The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naga rebels in unity drive

Dimapur, May 10: The NSCN (I-M) has hammered out a seven-point formula with the aim of uniting the warring Naga militant groups.

The Isak-Muivah faction today admitted that reconciliation among the various Naga groups, including its bitter rival the NSCN (Khaplang), was imperative for ushering in peace in the trouble-torn state. Hundreds of lives have been lost since the National Socialist Council of Nagaland split into two factions in 1988.

Apart from the two groups of the NSCN, there are also two factions of the Naga National Council (NNC) which are active in the state.

The unification formula suggested “admitting past mistakes and seeking forgiveness from the victim(s)” with an aim to integrate various Naga-dominated areas so as to bring the Naga tribes under one umbrella. The reconciliation, it stressed, should also strengthen the ongoing peace process with New Delhi.

“Whoever has committed an offence or a crime against anybody should realise that he or she has done it. They should not misunderstand their crimes ... and should seek forgiveness from the victim(s). It should be based on truth and what is good for the Naga people,” the outfit said in a press statement issued by its “ministry of information and publicity”.

The statement added that it is always the aspiration of the NSCN to live in peace together with all the citizens in a liberated Nagalim.

The NSCN (I-M)’s formula came close on the heels of the Nagaland government’s direct attempts to unite the warring groups for the first time after the split. The government has floated a committee to chalk out the modalities to sort out the differences among the warring factions.

The NSCN (K), too, has submitted its “unity formula” to the apex Naga tribal body, the Naga Hoho, according to its leader Shangnyu Shangwang Khaplang. The formula envisages seeking “forgiveness by leaders of all groups from God and then from the Naga people in a spirit of forgive and forget”.

As per the formula, a reunited NSCN will “accommodate senior leaders of all the groups”, he had said, adding that “my kilonsers (ministers) have already agreed to sacrifice their posts if and when the proposal is implemented”.

In the past, several attempts by the Hoho and the Church have failed to stop the factional killings in Nagaland. The leaders of the two influential organisations made several visits to Bangkok as well as the NSCN (K) headquarters in Myanmar to meet the top brass of the two NSCN factions.

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