Negotiations must focus on how they can safeguard rights in inter-related world, says reconciliation meet

A meeting held under the aegis of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) here on Wednesday said the historical and political rights of Nagas should form the basis of any political solution to their problem.

“Founded on this premise, any negotiation process must focus on how Nagas can determine, safeguard and exercise their historical and political rights in a contemporary and inter-related world,” stated a resolution adopted after over four-hour deliberations at the meet attended by thousands of people.

The participants represented Naga villages, churches, civil society groups, women, students and youth, and Naga Hohos from Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.

“The Nagas are a sovereign people who uphold the principle that sovereignty lies with the people and hence abide by the concept that the will of the people is supreme,” said the resolution, read out by FNR convener Wati Aier and backed by the people. It was one of the largest congregations in the Naga political history.

Top leaders of three Naga insurgent groups — the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), GPRN/NSCN (Khole-Konyak) and the Naga National Council/FGN (Singnya) — shared the dais, while some representatives of NSCN (Khaplang) and NNC/FGN (Kiumakam) were present among the public representatives. It is the first time these five insurgent groups have come together at a public gathering. A solidarity message from NNC/FGN (Adino) was read out.

The reconciliation meet recognised that the “sovereignty of the Naga people is at the core of the uniqueness of the Naga historical and political rights.”

“This right was officially validated by the Government of India when it recognised the Unique History and Situation of the Nagas in Amsterdam on July 11, 2002,” the resolution noted, while acknowledging and putting on record the achievement of NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, who were on the dais, “in securing this recognition from the Government of India.”

Mr. Muivah asserted that the future of the Naga people must be decided by the Nagas themselves and they should take the right decision at the right time.

GPRN/NSCN chairman and self-styled Gen (retd) Khole Konyak appreciated Mr. Muivah's “honesty and courage” in declaring, during a three-day meeting facilitated by the FNR in 2011, that “independence for the Naga Nation, in the present international context, was not possible. So also on the issue of integration of Naga inhabited areas in India and Myanmar.” This shift of focus was not Mr. Muivah's fault but it was a practical reality, necessitated by the realisation that Naga nationalism must be evoked in the right spirit through practical wisdom, as opposed to an idealist view on sovereignty and independence, he said.

The meet appreciated the Government of India for “its commitment to solve the Indo-Naga political matter without further delay through the path of non-violence.”

Top leaders of the NSCN(Isak-Muivah), GPRN/NSCN(Khole-Konyak) and NNC/FGN) reaffirmed their commitment to reconciliation.

The meet acknowledged the role of the NNC and its contribution under the presidencies of T. Aliba Imti, Mhondamo Kithan, Visar Angami and A.Z. Phizo, in upholding the historical and political rights of the Nagas and their lands. It also recorded the commitment and contribution of NSCN(Khaplang) chairman S.S. Khaplang, GPRN/NSCN chairman Khole Konyak and NNC/FGN chairman S. Singnya.

Another resolution admitted that a long history of Naga conflict had “broken relationships, robbed identities, stripped dignity, and inflicted deep and inexpressible pain on the Naga people” and that a “deeply regrettable history of implicit and complicit involvement led to deepening divisions and suspicions.”

Expressing concern over the armed conflict among various Naga insurgent groups, the meet called upon all of them to cease confrontation with immediate effect and to decisively take steps towards Naga reconciliation. The meet recommended the formation of a new experts body to consult, provide and ensure all intellectual, spiritual, logistic and technical expertise necessary for moving towards the “Journey of Common Hope” for a shared common future in all urgency.

Several speakers urged the parallel governments run by the insurgent groups to minimise the collection of “taxes” from the people, who had been “overburdened.”

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