NTIMES 5Sept: The FNR Journey with Naga Reconciliation
~~Press Release by Forum for Naga Reconciliation ~~
In the recent past there have been several statements vis-à-vis, Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope. Some of these statements have been appreciative and in support of the recent progress, some have made sharp constructive criticisms, while others have a completely different point of view. All these viewpoints, opinions and criticisms of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) are embraced in good spirit and are seen as a healthy sign of dialogue and understanding towards renewal and transformation.
The FNR takes upon itself to be corrected where we have erred, to develop where we have limitations, and above all to remain steadfast to its commitment for reconciliation amongst all Nagas based on the historical and political rights. FNR makes no qualms to say that we are human and as part of the fallen creatures is liable to make mistakes. Hence, FNR sincerely appeals to the Nagas to advice, correct and encourage us. Our effort is a common effort. Differences of opinion should not be an argument for NOT working for reconciliation.
Reconciliation is a process and must be contextual and practical. In the Naga context, our internal difficulties are protracted and there has been way too much bloodshed among Nagas. And all these traumas and difficulties have been further complicated due to practical geographical divisions and the role of the unseen “third force” in this ongoing Naga conflict. It is important that the people should understand the unique challenges that the Nagas find ourselves in. But to remain silent under such circumstances would only mean further destruction. Presently, there is no other option but for Nagas to reconcile with each other. However, realistic time ought to be given and it requires commitment and willingness to change for a better future.
Therefore in the Naga context the journey towards Reconciliation is a process comprising of many small steps. Sometimes, when these steps are seen in isolation and on their own account, they may not make sense and may even seem contrary. However, when all these small steps are seen together in its totality, it is clearly evident that the objective of FNR is for the reconciliation and healing of all Nagas. FNR is committed to its stand that no one is left out in the reconciliation process. FNR will remain resolute in our commitment for inclusion of all. We are hopeful all Naga groups will agree to reconcile on the historical and political rights through forgiveness.
In light of the above and in the better interest for broader public understanding, the FNR finds it necessary to state the following:
· FNR acknowledges that there have been several well intended initiatives for reconciliation and unity, prior to the formation of FNR; and we applaud their contributions. Even today, FNR is aware that it does not have and will not claim monopoly over reconciliation. The work of reconciliation is the duty of all and it is a collective effort for the common good.
· The Forum for Naga Reconciliation was formed in principle in February, 2008 as one of the outcomes of the Naga Peace Convention organized by the Naga Shisha Hoho in Dimapur and christened on 25th March 2008 at Kohima. It was formed with the objective to facilitate reconciliation among the Naga political groups on the basis of the historical and political rights of the Nagas.
· The FNR comprises of members representing Naga Churches, hoho and civil society organizations. FNR is a neutral body which is neither affiliated nor supportive to any Naga political group or any party involved in electoral politics in Nagaland. It will continue to work for Naga reconciliation in an impartial and fair manner keeping in the mind the interest and rights of the Naga people as its primary principle.
In the last 42 months of Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope, the FNR has held the following activities:
i. 11 official Reconciliation meetings with the Naga political groups in a neutral venue at Chiang Mai, Thailand. At various points, the meetings were attended by representatives of Naga Hoho, NSF, NBCC, Nagaland Christian Forum, the Catholic Church, ENPO, various tribe hohos, and the different Naga political groups, along with members of FNR.
ii. 4 public consultations with Naga Hoho, tribe hohos, churches, civil society organizations and 1 consultation with the Naga intelligentsia.
iii. 72 official meetings with the Naga political groups jointly and separately in Naga-Land.
iv. FNR member(s) personally met SS Khaplang, Chairman NSCN on 5 occasions at his headquarters in Eastern Naga-Land (Burma). The visits to SS Khaplang took place: March 29-April3 2009, November 1st week 2009, May last week 2010, February 1st week 2011 and June 1st week, 2011. The FNR has spoken directly with SS Khaplang 26 times over the telephone and furthermore has sent letters and messages through different individuals on 21 instances on matters related to the Reconciliation process.
v. FNR members met Adino Phizo, President NNC in the first week of June 2008 at London; and the Transit Peace Camp at Kohima in 2008 and 2009 to share on the Naga Reconciliation and to become a part of the Process.
vi. 12 special programs which include soccer matches, special church services, joint social work, joint food and relief distribution, etc.
vii. FNR went on a tour along with Joint Working Group members and held 19 public meetings in various Naga towns and villages.
FNR recognizes the Reconciliation process as necessary to assist in healing and restoring people’s dignity. It is by taking this journey that Nagas can find healing and the courage to face the shadows that have stalked our people for a long time. Therefore for true healing and genuine reconciliation, FNR reiterates its position that the Reconciliation process will come full circle only when all Nagas have found forgiveness and reconciliation with each other.
In the recent High Level Meeting in August 20-26, 2011, six Naga leaders and their respective groups have apologized and forgiven each other in the spirit of reconciliation. Their preparedness to understand each other towards a shared Naga future, their agreement to broaden the peace process and their decision to agree in principle to form one Naga National Government manifests their commitment and desire for Nagas to be united in purpose. These bold and visionary steps are most appreciated. However, FNR recognizes that not all the signatories of the Covenant of Reconciliation could attend this High Level meeting, and there are other Naga groups as well. Therefore we affirm our commitment that we will continue to work towards the wholeness of all Nagas, so that no one is excluded.
Finally, in juxtaposition, the FNR urges all Nagas to promptly participate and support in the common cause for a shared Naga future. We realize that all Nagas, no matter what tribe, creed or gender, have an investment in the future of the Naga nation. Each is entitled to earn and cherish his or her part of the Naga heritage. Because of this the Naga nation was founded. Because of this dream and vision the Naga nation has to prosper.
Now more than ever before, the Naga people need to raise their voices and deliberately articulate their desire for Naga Reconciliation so that together Nagas can march forward to our rightful future.
Forum for Naga Reconciliation September 4, 2011