker of the event, it was informed.
Rev. Wati said the rationale behind the event was to “continually strengthen” the reconciliation process which, he said had gained momentum and had come a long way. “It is appropriate that during such a time (Christmas) that they come together in  common worship,” he said. Besides functionaries and cadres of the various  groups, the forum has invited frontal Naga organizations such as the Naga Hoho, tribe hohos, Naga  churches, GBs/DBs  and civil society. It further welcomed concerned citizens to attend the function.
Prior to “Celebrating Christ,” cadres from the NSCN/GPRN, NNC/FGN and GPRN/NSCN will engage in a joint social work at City Tower, as a symbolic gesture of “turning swords into ploughshares.” The cadres will assemble at Town Baptist Church at 7am and then proceed to the City Tower by 8am to clean and paint the City  Clock Tower. This simple and small gesture “symbolizes that we need to work together” the forum stated. “The warring Naga political groups are now working together and are willing to accomplish things together,” the forum’s convener said.
On the “Journey of Common Hope” and Reconciliation process started by the FNR about nineteen months ago, Rev. Wati and other FNR members present in the press briefing including Rev. VK Nuh, Rev. Pughoto Aye, Toshi Wungtung and Aküm Longchari said that there was a paradigm shift after the signing of the “Covenant of Reconciliation” by leaders of the three political groups. The forum pointed out that were many phases to the Reconciliation process and that the initial focus was to end factional violence.
Now with the cessation of violence after the signing of the “Covenant of Reconciliation” the process was focused on the coming together to build a common understanding and forge a shared Naga future the FNR added.
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation emphasized on the need for healing and the need to overcome tribalism to strengthen the reconciliation process. While recognizing and appreciating the support of the Naga public, the forum urged for greater public participation and critical suggestions to strengthen the process.

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