Beloved Naga brothers and sisters, I greet you all in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
Thirteen years ago, after a very selfless and committed effort from the Church leaders, Tribal Hoho leaders and GB/DBs, the cabinet status leaders of NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K), with due approval of their top leaders, Chairman Late Isak Chishi Swu and Chairman Late S.S Khaplang, took a bold unprecedented decision to meet arch rivals and vouch for Naga unity. Preparing for any eventuality, the leaders met and deliberated threadbare on 21st and 22nd November at Hovishe Village under Niuland Area UT I, all grounds were cleared and Naga unification was agreed upon. On 23rd Nov. 2007, Mr. Azheto Chophy, the then Kilo Kilonser of NSCN(IM) and Mr. C Singson the then Cabinet Kilonser in the NSCN (K), in presence of hundreds of national workers of both sides, signed the unification pact, taking a significant step towards a much needed Naga unity.
In our long history of conflict with the British Raj and later Indian occupation of our land, the adversaries managed to sow seeds of discord and employed policy of divide and rule in Naga homeland. Earlier in the 1950s and 60s, there were few bold attempts by the Church leaders and tribal leaders but problems persisted.
After the infamous Shillong Accord of 1975 and the formation of NSCN in 1980 and split in 1988, factionalism and fratricidal killings among the Nagas spiralled out of control. Hundreds were killed in faraway jungles, some buried hurriedly while others were left to the mercy of natures. The Naga tribes, villagers, the churches, the state government etc., were mute spectators to daylight merciless killings and merely kept busy collecting, transporting and burying dead bodies of factional battles. Peace and peaceful existence seemed a distant dream. There was no visible hope on the horizon. The Naga family feud began to overshadow the greater purpose of Nagas. The prolonged struggle of our people was seemingly being diminished by factionalism.
By the turn of the 21st century, peace and reconciliation among the warring Naga groups became extremely necessary. The barrel of gun was increasingly becoming a weapon to not only kill but also silence truth, encourage hegemonic tendencies, replacing inherited social structure in the name of Naga political struggle and Naga principle.
The Unification effort on 22nd November 2007 remains a key milestone in Naga history wherein it opened a genuine door to Naga nationalist leaders and followers to retrospect and reconcile with one another. It is true that 2007 Naga unification effort had the endorsement and approval of both Presidents i,e Isak Chishi Swu and S.S Khaplang. However, the former was later forced to deviate from his long nurtured vision. Once more, politics killed an answered prayer. As a result, many Naga patriots had to pay with their lives. A grim reminder that Naga leaders failed miserably at a crucial hour! God seldom opposes reconciliation between enemies. Those who truly trusts Him, there is no open door or closed door reconciliation. Naga history bears witness as to who stifled Naga unity and reconciliation process. The same formula is visible even today in the impending Indo-Naga political solution.
The FNR, through the divine revelation of Shisha Hoho, came into being on 7th May 2008 and took the reins of future peace and reconciliation meetings between various Naga political groups. Some historic meetings occurred such as;
Aug. 21, 2008 Chiang Mai Summit and the Covenant of Common Hope.
June 13, 2009 Covenant of Reconciliation.
July 15, 2010 Monyakshu Conclave between GPRN/NSCN and FGN/NNC.
September 18, 2010 meeting of Naga leaders at late Hukato Naga’s residence at Ikishe village.
Aug. 16, 2011 Naga Concordant after four day meeting at Niathu Resort and more at Oriental Theological College, Bade.
Feb. 29, 2012 Naga public meeting at Agri Expo grounds, Dimapur.
It is now eleven years since the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR) was jointly signed by late Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman, NSCN(IM); late SS Khaplang, Chairman, GPRN/NSCN and Brig. (Retd.) S Singnya, Kedahge (President), FGN.
For benefit of readers, the text of the Covenant is reproduced below:
“Having been deeply convicted by God’s call in Christ, and the voice of the Naga people, for Reconciliation, we hereby solemnly commit before God to offer ourselves to Naga Reconciliation and Forgiveness based on the Historical and Political Rights of the Nagas.
We resolve to continue to work together in this spirit of love, non-violence, peace and respect to resolve outstanding issues amongst us.
Furthermore, we exhort and call upon other Naga groups to join us in Reconciling with each other”. Today, although complete reconciliation and unity is yet to be achieved, nevertheless the spirit and commitment of Covenant of Reconciliation is pretty much a working principle of WC, NNPGs. In unity and comradeship, the seven Naga political groups (WC, NNPGs) are on a threshold of a political solution that is honorable and acceptable to the Naga people. We have never wavered from the idea of Naga reconciliation even though the Naga people have now shifted the focus from reconciliation and unity to practical and realistic Indo-Naga political solution and rightly so.
GPRN/NSCN salutes all Naga comrades who have sacrificed their lives to propagate peace and unity amongst Naga brothers. Appreciation and gratitude goes to the FNR, Churches, GBs, DBs, Tribal Hohos, mothers, students, intellectuals, concerned Naga citizens and well wishers who assisted, prayed and expressed solidarity during the tumultous days of Naga unification.
Today, with an added responsibility and intent to entrench Naga historical and political right, and to fulfil the aspiration of our people for a common future through early Indo-Naga political solution, GPRN/NSCN is committed to continue partnering WC, NNPGs and work in close collaboration with 14 tribes of Nagaland, Nagaland Gaon Burah Federation (NGBF), Nagaland Tribes Council(NTC), Eastern Naga Peoples Organisation (ENPO), Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC), Churches, peace mediators, concerned senior citizens, intellectuals and all sections of Naga society. We will continue to reach out and consult our very own Naga brethren in Myanmar, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and also maintain cordial relationship with our neighbours for peaceful harmonious co-existence. To this we seek God’s guidance and our people’s co-operation.
GOD BLESS NAGALAND!
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