Three weeks after the Naga Reconciliation meeting of February 29, 2012, in Dimapur, Nagaland, Chiang Mai XIII, was held from March 19 to 22, 2012, the NSCN/GPRN (Isak and Muivah), NNC/FGN, and GPRN/NSCN (Khole and Kitovi) agreed that a “Highest Level Meeting of the Naga Leaders be held at the earliest.” The proposed meeting was “To hammer out our (Naga) Political differences.” Accordingly, the participants agreed that the venue would be in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) was requested to prepare all logistical arrangements. For that reason, the meeting was scheduled for the last week of May 2012.
It was most disheartening to hear only through the media that the NSCN/GPRN (Isak and Muivah) has decided to abstain from attending this meeting. While recognizing the difficulties that have prompted them to take such a step, it is pertinent for FNR to remind all Naga national political groups that it is precisely because of such differences and misunderstandings that they need to stay in relationship through face to face meetings and discussions with each other.
The FNR, therefore, appeals to all the Naga national political groups to honor their assurance of Naga leaders at the highest levels to meet by taking this opportunity to hammer out all differences for the common interest and good of all Naga people. The FNR assures that this meeting will create the space to constructively address all recent misunderstandings that have been expressed through the media. Making statements from a distance will only widen the gulf, creating more confusion and heightening tensions.
The FNR has, with the support of the people, guided the “Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope” for four years now. The FNR has publicly acknowledged and is on record for stating that the reconciliation process has come thus far because of the sheer commitment and determination of the Naga national leaders. Born in the midst of “factional” violence, the process has now come to a stage where there is relative peace among the Naga national political groups. This, however, is not the end, rather part of the ongoing reconciliation process.
The Naga national leaders need to transcend factional interest and work together with unity and purpose for a shared Naga future based on the historical and political rights of the people. We urge you not to belie the hopes of the Naga people. Now is the time for all Naga leaders to listen to the people and to allow the will of the people to guide their path.
In the last four years, the FNR’s experience with the Naga Reconciliation process has indicated that the divisions among the Naga people are not really “factional” divisions. There are committed leaders on all sides who have sincerely forgiven and reconciled with their former enemies. Given the opportunity, they are willing to work together for the common cause of the Naga people; and for the sake of Naga’s shared future, they must be given the chance to hammer out all differences.
The real divisions in Naga society are between those who support the reconciliation process and those who are opposed to it; it is between those who want transformation based on Naga historical and political rights and those who want the prevailing status quo to continue. This conflict of interest among Nagas has created a quagmire, which has stalled our ability to move forward. The Naga people must not allow any forces to divide us any longer.
It has therefore become necessary for the Forum for Naga Reconciliation to publicly state that if the Naga national political groups are not committed to hammering out their differences on the basis of the Resolutions adopted by the Naga people on February 29, 2012 and to finding a lasting peace, the FNR has a moral basis but no practical basis to persist, and the FNR has no option but to go back to the Naga people.
Naga sovereignty lies with all the people and the Naga cause to exercise the will of the people cannot be attained through a fractured voice. In the same way, there can be only one political solution on the basis of the Naga historical and political rights. Therefore, the FNR urges all the Naga national political groups to take this opportunity to honestly and sincerely hammer out all differences so that there is a common Naga voice.
We are still in Chiang Mai waiting for you. Do not disappoint the Naga people.