Editorial

Journey of peace

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/5/2019 11:07:40 AM IST

 As Nagaland observes Peace Day on September 6, it would be worthwhile to reminisce on how it came to being . After years of violence throughout the erstwhile Naga hills during the fifties, when villages were grouped and people placed behind barricades; the inhuman suffering of the people was indescribable . In order to save the innocent people from such tragedies that went unmentioned in the national media, Baptist Church leaders led by Rev. Longri and Rev.Kenneth Kerhuo decided to urge the battling sides to give peace a chance. At the third Baptist Convention in Wokha town from January 31 to February 2 1964, the Baptist Church resolved to play the role of peacemakers under the leadership of Rev.Longri Ao and Kenneth Kerhuo. During the three-day convention, more than five thousand Nagas attended the convention where it was resolved to propose "Peace talk". The church leaders requested the government to provide services of Jayaprakash Narayan, National leader; Bimala Prasad Chaliha, Chief Minister of Assam and Michael Scott, an Anglican churchman, for exploring ways for speedy restoration of peace in Nagaland. Thus the Nagaland Peace Mission was formed and its tireless efforts and at times under dangerous situations, it succeeded in having both the warring sides in signing the first on September 6,1964. The Ceasefire agreement signed by Vishnu Sahey, Governor of Nagaland on behalf of the Government of India, while Zashei Huire, Biseto Medom, and L. Zhenito signed on behalf of the NNC/FGN . Although, the Ceasefire was officially declared on 6 September 1964, it was signed on 23 May 1964. On September 6,1964 church bells rang to herald peace while people rejoiced. The ceasefire led to intense negotiations between the government of India under prime minister Indira Gandhi and the FGN led by its ato kilonser Kughato Sukhai. After six rounds of inconclusive negotiations, starting from February 1966 talks finally broke down on October 3,1967. Eventually the Peace Mission was disbanded in 1972 after the government of India unilaterally abrogated the cease fire and signalling the return of the dark period of violence. However, the church under Rev.Longri continued to pursue peace and this led to formation of the Nagaland Peace Council in 1974. September 5, Peace Day as it is, may be a misnomer, if viewed from subsequent developments through the decades where fighting became more intensified and violence unleashed on society and mostly after fragmentation of the NNC into several factions. However, the end of the peace process in 1972 did not mean that hopes also ended. The hopes of the Baptist Church leaders like Rev. Longri, Rev.Kerhuo and many others did not end then but people still hoped and prayed for eventual peace for decades. The second cease fire signed on July 25,1997 between the government of India and NSCN(I-M) renewed hopes for peace and this is expected to fructify after around 22 years and over 80 rounds of negotiations. The signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3,2015 between NSCN(I-M) leader Th.Muivah and the government of India’s Interlocutor R.N.Ravi gave fresh impetus to hopes for solution. To complement the peaceful solution, cease fire agreements were also signed between Delhi and NSCN/GPRN; NSCN(NK), NSCN(R). The three along with other groups –Working Committee- are also in talks for solution. These highlighted the nearing of the journey of hope and peace in Nagaland.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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