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Quakers tour for reconciliation

(R) Stuart Morton, a member of the Quakers with Rev Dr Wati Aier, Convenor of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, during a public meeting on Naga Reconciliation at Noklak Village. (Courtesy: FNR)
Published on 5 Mar. 2009 1:00 AM IST
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Continuing with its efforts to bring about reconciliation among the Nagas, the FNR this time, along with the Quaker group visited Noklak on February 23, where a public meeting was held at the village community hall. The joint FNR-Quaker team consisting of 12 members was accorded a rousing public reception upon their arrival in the village.Convenor FNR, Dr. Wati Aier in his speech reminded that all Naga political groups have given commitment for Naga reconciliation adding “the desire and decision for reconciliation is just the beginning to the long journey of genuine reconciliation.” He said the Eastern Nagas were important to the Naga family who constituted the first category with rich cultural heritage. He also appealed the Eastern Nagas to remain firm and united on reconciliation and peace stating that Nagas could be strong only when they were united. Pointing out that the one year old FNR was birthed through divine intervention in February 2008, Dr Aier said the Forum was open to correction and constructive criticism. “FNR is committed and will not betray the trust of the Naga people,” he added. Speaking on behalf of the Quaker delegation, Stuart Morton expressed solidarity to the Naga reconciliation movement. He said the involvement of the Quakers, religious Society of Friends in the reconciliation process had a “deep emotional” attachment with the Naga people and their land. He recounted an incident during the IInd World War where one Quaker member, Ram, a Tamilian whose family got displaced from Burma was assisted by the Naga people. “Our work is the seed of such action,” he said. Stuart also recounted another event during his previous visit to Nagaland where a woman enlightened him on the “imposed division of Naga house into India and Burma” as a result of the British colonial legacy. “I cannot say anything on behalf of British Government but on behalf of British people I seek your forgiveness,” he said. Stuart said the Quakers have been working with Naga leaders for the last eight years and that their job was to first listen carefully to the stories, maintain confidentiality, learn and then explore ways to bring about changes. “Quakers works with people who work dedicatedly for peace and amongst them are the FNR - they have been in our mind since London/Chiangmai” he said. He said the Quakers would continue to in its efforts by meeting as many leaders as possible. He also said that the Naga people should pray for FNR since it was a gift to the Nagas at this point of struggle. Both the Quakers and the members of the FNR held informal but separate meetings with Brig. Singya, President FGN and his colleagues before leaving Noklak the following day on February 24. The meeting was chaired by FNR member Neingulo Krome, Bible reading and invocation by Pinglang, Executive secretary, KBCA, welcome address delivered by W.Chuba Lam, President, KTC where he presented a brief overview of the current situation of the Khiamnuingan community spread across the imposed international boundaries between India and Myanmar. Kedallo (Vice President) FGN, Zopra Vero delivered a speech on behalf of the FGN (Brig.Singya). Presentation was given to the representatives of Quakers and FNR by FGN Kilo Kilonser (Home Minister) Zhaleo. Short speeches were also delivered by representatives from Yimchunger Tribal Council and United Sangtam Likhum Bumji. President, Kiphire town GB also shared his concerns to the gathering. Highlights of the programme included cultural performances from the Khiamnuingam, Yimchunger, Sangtam, Phom and Chang communities. ‘Mountain Warriors’ also presented a special number.

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