FNR and ACAUT Working for Worthy Cause

Jakama, July 11 (MExN): Responding to queries raised by students on “Forum for Naga Reconciliation and Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation running a parallel movement,” the ACAUT team believed that Forum for Naga Reconciliation is making sincere effort to unite the factions through Christian values and principles of forgiveness and reconciliation. However, as long as all the factions have their independent authority to raise tax from the people in the name of sovereignty, they are able to survive comfortably and therefore Christian values do not really compel them to consider reconciliation in a serious manner.

“The road ACAUT has adopted is a difficult one but a possible one; when we the public finds the collective strength and courage to stop paying their illegal tax, they will be forced to consider uniting if they want to survive. No factions would take FNR seriously if they adopt this strategy. Since both approaches are for a worthy cause, we are working separately, but for the same purpose,” asserted ACAUT team during their interaction with the students of St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama on July 9.

ACAUT Nagaland Media Cell in a press release stated that ACAUT Nagaland visited the St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama as part of its ongoing awareness drive. The interaction with the faculty and students took place in the college basketball court, which was moderated by Kevitho Kera, Social Media Convenor.

On questioning about how ‘One government One Tax’ can unite the factions, the ACAUT team said that all factions need money to run their organizations. At present, all factions are comfortably surviving on illegal taxation in the name of sovereignty. We see no rationality for seven factions to be fighting separately for one sovereignty. Therefore, they must unite in everyone’s interest. The only way to make them unite is to cut off their financial resources and they will be forced to unite if they want to survive. The people have been paying tax for fear of AK47 but the time has come for us to all stand together and say, “Enough is enough” and stop paying tax until they unite. Once they unite, the citizens are prepared to pay for a united national movement. Provided Nagas can stand together in a determined way, it is possible that the factions will be forced to rethink their unreasonable approach in this matter.

Speaking at the event, Khekiye K. Sema (IAS Retd), ACAUT Consultative Body member said, “Nagas as Christians have lost our honest character. We rather go back to head hunting when we had strong principles. Government is the eighth faction collecting taxes. All factions are fighting for sovereignty but does sovereignty differ for every faction?” Also Kezhokhoto Savi, ACAUT Legal cell Convenor said, “NGOs are equally guilty in the Illegal collections taking place in the National highways. Ministers asking cuts and commissions should not be tolerated.”

Mar Longkumer, Tia Longchar and Dr. Khekhügha Muru were the other accompanying ACAUT members. St. Joseph’s College is a community college and has as of now 2760 students where coaching for UPSC and NSPC is also provided. It offers Humanities, Science, Commerce and BBA courses.

Advertisements

Naga groups meeting held at Kolkata 

DIMAPUR, May 3: The five-day long Naga underground leaders from various groups concluded today in Kolkata under the aegis of Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR).The meet participated by NSCN-IM, NNC/FGN and NSCN-Khole/Kitovi was in pursuit for the realization of the Lenten Agreement signed on March 28, 2014 in Dimapur which main aim has been for the formation of a single

NSCN-IM and NSCN-KK (old file picture)

NSCN-IM and NSCN-KK (old file picture)

Naga underground ‘government’ or group called Naga National Government (NNG).The Forum for Naga Reconciliation facilitated a series of formal and informal meetings among the leaders of the Lenten Agreement signatory groups. On recognizing the necessity, the three Naga underground groups agreed to have a close-door residential meeting among the top leadership. Subsequently, a five-day reconciliation meeting was organized in Kolkata from April 29 to May 3, 2014 with the intent to engage and explore creative ways to fulfill the Lenten Agreement.

 

The top leadership of NSCN-Khole/Kitovi was represented by ‘General’ Khole Konyak and N. Kitovi Zhimomi; NNC/FGN leaders Zhopra Vero, Vice President and Zaleo Sapu, Home Minister, responding to this necessity participated in the meeting. Their presence is valued with much appreciation. FGN President, Brig. S. Singnya was unable to attend the meeting due to ill-health. Furthermore, the travel of NSCN-IM leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Th. Muivah to Kolkata was not cleared by the Government of India, and hence, unable to personally attend. In their absence, they were represented by General (Retd) VS Atem, Khevihe Chishi Swu and TT Among. 


