Conversation With Mr. Khaplang

By: Thomas | NNC Member.

After eight years of NSCN formation, Mr. Khaplang realized the wrong policy of Muivah and hence decided to apart from him, which led the NSCN split into two factions in 1988. Soon as the split took place among them, Mr. Khaplang declared he stands for unity and solidarity of Nagaland and announced that he will welcome Naga national leaders, public leaders, Church leaders and student leaders who would like to talk with him for national unity and reconciliation.

I took his declaration as a good gesture and opportunity for meeting him to talk for national unity and thus boldly decided to go to meet him. I started from Kohima on 27th November, 1990, along with two other NNC Central Committee Members namely Messrs Ku-o Angami and I. Toshi Ao. We reached the NSCN-K’s Council Headquarters (CHQ) Thingpa, Heimi Region on 6th January 1991. I take Mr. Khaplang as my own elder brother since we are from the same Heimi Region and our discussion was frankly as brothers.

I suggested him to break the barrier which prevents us to stop killings and reunification by denouncing the formation of NSCN as wrong. To form the socialist government was purely the idea and policy of Muivah but not yours, and you have the right to declare the formation of NSCN was wrong.

I felt regretted for Mr. Khaplang blatantly rejected my suggestion, saying: do you think that I was used by Muivah pinching on my ear? As we have no sustainable understanding for national unity, we insisted him and his colleagues to have peace among us (between NNC/FGN and Khaplang group), to which they agreed and signed for peace on 10th January 1991 and we returned back on January 12, 1991.

After ten years, that was in 2000: I went to meet him (Khaplang) again and reached at his Laa Hong CHQ on September 18. I told him; I could reach you after ten years taking the grave risk of my life, for I don’t want the killing among the Nagas and take the risk of my life in the interest of national unity. Since 1991, we could maintain peace among us, and through which we could save many lives. Again today, if we could take another positive step in the interest of peace and reconciliation, we will save many lives again. Unless you denounce the NSCN and relinquish it, there is no way to stop the killings. You may intensively fight against IM group but you can’t overpower them and neither can IM group do to you. But only losing of more lives will be counted sad fully as the result of fighting in between you (IM and K groups). You know the fact by now that Muivah and Isak have politically failed. Their failure is yours as well. Because, even if you are in two different groups, but are in the same NSCN. But if you think, you have optimistic to achieve our cherish goal, please tell me, I’ll absolutely support you and follow you. But he told me nothing. And then I asked him, why then you don’t want to rejoin the NNC/FGN again? What is the reason? Please tell me frankly.

He said; I have three reasons: “the first, I cannot accept the observing Nagaland Independence Day by the NNC. Because the declaration of independence in 1947 was, the Nagas who were under the British colonial rule declared themselves freed from the British colonial rule. As we are free Nagas, we will not accept it. We will observe only the day, our independent and sovereignty is recognized by the world. Secondly, I do not accept calling to rejoining the FGN, for the FGN was formed without participation of free Nagas but only the Nagas who were once under the British rule. Thirdly, I do not accept, the Naga country name “Nagaland”, that is only the name referred to the present so-called Nagaland State. I prefer to have our country name as “United Nagaland”.

My explanations on his points were: that the Nagas in fact did not need to declare independence in those days because we all were free and independent people, but our leaders had done it in order to safeguard the sovereignty of Nagaland in those days of changing world so that no nation could challenge us in the future. To become the British subject, we have no treaty and agreement with the British, and therefore the British have no point to declare granting independent to Nagaland and neither did the Nagas need to declare that they were freed from the British colonial rule. We all were free people and yet, the intention of our leaders to announce our age-old independence to the outside world was only to let the world know the Nagas will remain independent as in ancient time. But not as we were freed from the British rule.

On the Second point: It was explained that the FGN was formed not only by the Nagas who were under the British occupation but including free Nagas from the North-east such as Konyak, Khiamniungan, Chang, Sangtam, Yimchunger and Phom. Among free Nagas, only Heimi and Somra Nagas did not participate due to lack of information and communication.

On the third point: I told him; according to Nagaland Yehzabo (Constitution), Nagaland is comprised of all territories inhabited by the Nagas. Our country name “Ngaland” was given by the NNC leaders when the Naga National Council was formed on 2nd February 1946, and the same was approved by the Tatar Hoho (Parliament) on March 22, 1956, when the Federal Government of Nagaland was duly formed. The name of Indian puppet state was also given as Nagaland in 1960 by the leaders of so-called Naga People’s Convention. It is therefore, name of Nagaland is not only referred to Indian puppet state but all the Naga territories.

And I continued, saying; if you principally accept my suggestion to work for national reconciliation, I will be staying with you here and take time to make Heimi and Koyank national workers understand on our national affairs. When they have fully understood, we can convene a public general meeting in and around Konyak Region and from there we have to declare the NSCN-K group has formally rejoined the NNC/FGN. This is the only way that we can stop killing among the Nagas and brings national unity once again. But Khaplang showed no sign to agree with my suggestion and I returned back to Kohima again.

