The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Support to dialogue moves Swu
- MPs cut across party lines to endorse Naga talks

New Delhi, Jan. 18: In a rare gesture of solidarity, parliamentarians today cut across party lines to come out in full support of the ongoing peace dialogue between the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) and the Centre.

“It’s simply wonderful. We have been received warmly. All (MPs) have risen above party interest. It is a historic occasion. We hope that this spirit is seen in Parliament as well when support will be required for resolving the problem. The Nagas wish to live peacefully with you all. We feel that our visit to Delhi has been successful,” a moved Isak Chisi Swu, chairman of the NSCN (I-M) said, addressing a luncheon meet hosted by former emissary to the Naga peace talks, Swaraj Kaushal, at the India International Centre.

The general secretary of the organisation, Thuingaleng Muivah, was also overwhelmed by the response. “Our gratefulness can’t be explained in words. We believe in you,” he told the gathering of 27 MPs and seven former MPs, besides a few Naga delegates and prominent opinion leaders.

“The MPs gathered here today shared the general concern for peace in the state,” Kaushal said, introducing the speakers to the Naga leaders.

Parliamentarians who gave brief speeches on the occasion belonged to the BJP, the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party, the Samata Party, the Shiv Sena, some regional parties and a few Independents.

BJP MP Sanghapriya Gautam, no stranger to events in Nagaland as he had been a frequent visitor to the state, said the importance of the leaders’ visit and an agreement can be compared to the Round Table Conference in 1931.

“Lord Sankey, the chairman of the Federal Structure Committee, (had) exhorted the Indian leaders to arrive at an agreement and said: ‘In a few months time you’ll be returning to your old delightful country and your friends will ask you what you have brought back for us. Will you say that you have done nothing'’” recalled Gautam, who also quoted from a speech delivered by Ambedkar in 1946.

Santosh Bagrodia, Congress MP, added a touch of nostalgia when he spoke of his days of sojourn in Nagaland and wished that it would soon become possible to travel freely in the state without any apprehension. “You are welcome to this country and our party is ruling in Nagaland at the moment. We all want peace... I wish you go back only after peace is fully established in the state,” he said

While most members struck the same note of welcome and support, Shiv Sena MP Pritish Nandy said the talks should serve as a “model” for other countries and groups. “This is an occasion that could well set an example for others to follow,” he said.

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