The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rival responds to Khaplang

Kohima/Dimapur, Feb. 5: The NSCN (I-M) has raised hopes of reconciliation of the warring Naga factions by terming the rival Khaplang group’s unity formula a “good one”, though it has yet to directly respond to the offer.

Naga Hoho president M. Vero today quoted the NSCN (I-M) leadership as saying that the Khaplang group had made a proposal worth considering. He said the Naga Hoho would send a reminder to the NSCN (I-M) to officially make its stand clear.

Vero’s disclosure comes in the wake of NSCN (K) leader S.S. Khaplang’s statement that his group had submitted a unity formula to the Naga Hoho. Khaplang had said so during an interaction with The Telegraph at his council headquarters in Myanmar.

The Naga Hoho chief said the Hoho had handed over the letter containing the unity formula to NSCN (I-M) functionaries and asked them to pass it on to the outfit’s top leadership.

NSCN (K) deputy kilonser (minister) K. Mulatonu said copies of the letter had been submitted to Hoho member Kevileto, a former president of the Naga Students’ Federation, twice in the presence of Vashum Tangkhul, a human rights activist.

With the two main insurgent outfits of Nagaland showing signs of changing their attitude towards each other, chief minister S.C. Jamir declared that if an opportunity to unite warring groups came along, he, being a Naga, would automatically become part of the process. He reiterated that peace could not be restored in the state until all sections of Naga society were united.

On the NSCN (I-M)’s call to all sections of Naga society to bury their differences, Jamir said, “Unity will not come about at the behest of one group. We have been approaching all factions to speak in a united Naga voice.”

Lending his voice to the campaign for unity was Neingulo Krome, secretary-general of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights.

He said the Naga peace process would get a fillip if the NSCN (I-M) were to solicit the opinions of all other groups, including its rivals.

Krome agreed with the majority view that there would be “parallel peace talks and the people would be confused” if all Naga outfits independently began political talks with the Centre.

The rights activist criticised the government interlocutor in the Naga peace talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, for remarking that the ultimate objective of the Centre was to “fold up the NSCN (I-M)”.

He warned that such “loose remarks” could scuttle the peace process.

“He should immediately issue a clarification on the matter. If that is what his hidden agenda is, it is unacceptable to the Naga people,” Krome said.

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