According to the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), in the course of the 5-day meeting, the three Naga political groups expressed the necessity of Naga reconciliation as a means to a shared future and extended their willingness to work for it till it is achieved. As part of the confidence building measures the representatives identified positive and negative aspects of the process and specified key steps on how the Naga reconciliation can be further reinforced. “They explored together the values of Truth, Mercy, Peace and Justice and emphasized on how they were vital to the journey of Naga reconciliation. The representatives through a process of envisioning shared their vision for the Naga people and expressed desire to engage in more confidence building measures as a way of trashing out difficult issues in the interest of the shared Naga future,” the FNR said. “While appreciating the Government of India for their cooperation to Naga reconciliation, the FNR is concerned by this recent attitude, thereby raising questions of doubt and insincerity,” the FNR added. “The Forum for Naga Reconciliation takes this opportunity to clearly inform that the Naga Reconciliation Process is in the interest of the common good of all concerned. For too long the internal division of the Nagas has been projected as one of the causes for the protracted conflict. Hence, in this time of peace, where Naga political groups are reconciling and seeking ways to find unity in purpose, the FNR urges Nagas, our neighbours and the Government of India to have more understanding and extend even moral support to the process. The realization of Naga reconciliation is in the mutual interest of all those who desire justice, peace and reconciliation in the region,” the FNR press communique stated.

Nagas need Christian worldview for reconciliation

By: B.Thohii Shuru

The Lenten Agreement signed by the three political groups marks the new chapter for “Naga reconciliation: a journey of common hope”. Symbolically, the timing and the word ‘Lenten’ have meaning to the biblical significance in which the process needs to orient in that direction. A close read up on the Republic Day speeches of the collective leaders of Naga political groups this year show positive commitment to engage in reconciliation for common future. Also reading between the lines one finds a departure from the kind of previous years’ speeches which are, more often than not, intent with hatred and viciously vitriolic content of intolerance indulging in self-exoneration.

In the twists and turns of the history of Naga national movement came the tragedy of the fall to Naga politics of factions, the fall out of dissension, discord, and rebellion within the Naga nationalists, and in consequence of it saw many wrongs committed for which we are seeking redemption today. Fratricidal killing has caused grave dehumanisation of lives and has bogged Naga communities to moral and social disarray. Ills of intra-contradictions, dissension, righteous attitude, and pseudo-Christian attitude prevailing within the Naga communities continue to be the main hurdle for achieving ultimate reconciliation. Therefore, the Naga leaders need to rethink in radically different term about a system that would help restore peace to our broken communities, shattered by past wrongs.
Six years ago, the FNR initiated the bold process of reconciliation to rebuild trust between the Naga leaders and accept the truth of, ‘reconciliation is a political necessity’ for an honourable Naga political solution. The latest efforts of the FNR need serious and sincere engagement from our leaders of Naga political groups, not just paper agreement. So, a valid question to ask is, why should our leaders find it so hard to reconcile each other in the spirit of Christian?

Secular worldview – be it naturalism, eastern pantheism, the new age, post modern secularism, liberation theologies, or a host of others have all failed to offer redemption to world chaos. All these worldview have failed to escape its own contradictions or disastrous implications. But Christian worldview, as studies showed, is accepted as the only alternative that offers redemption to world predicaments. Of the numerous alternatives that are as numerous as the various religions and philosophies of the world, Christianity is accepted as the only alternative that can participate in restorative justice programmes, implement redemptive policies, or be rebuilders of broken communities and broken lives.

Unless we are utopians, we have to accept the fact that we can never have an ideal type of just society. But when bad things happen to societies and individuals, Christianity is said to have been the only alternative that provides hope of redemption. The truth is that, Christian people doing a Christian thing in a Christian way take the lead not only in producing individual transformation, but in reanimating culture, bringing Christian truth to bear in all aspects of our common lives together.
True justice, according to Burnside, involves an ongoing dialectic between the antiseptic and compassionate views, aiming higher to achieve the goal of right relationship. But this dialectic can take place only within the context of what moral philosopher Alisdair MacIntyre calls a ‘tradition of enquiry’. And in Burnside’s view, that tradition is Christianity which sees humanity in relational term – in relationship between God and humans and among humans.

