Nagalim: Celebration of Anniversary of Ceasefire
On the 47th anniversary of the ceasefire between the Indian army and the Naga National Council, the Naga association reiterated its commitment to peace and unity and thanked the local Baptist Church for their help in negotiating the ceasefire agreement.
Below is an article published by The Telegraph of India:
The Naga National Council today [7 September 2010] reaffirmed its commitment for peace and normality in Nagaland.
Commemorating the 47th “ceasefire day” at Chedema peace camp, nearly 10km from here, the NNC iterated its commitment for non-violence and pledged to pursue a peaceful solution to the Naga political problem.
The pact with the Centre brought much relief to the people of Nagaland who were suffering at the hands of the army, the NNC said.
Director peace affairs, Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), Rev. Kari Longchar, said in the absence of a cohesive social or political organisation and against the backdrop of political violence, the church council had become a more structured platform and a unified voice of the Nagas.
He was referring to how the Baptist church had played a major role to restore peace in Nagaland vis-à-vis signing of the ceasefire in 1964.
“The church council spoke for the suffering, fears and needs of the people,” he added.
He said notwithstanding its limitation, the church council accepted the responsibility that was thrust upon it to shepherd the Nagas during some of the darkest hours in Naga history between 1955 and 1975.
“It was a period in our people’s history when the military of India was considered absolute; outside observers, journalists and sympathisers of the Nagas’ suffering were monitored…by the government of India,” Rev. Longchar said.
On this day in 1964, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the Centre and the NNC at Sakaraba village under Phek district, thanks to initiatives taken by the church council.
It was supported by a peace mission which included Rev. Michael Scott, a missionary from England, Jayaprakash Narayan and former Assam chief minister Bimala Prasad Chaliah.
Rev. Longchar said: “We remember how the Naga people rejoiced over the dawn of peace in our land. The Nagas must remain grateful to those who worked so hard for this historic day in time of need.”
Rev. Yankey Patton said the Nagas would continue to strive till their goal was achieved.
Former Lok Sabha MP, Rano M. Shaiza, said the Nagas were scattered everywhere because of various reasons.
She exhorted the Naga people to work collectively for a common cause and stressed the need for peace and unity.
A mass prayer was also held for peace in Nagaland, led by Rev. Longchar.
Commenting on the ongoing peace and reconciliation process among Naga groups, the vice-president of the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), the underground government of NNC, I. Temjenba, said they would not be part of the current process.
“How can we be part of the reconciliation process when we had not committed any mistake?” he said.
Temjenba said reconciliation could take place only between the fighting groups, but the NNC had neither committed any mistake in the past nor would it in the future.
He said his organisation would uphold the principle of Naga nationalism unlike other Naga groups which he accused of betraying the Naga people for the lure of money.