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Peace on rebel leaders’ lips

- Nagaland outfits’ top guns celebrate Christmas in villages, designated camps

Kohima, Dec. 25: Leaders of different militant groups today celebrated Christmas with their families, friends and comrades with renewed hope as the Naga peace process has entered a crucial stage.

National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) chairman Isak Chishi Swu celebrated Christmas at his village Chishilimi in Zunheboto district after nearly 50 years.

President of the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN) — the oldest underground government of Naga National Council (NNC) which was formed in 1946 — “Gen. (retd)” Viyalie Metha celebrated Christmas with Chiechema villagers nearly 27km from here.

Khole Konyak and Kitovi Zhimomi, chairman and general secretary of the NSCN (KK), celebrated Christmas at their designated camp at Khehoyi, 15km from Dimapur.

NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah celebrated Christmas at the council headquarters in Camp Hebron with his cadres, 30km from Dimapur.

Attending the celebrations, Metha called for peace and unity.

He said violence would not deliver any solution to the problem and added that decades of violence against Government of India had proved meaningless. The Naga leader said the time had come for all to adopt non-violent means to resolve the issues.

The 77-year-old president of the FGN who had joined the NNC way back in 1956 as a writer said NNC/FGN was ready to begin talks with New Delhi with the intervention of a third party.

“We can begin negotiations with India with a third party intervention,” Metha told this correspondent.

He said NNC/FGN had no confidence in New Delhi and without a third party intervention there would be no talks. He said even if the Centre invited them for talks without a third party, they would not sit across the table.

Metha joined the NNC after his matriculation from Government High School, Kohima. He said the NNC did its best to achieve a solution through guns but in vain. “It is foolish to pursue solution through the barrel of guns,” he added.

The first talks between the Centre and the NNC was held after the September 6, 1964, ceasefire.

Tomorrow, Metha will host a picnic for his families and relatives at Chiechema.

“At this age it is good to have a gathering with families and friends,” he said.

The president of the FGN will also celebrate New Year with his NNC/FGN comrades at a peace camp in Kohima village.