Historically, secular naturalism and biblical theism have been utterly antithetical in viewpoints over different understandings of how government should function to preserve order and promote justice. Philosophers like Rousseau and Voltaire have made a scathing attack on Christianity and its institutions challenging the historic Christian view of original sin and blaming Christian institutions as an oppression that chained men.

The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century that propagates State as the ultimate liberator saw its disastrous implications in world history as such paradoxes as the Reign of Terror in French Revolution’s pursuit of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. We also saw Marx’s influence of economic solution to social ills that led to the gulags and the killing fields in Cambodia under the totalitarian regime of Pol Pot in the twentieth century. The Naga history too is stained with tyranny and blood as witnessed in fratricidal killings and having seen many public leaders got killed. History proves that all revolutionary leaders in one way or other are under the influence of the writings of Rousseau, Voltaire, and Marx and so on.

Utopianism declared God irrelevant to politics and men can achieve a this-worldly redemption through political action, that is, through the seizure and use of power by an enlightened vanguard. This is seen in the political actions of Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and so on.

Now coming back to my main point in discourse, today the Naga society lives with unhealed wound of many wrongs committed in the past by the Naga political groups. These wrongs were committed in the trunk line of Machiavelli and Hobbes theories that declared the state is paramount to citizen’s life, justifying that any act, even killing if necessary for the cause of the state, is legitimate. Here, I think, is a syndrome of moral ambivalence where Naga nationalist leaders are caught between two moral responsibilities of as the state heads and as Christians. Paradoxically, the Utopian authority of justifying the act of even the worst kind for Naga nation is against the moral restraint of conscience to do no wrong by the fact of being Christian and believing in biblical teaching of sin. Taking one’s life cannot be justified with convenience like ‘God will understand it’. Naga society is suffering today with wounds of hurts and unforgiving attitude for crimes brought about by political action of those in power. Fairly exercise of restraint of moral conscience to do no more wrong by the Naga nationalist leaders to rebuild and restore a rational and just society is obviously absent.

In a predicament like this in Naga context, I believe, our leaders need to embrace Christian restorative justice that is base on restitution or making rights to the extent possible the wrongs done. The reason is that in the context of Naga national movement, God relevance to Naga politics is paramount right from the beginning in against to utopianism that declared God irrelevant to politics. I feel it necessary to quote here some of what our collective leaders’ echoes in their Republic Day speeches this year: “Fifty eight years ago on this Day of the Lord as National Government with a framed Constitution in the name of God Almighty that we were and we are a nation” (NNC), “Nagaland for Christ is a covenant of God with the Nagas”, “When God is happy with NSCN, than there will be an honourable solution. If God be on our side who can be against us” (NSCN/GPRN). These have bearing on how Naga nationalism is founded upon God in centre and a total repose of faith in God for deliverance from political bondage. In the light of the above, the Christian worldview must become the guiding belief to engage in reconciliation.

Historically, Christianity has brought transformation to the Naga societies to give up headhunting – a culture that legitimizes violence involved in head taking. Today’s fratricidal killing among Naga political factions and systematic targeting of public leaders is a sublimated form of Naga primitive headhunting culture. Retributive justice to ‘even the score’ in killing was the legitimate act of headhunting. There is no difference between fratricidal killing and primitive headhunting in the context of expression of human aggression. Initially Naga primitive headhunting was sublimated through restriction imposed by external agent, Christianity.

Nevertheless, that sublimation would not have come to a savage Naga had there not been development of individual transformation from self within. It was Christianity that helped a Naga to transform individually and finally decide that it was morally wrong to kill another for head trophy – the result of the influence of Christian historic teaching of sin. The basic instinct of human aggression and for a Naga too, can never be sublimed totally but the moral restraint of that instinct comes from the teaching of Christianity.