Later after three years, I reached to his Laa Hong CHQ once again on January 9, 2003. This time our discussion was the most animated and vituperative. When I started to suggest him again to work for national unity by denouncing the NSCN; he angrily responded me saying: “why are you always urging me to rejoin the NNC? What had the NNC done? If the NNC has the way to achieve our national goal, why Phizo has failed to do it? Why Ms. Adinno could not do it? Why are you always saying that only the NNC has the right to tell Naga national history? No! we all have the right to tell our history”.

I responded him saying: if the NNC did not sow the seeds of Naga nationalism, today you and I will not be here to work for the Naga nation, and we will have no history. The NNC has done a lot for the Naga nation and today what we talk about our national history are only the records of the NNC. For the failure, you talk about is not only to be blamed Phizo or Adinno. As Phizo was sent to abroad by our people, he has done his duty to inform the outside world of the Naga national right, the suffering and plight of the Nagas in the hands of India. His efforts captured world opinion to support the Naga cause presenting before the U.N. However, by the news that Naga People’s Convention had accepted statehood under the Indian Constitution hampered his work in 1960s. Again in 1968, the formation of revolutionary government made his work suffered a severe setback again, and moreover the formation of NSCN did the same to his achievement. The Nagas have no unison voice to support Phizo and his daughter Adinno Phizo and neither did extend financial support to them. Then how can they do to make achievement. Even if you were there, you can’t do so.

You are right to say all Nagas can tell the Naga national history, but my point of view is; even if you or Muivah and Isak tell or write the history of the NNC/Naga nation, it won’t become as a history of the NSCN and neither can use it by the NSCN leaders as a history of the NSCN. This fact already proved by Isak and Muivah that without historical background they have no alternative to achieve Naga national goal. Because when they moved away from the NNC, they also moved away from the history and mandate of the people. The history and mandate of the people are not private properties to be taken away or used as one’s own will, but can be used them within the platform of the NNC, since the history is written and mandate is given on the platform of the NNC. This truth Muivah and Isak firmly said in 1976 that “without the NNC there is no short cut way to achieve our national goal”.

However, in 1980, they reversed their stand, stating; “It is arms and arms again that will save our nation and ensure freedom to the people” and hence started a new history in 1980. But they have failed to achieve their expected goal through arms struggle. We are obligated to fight for our national objective is solely based on truth and historical facts. For this reason I urge you to rejoin the NNC. The NNC belongs to all Nagas and rejoining the NNC doesn’t mean surrendering to the NNC. Please don’t compare our national affairs with mere party politics. The politicians of political party are playing politics to form their own party government, and they can dissolve their parties if necessary in the interest of jointly forming a new party whatever the name they agreed upon. But we can’t do the same way, because we are building our nation and striving to solve the conflict with the aggressors by addressing our history. After the problem is solved with the aggressors, then only party politics will be followed. But for now, we should not divert our nationalism into petty party politics or dilute it with other issues or political ideology.

You are a renowned leader among our Heimi people, your life should not be ended in bad record. Our lives are in the hands of God and we don’t know when our lives will be taken away by our Lord God. The killing among the Nagas started in our time and it should not be handed down to the younger generation without solving it. This is needed to solve by you before you die in the larger interest of our people and for the sake of your good record as well. The enemy is playing delaying tactics to solve the conflict with the Nagas. And as long as we are divided we can do nothing to achieve our national goal in our life time, instead we will be adding to succeeding the enemy’s policy.

As you asked me the question “what the NNC has done?”; so also some Nagas will ask you, what the NSCN has done? What will be your answer? He said nothing. I continued saying; as soon as you have formed the NSCN; you, the NSCN crushed down Khiamniungan Region in 1980, where the NSCN killed more than 500 Khiamniungan people, and then in 1984-85, the NSCN waged war against Lainong Nagas and there too the NSCN killed more than 800 Lainongs and razed down their villages into ashes. In 1988, the NSCN split into two factions, and now the two factions are joining hands with the enemies and fighting against each other. When the Indian elections are conducted the two NSCN factions are intentionally and diligently involving in the Indian elections. By forcefully they are collecting money from the Naga people and building their luxurious lives. All these are not that the NSCN has done? He said; some of Western Naga leaders have been doing as what you said.

The fighting among the NSCN factions is happening according to prophetic words which told you in 1984 through the boy Kummo Heimi in Eastern Nagaland and also Evangelist Athui Zeliang from Western Nagaland. The boy told you the words emanated by the Holy Spirit, that you should relinquish the NSCN setup and rejoins the NNC. If you do not obey Me, more killings will be happened among yourselves. On this Mr. Khaplang said: yes, we failed to obey the words of the Holy Spirit. We were told to summon FGN leaders including President Zashei Huire from Western side and have a meeting hosting a white flag on the hill top between Tsünkhao and Kingphu villages and declare reuniting with the NNC in the spirit of forgive and forget. He narrated it with regretfully. But no action was followed up accordingly.

And lastly, I gave another suggestion to form a committee from his group comprising five or seven members. The NNC/FGN has a committee and the two committees should have continuous and intensive talk for reconciliation. I could come to you once after ten years or five years, we therefore should have continuous talk through our committees in order to build up well understanding for reconciliation. On this my suggestion, he said; I have Council of Kilonsers (Ministers) and should have to discuss with them for your suggestion. But till date he has done nothing for the reconciliation. Now it is running more than ten years again.

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