Naga Church leader demands ‘apologies’ from Muivah, other NSCN stalwarts

Eminent Naga Christian leader Rev Dr V.K. Nuh has mooted the idea of ‘apologies’ from stalwarts of the underground movement as well as from the institution of church itself for what he said need a general acknowledgement of past mistakes and repentance.

The occasion was the Naga National Prayer Day on Sunday, October 16, organised by the Council of Nagalim Churches which was also addressed by NSCN-IM chairman Q Tucco “in absentia”.

Rev Nuh, 92, maintained that NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and two late rebel leaders Isak Chishi Swu and S.S. Khaplang (Hemi Naga from Myanmar) need to apologise for going against the ‘institution of the Naga National Council (NNC) by forming the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) on January 31, 1980.

The Church bodies also have to apologise for “losing the divine voice, as per Biblical mandate, to challenge the bloodshed and violence in the land”.

The NNC as an insurgency movement was founded by legendary Naga leader A.Z. Phizo but in 1980 the organisation split and the NSCN was floated by Late Isak Swu, Khaplang and the aging general secretary of NSCN-IM Muivah.

The prayer meeting came at a time when steps are being taken at various quarters to ensure a meeting between the NSCN(IM) and umbrella organisation NNPG — the two principal stakeholders in the peace talks.

The two warring sides NNPG and NSCN-IM are now likely to meet ‘outside Nagaland’ soon to hammer out differences.

While the NNPG led by N. Kitovi Zhimomi is keen for inking a final peace pace, the NSCN-IM led by Muivah has been raising the bogied of a separate Constitution and Flag. Both the demands have been rejected by the Government of India with Home Minister Amit Shah telling a Naga delegation that such contentious issues cannot be entertained and hence need not be raised.

As an indication of some kind of reconciliation the hardliner NSCN-IM is likely to take,

the organisation chairman Tuccu (whose speech was read out in absentia) said –

“…there was no other way forward to sustain our movement when we placed under the crucial juncture in order to bring yielding temperament on the part of the Government of India to respect and honour the historical and political rights.”

“My dear countrymen, let us invite God’s gracious presence on this occasion that He will show us the way and guide our journey towards ultimate victory. Nothing is impossible with God if we approach Him with open hearts, admitting our shortcomings and confessing our sins.

What we need today is justice and unity of a people who are one in His creation and purpose,” the NSCN-IM chairman said.

The NSCN-IM cherishes communist philosophy and their association with China since the 1960s but owes allegiance to the Christian values and proclaims the theme of ‘Nagaland for Christ’.

The Naga peace parleys had begun in 1997 and after 25 years now the process of taking it to a logical conclusion has been expedited by the Centre.

Nagaland goes to the polls early 2023 and all are hopeful that a Solution is arrived at before that.

Rev Vuh also said that among others NNC should also apologise as it was unable to

“hold onto its national principles in preserving unity among its leaders”.

The Reverend also said, “We must realise that the voice of the people is the voice of God”.

This also lays emphasis for an early solution and to bring a lasting peace in Nagaland and adjoining hubs in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where sizable Naga population reside.

(Nirendra Dev is a New Delhi-based journalist. He is also author of books, ‘The Talking Guns: North East India’ and ‘Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth’. Views are personal)

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