A society that enjoys near ideal type of peaceful and harmonious lives is the one that respect the rule of law and order by the citizens. That natural rule of law and order is dead in Naga societies; it has been reduced to the rule of men, the will of those who holds power which has only compounded evil in Naga society. Restoring that rule of law based on truth is the redemption the Naga societies need today. If there is no truth there is no rule of law. To achieve this objective in the context of the Naga society, no secular views or the applied legal means of reconciliation like in Rwanda would really help the Naga faction groups to reconcile or forgive the wrongs carried out in totalitarian authority by the leaders of all faction groups. It is the biblical view that should really become the means of reconciliation to Naga society because through this means must establish a transcendent authority for the law that would enables the Naga commoners to live in security under the rule of law, which is objectively true. Also, the biblical view must help the Naga Christians to recognise the reality of sin and thus provides a mechanism to restrain it. And it is only the biblical worldview that provides us to account for the wrongs we do, deal with our guilt and provides a way for the human heart to be transformed.

The cries of Naga peoples for reconciliation are loud, and the latest Lenten Agreement is welcome by all civil organisations and individuals alike. Therefore, now our leaders need to listen to the voice of the peoples in general and take it forward to reality, beyond mere agreement in papers.

Reconciliation and its Possibilities

8 Oct 2013: Reconciliation is a dynamic realistic process forward for a people to become united in purpose towards achieving aspirations such as forgiveness and healing, justice and peace, democracy, dignity, and inclusive development. It is the art of the possible and implies a fundamental shift in personal and group power relations which comes about when people can freely, safely and openly talk about their fears and hopes, hurts and responsibilities. The Naga people’s existing circumstances call out for the reconciliation of a broken people.

In today’s degenerating circumstances, reconciliation is more imperative than ever before. At this given juncture of our history, Naga reconciliation provides the most realistic way out of the spiraling crisis faced from both within and without. For the Naga people, reconciliation offers the possibility of bringing everyone into relationships of mutual trust and respect by acknowledging the responsibility for past hurt and wrongs, while also uniting through consensus for a shared future.

In the present Naga situation, there is no future without reconciliation. However, a shared future is entirely possible, as understood by the Naga public when they expressed their support for Naga Reconciliation.

The task of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation is to build ONE Naga House founded on Naga historical and political rights. This allows for the Naga political groups to reconcile in the spirit of forgiveness and mutual respect; to acknowledge mistakes while also recognizing their achievements and contributions made at various stages of the political history. The stepping stones towards a shared future emerge through this ongoing process. Personal and group commitments are necessary in order to move forward together based on the lessons learnt from the past and by taking inspiration in the positive political steps that have sustained and strengthened the Naga movement since its inception.

Leaders of the Naga political groups in the course of the Naga Reconciliation process declared that they have “reconciled on the basis of Naga historical and political rights, and recognized that all Nagas must unite in the shared purpose towards achieving our Naga political aspirations.”

Despite this declaration, even today, factional violence in its many forms: abductions, killings, provocations, justifications and threats continue to undermine the process. The Naga leaders are found wanting in demonstrating their statesmanship and respecting the people’s desire for reconciliation. Rather than working together to build ONE Naga House, the political groups are busy building their own respective houses, thereby, further fragmenting the reconciliation process. These contradictions between commitment and action threaten the Naga people’s hope for reconciliation, unity, and justice and peace.

If the Reconciliation process is to continue with credibility, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation:
1. DEMANDS that all the Naga political groups immediately stop violence perpetuated in any form;
2. URGES the leaders of the Naga political groups to demonstrate their statesmanship by putting aside factional politics and work for the common Naga cause of justice and peace;
3. ASSERTS that all Naga political groups to stop building their interest-based political houses and focus on building ONE Naga House;
4. ENCOURAGES all other Naga political groups who are committed to reconciliation to join the Naga Reconciliation process; and
5. EXPRESSES the view that the Naga de facto can be realized only with the people’s active participation, and hence, all Naga political groups work together for a referendum through which the people can freely express, participate and determine the Naga future.

The Forum for Naga Reconciliation intends for the reconciliation process to be inclusive, participatory and transparent. It is also aware that no single process is perfect or satisfactory to all circumstances and parties involved. However, difficult choices and decisions need to be made in order to move forward in the Naga context. With this in mind, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation sincerely reaches out to the Naga public and welcomes your active support, guidance, suggestions and prayers.

Forum for Naga Reconciliation
October 8, 2013