The public yearning for Naga Reconciliation is not new. Various well-intended processes to strengthen and realize reconciliation have been initiated over the years by Naga civil society organizations and the Churches. In today’s context it is difficult to realistically and honestly imagine the Naga people realizing their rights without first achieving genuine reconciliation among ourselves. The prolonged divisions within the Naga national groups (factions) have ensured that Naga Reconciliation be closely intertwined with Naga political and historical rights. They are different sides of the same coin.
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) was formed in February 2008 at a time when the Naga national movement was facing deepening fragmentation and the outbreak of internal violence threatened to plunge the entire Naga people into an abyss. It was in response to this situation that the FNR was formed. It was a series of public meetings which eventually led to Naga civil society organizations and churches agreeing to jointly work for Naga Reconciliation in a collective and concerted manner. This shared desire culminated with the formation of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation.
FNR’s initial task was to address the spiraling violence and counter-violence between the Naga national groups. After series of interventions and due to rising public dissent, the factional violence receded and with leaders of the groups committing themselves to Naga reconciliation, the next stage of the FNR’s task was to involve the groups in together creating a sustained period free of violence. This was to enable a safe environment that would facilitate leaders of the groups to engage in face-to-face meetings and discussions. These meetings yielded fruit in the form of landmark documents where Naga national groups declared they “have reconciled on the basis of the historical and political rights in the spirit of forgiveness and acceptance.”
Yet, the reconciliation process remains on shaky ground. Not all Naga national groups have been successful in their discussions to agree to an inclusive process whereby all the Naga national groups can unitedly pursue the Naga historical and political rights. Furthermore, the inability to implement various agreements jointly signed by them has been a serious flaw in the Naga reconciliation process. All these pitfalls have been further complicated by acts of factional violence, killings, abductions and self-justifications. It is a tragedy that some groups have not fully realized that violence is not the way to reconciliation. These complexities have led to an unpredictable and unhealthy stalemate; thereby putting the reconciliation process in grave danger of self-destruction.
The path of reconciliation has been difficult and one that is riddled with tribulations. In the process the Forum for Naga Reconciliation has been accused at various points in time by individuals, organizations and Naga national groups. Our integrity and intentions have been questioned, our interventions have been mocked and ridiculed and we have become the convenient ‘punching bag’ for all to throw accusations and blame. Nonetheless, the FNR holds the view: there is no future without forgiveness and reconciliation. The Forum for Naga Reconciliation remains committed to an inclusive and genuine Naga reconciliation of all the Naga national groups. FNR believes that the practice of exclusion has no future for the Nagahood. If truth, justice, and peace, is what we are seeking for, then without the will to inclusivity takes precedence Naga future will remain distant.
Persuaded by this moral conviction, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation today declares once again to the people that violence is not the way to reconciliation. It only sows the seed of hate and destruction. The Naga public can no longer remain silent on this matter anymore. It is time to take a firm stand. If it is the desire of the Nagas to reconcile and jointly pursue the historical and political rights of the Naga people, we must all join hands and put an end to factional violence.
FNR’s vision of reconciliation entails a coherent set of beliefs about the nature of our faith and our relationship with; fellow beings also about the relation between justice and love which lies at the core of Christian faith. If our political engagement is to flourish it must be governed by this vision.
Hence, united in our shared desire for Naga Reconciliation, Unity and Peace, the Forum for Naga Reconciliations demands that the Naga national groups agree to jointly work in cooperation with credibility and transparency towards the following:
- To immediately STOP all forms of confrontation and violence that may result in any further divisions among the Nagas;
- To constructively work together in addressing differences and difficulties of the ground realities;
- To sincerely coordinate and co-operate with each other in strengthening the process of Naga reconciliation and unity;
- To exhibit magnanimity by inviting and accommodating all other Naga national groups that have not been part of the reconciliation process;
- To uphold the values of human rights and self-determination by overcoming all forms of sectarianism, discrimination and exploitation without territorial demarcation among fellow Nagas;
- To forge an inclusive and united vision for the Naga people to peacefully live together and also with other communities around;
- To unitedly pursue the Naga historical and political rights; and
- To pray for one another as we journey towards reconciliation.
These represent the core values on which we strive to establish trust and accountability.
Finally, the existence of the Naga Reconciliation process is dependent on the active support of an alert populace. We therefore appeal to the people to make a decisive stand in this critical juncture when the Naga Reconciliation process is in peril of self-destruction.
Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR)
July 10. 2014