State

Rich tributes to late Khole Konyak at Dimapur

Rich tributes to late Khole Konyak at Dimapur
Body of late ‘gen.’ (Retd) Khole Konyak at Agri Expo site during the public meet. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, DEC 14 (NPN) | Publish Date: 12/14/2018 11:04:09 AM IST

People from all walks of life, a host of state government functionaries, opposition leaders and representatives from 14 civil society groups and organisations from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland paid rich tributes to NSCN (I-M) vice-president late ‘gen.’ (retd) Khole Konyak at a public meet jointly organised by Naga Hoho and Naga Council Dimapur at the Agri Expo in Fourth Mile here on Friday.

Khole had passed away at a New Delhi-based hospital on Wednesday following a  brain haemorrhage.

Meanwhile, a funeral  send-off service will be held at Hebron CHQ Saturday at 7 a.m.

Addressing the programme, Agriculture and Cooperation minister Kaito G Aye said the demise of Khole was a “heart-breaking” moment. Urging all stakeholders to be reasonable, he emphasised that while there could be differences in approach, there should be no difference when it came to chalking out a solution.

Referring to Khole as a “jewel”, leader of opposition TR Zeliang remarked that former NSCN (I-M) leader was a man of strong determination and had a genuine desire to serve the cause of Nagas.   Pointing out that 70 years of struggle and 20 years of dialogue were a long period of time, Zeliang said it was high time all parties reached a consensus to bring solution.

Speaking on the occasion, adviser Toshi Wungtung, who spoke on behalf of Eastern Naga Legislators’ Union representing 20 legislators from Eastern Nagaland, mentioned that Khole was an open-minded leader who believed in a harmonious existence. He added that the late leader would be remembered for his endurance. He also briefly narrated the struggles faced by Khole in the early days of Naga national movement.

Messages sent by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, deputy chief minister Y Patton, NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu, Asia Indigenous People’s Pact, Naga Political Forum and Peoples’ Democratic Alliance in Manipur, among others, were also read out on the occasion.

United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, who was present, recalled his association with Khole and his role in the formation of the united front comprising PLA and ULFA. 

Rajkhowa said, “Khole Konyak was an illustrious son of the Naga national movement and ULFA saw him as an amicable and humble gentleman,” adding that Khole would remain a symbol of brotherhood and unity.

Naga Hoho stated that Khole was “not a leader who sought positions but aspired for Naga unity.” As a tribute to his service to the Naga cause, the hoho appealed for unity among Nagas.

Referring to the departed leader as “equal amongst the greats of the world”, Eastern Naga People’s Organisation said “the people shall remember his supreme endurance for the love and future of Nagas.”

In its condolence message, Nagaland Tribes Council said the best tribute to the late Naga national freedom fighter would be to unite all Nagas to attain a permanent solution.

Reiterating the need for Naga unity that Khole often stressed, Naga Mothers’ Association remembered him as “a humble man with a deep clarity on the Naga issue.”

Representing the Nagas of Manipur, United Naga Council said a befitting tribute to the late leader would be “to rededicate to the Naga cause”, adding that the Nagas should always remember the “noble soul who has been one of the greatest political pioneers of the Naga national movement.”

Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights said the demise of Khole came at a crucial juncture and that it grieved the loss of a leader along with the Naga nation. “His values shall be cherished and emulated by Naga people,” the organisation added.

Naga Students’ Federation said “Khole always preached unity, forgiveness and reconciliation” and that it was the duty of the Nagas to take forward his vision and aspirations.

Forum for Naga Reconciliation referred Khole as “a legend amongst the Nagas who has always been consistent in transcending difference for the sake of Naga Nationalism,” adding that Nagas could likewise transcend differences if they wanted to fulfil his vision.

Arunachal Naga Students’ Federation said it was the duty of Nagas to walk the path that Khole had paved.

Wangchu Council from Arunachal Pradesh said it would follow the path shown by the late NSCN (I-M) leader and assured the bereaved family of its prayers.

Stating that the demise of Khole was a great loss for the Nagas as a whole, Rengma Naga People Council of Assam extended its condolences to the bereaved family.

Acknowledging that the path to freedom was long and arduous, Naga National Council president Thinoselie M Keyho pointed out that Nagas were not united and called for unity. He said, “Nagas can unite, if they are prepared to reason together,” adding that Nagas know where they had gone wrong. He also appealed to the people at large to introspect and rethink.

Konyak Union Dimapur gave a brief history of Khole’s contribution to the Naga national movement spanning 61 years – from the initial days of his joining then undivided NSCN in 1956 to his training in Mon and his journey to China with 130 cadres.

Representative from Tobu and Wokha areas termed Khole as a man of integrity, while pointing out that he had never differentiated between tribes and that everyone was first a Naga for him.

Other highlights of the programme included invocation by Lotha Baptist Church associate pastor Rev A Chumben Kyong, eulogy on behalf of the family by T Wangnao, laying of wreath, Konyak cultural presentation and vote of thanks by collective leadership member Rev Puni.

Meanwhile, Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), as a mark of respect and homage to the departed leader, has informed that the Naga flag will be flown at half-mast in the land of Tangkhuls for a week to mourn the demise of late Khole Konyak. 

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