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Remembering a martyr GB Inaho Kinimi 

Nagaland News

Jasokie said in 1990: “If talks fail, underground can go back to jungles”

Nirendra Dev 
NEW DELHI, JULY 21: Who would know Inaho Kinimi, a Gaon Bura, killed in 1957?
Forget later generations even someone like JB Jasokie was struggling for a while about his second name. This was in 1990 ~ the day former Chief Minister Jasokie told me in an interview ~ “I have retired from politics”.
Inaho Kinimi hailed from Lumami village ~ it falls in Akuluto region of Zunheboto district.
Jasokie became emotional talking about Inaho and he walked in his room for a while trying to recollect Kinimi’s second name. One of the doyens of Naga politics said, “Things started towards peace with a lot of risks. All of you cannot understand. Just for attending a pre-peace move consultation meeting at Kohima, Inaho was killed”.
Paying homage, Jasokie said: “Inaho was a brave man…He made it possible for Gaon Buras to understand their powers and political wisdom”.
As I recall these, I am also reminded of a few expert commentaries around 2017 ~ when it was tried to imply that Gaon Buras do not understand anything of Nagaland politics and peace initiatives.
Inaho’s soul would not entertain such logics by the urbane and English speaking netas and their coteries certainly.
For some reasons and creditably so, the Gaon Buras are again in news and no less than Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had shown immense faith in the institutions of Gaon Buras of Nagaland.
Some years later after my meeting with Jasokie, I was told underground military commander Gen Kaito Sukhai at one stage ‘wanted to save’ Inaho’s life as the initial information that reached the underground camp was somehow ‘misquoted’ and so at lower levels orders were passed that he (Inaho Kinimi) should be eliminated.
In terms of ‘family background’ both Kaito and Inaho shared the ‘kingship’ tradition. Just like Konyaks call themselves ‘Angs’ the Sema term ~ I was told is ~ Akakau. Both hailed from Akakau background.
But Gen Kaito’s orders that Inaho should be arrested and produced ‘alive’ reached his designated assassins late. And hence Inaho could not be saved.
Jasokie was actually narrating something different ~ his interactions with Shashimeren Aier, a Naga intellectual and civil servant based at Shillong. Shashimeren, the first Naga post-graduate, hadsuggested Jasokie and other Naga leaders to float a forum to take up peace related matters.
On July 27, 1957, the first preliminary meeting was held and it was attended by representatives of various tribes ~ Angami, Ao, Rengma, Lotha, Sema, Konyak and Zeliang ~ but not all.
The meeting was held at the ‘Western House’, Kohima, Jasokie had said and I hardly knew what that ‘Western House’ meant. Jasokie was named as the secretary in the meet and it was presided over by Longrikaba. “Inaho was killed in his village Lumami shortly after that meeting”, Jasokie had recalled.
At the meeting it was decided that a forum that would work for peace would be named Naga People’s Convention.
It was resolved that “the present situation in Naga country demands a change in the interest of all concerned and whereas it is essential to complete mutual understanding and unanimity amongst the Naga people as a whole”.
It was agreed that a subsequent meeting would be held on August 22, 1957. At the meeting, it was also underlined that the Government would be “requested to provide facilities for the free movement of the people concerned” and ensure “safe passage”.
Between me and Jasokie (on September 24, 1990) we spoke at length on various issues oncerning Nagaland ~ the insurgency, prohibition and even floating of an armed gang called ‘Naga Youth Liberation Front’ (NYLF).
Few questions I posed and his responses as published in (Nagaland News Review, Kohima) are worth referring to (interview published on October 1,1990).
It may be of interest to mention here that first I gave the draft of the interview to Riato Jasokie (Thomas) for his paper. But he said, “Oh, Moshai (he often would call me that) it would not be in good taste to publish my father’s interview in my paper”.
My question to Jasokie: “Would you venture to comment on the long standing issue of ‘Naga problem’?”
JB Jasokie: “With factionalism at its peak among the underground, I am very pessimistic of a permanent solution.”

I also quizzed: “What has been the Government of India’s attitude to solve the problem. What do you think they should do?”
His answer: “Centre has not been serious really. It always puts pre-conditions of negotiation ~ within the ambit of Indian Constitution. This, the underground do not accept. I think, at least once we should sit without any pre-condition. The negotiation can be accepted or not. It can be a deadlock also. But no harm, we will stand where we are. Underground will go back to jungles.”
Circa 2022, is JB Jasokie listening to us?