NE has to be open to peace: Dr. Wati Aier

Morung Express News
Dimapur | September 22

6th North East Youth Peace and Cultural Festival concludes

It is not common for a speaker at an “interfaith” congregation to whistle into the mike. But today’s speaker at the 6th North East Youth Peace and Cultural Festival 2013, being held at Holy Cross Hr. Sec. School here, is not known for deploying common methods. Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, Principal of Oriental Theological Seminary and Convenor of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, was met with the enthusiasm he showed by the children and youth in packed attendance for today’s message on the Festival’s theme, “peace building through reconciliation.”

Dr. Wati whistled to get the boys at the congregation to cheer for the girls in attendance, drawing loud ovation in response, with some girls raising a high-five. “Women are not second class beings to be mistreated. Do not violate them, and treat them with respect,” Dr. Wati advised.
His message was heard with rapt attention.

“The world is in chaos—in the midst of this, you and I have this opportunity to meet and talk about peace and reconciliation,” spoke Dr. Wati loud and clear, engaging in a dialogue with the delegates, asking them to believe in the uniqueness of each of their being. The Festival, hosted by Peace Channel and People’s Forum for Peace, is being attended by more than 600 delegates today.

Since the conflicts of the 21st century revolve around lines of ethnicity, conventional methods or government systems of resolving conflicts will not work, explained Dr. Wati. Non government organizations, as well as churches, will play an important role to bring peace through their activism.

“We are in conflict with the world in a positive way,” he stated. Referring to the myriad peoples who inhabit the North East region of India, he asserted that “we do not want to be marginalized or subjugated anymore. We are not satisfied with the inhuman, divided world. Thus, we must be different in order to change this world.” The North East, he said, must be open to peace and hope for future transformation of state through “reconciliation in god.”

In that, “we are fortunate to transcend our local organizational and denominational lines to come together in a cumulative manner like this,” he said.

Dr. Wati made a reference to the “bitter hatred” that is making people kill each other today. Through ‘isms’ as well as the principalities (ideologies, tribes, etc.) and powers derived from this world, he reflected, “we often become involved in destructive social arrangements without being aware of it. This makes us partake in the evil of ‘collective sins’ especially through the actions of an agency or party. Young people have to take the initiative to change this situation; to fight it.”

He quoted the example of Yousafzai Malala from Pakistan who was shot at by extremists at the age of 15 for being a woman and daring to seek education. She survived and later took up the cause of equal education for all. Thus children, said Dr. Wati, should not take their life and opportunities for granted.

There is no age limit, he held, to stand up against injustice. Simple acts like keeping the city clean could contribute towards peace. Moreover, the youth should talk about curbing ‘isms’. “We are ethnically different but in a modern world, isms should give way to a common humanity through such congregations,” he maintained, referring to the ongoing Festival, which concludes today.

Bandh should be lifted immediately

It is indeed very unfortunate that a senior NSCN officer involved in this incident. However, more unfortunately the valley medias try to highlight THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE with some or without any intentions by ignoring the other more important issues and killing in the state.  Momoko was not even raped but alleged to be slapped or molested but because of this incident,  it is very sad that a journalist was killed by the Police during the bandh. Today, this issue has blown up out of proportion to the seriousness of the issue with pre-plan or spontaneous reactions from the people.

Total Bandh  in Imphal. Courtesy Pic: e-pao.net

Total Bandh in Imphal. Courtesy Pic: e-pao.net

Incidents are the incident and crime are the crimes  but we can solve the problem with understanding or through peaceful rally in the state capital without total bandh. Of course, there were many similar and other serious incident and crimes were happening in the state from corruption to killing. However, it seems like this incident is the most important issue in the state, and the most heinous crime that have ever committed in the state.

Justice should be delivered to the alleged victim and the alleged culprit should be given a befitting punishment according to the law in the land. Every organisation has the right to press the Govt. to take up the action. However, calling total bandh in the state for this particular issue during the Christmas is indeed very unfortunate as the meiteis Christians and tribal are busy shopping and preparing for Christmas.

If the valley based organisation take up the case through peaceful rally and press the Govt. of Manipur to arrest the alleged culprit, I am in the opinion that every single soul in Manipur and people outside the state may support and share their voices to arrest the culprit immediately. However, in this particular incident, the concern organisations have taken up the law in their hand and push away the supporters for the cause.

It may be just an organisation or two, but when there is totally bandh in the state, it is possible that even a light-minded people also can have misconception and misunderstanding on the going total bandh in Imphal. To avoid suck kind of misconception and misunderstanding, all the right thinking people and organisation – both in the valley and in the hill should involve to solve the problem amicably.

I would say that it may be a genuine case and the victim should get the justice and the allege culprit should be punished according to the law of the law. But calling total bandh in Imphal and causing lots of inconveniences to the people especially the tibal in the state can have different views or wrong notion on the motive of calling bandh. It is indeed unfortunate that this incident happen during the Christmas when everyone is busy shopping and preparing for the Christmas and calling total bandh in Imphal can have more presumption, misconception and misunderstanding among the people. Therefore, this total bandh should be called off immediately and if those protesters if they want may continue their peaceful rally in the capital without calling total bandh in the capital. If this total bandh continues, even the meiteis and the tribals who are supporting the allege victim may have different views and motive of the bandh.

@Dr. Thohe Pou