Dialogue key to peace, says Naga leader

Sanat K Chakraborty/Shillong

The president of Naga Hoho, an umbrella organisation of Naga tribal groupings at the grassroot level, Mr M. Vero, on Tuesday said the Centre's peace efforts with the Naga has entered a very delicate stage and therefore, the issue has to be viewed with "reason and sincerity."

"We will have to tread carefully," Vero told The Pioneer on Tuesday evening over the telephone from Kohima.

"What we see now in Manipur is the outpouring of emotion and anger, which will not bring any tangible result," he said. "We sincerely hope this phase will subside and make way for reason to open up the course for dialogue."

Reacting to the massive violent upsurge of the people following the Centre's decision to extend and expand the ceasefire, Mr Vero said it was an emotional outburst. He said the people of Manipur should not have got so worked up when NSCN (I-M) leader Muivah had already clarified the matter. Reiterating what Muivah had said - "Ceasefire is ceasefire. It has nothing to do with greater Nagaland" - Vero said this should have been a sufficient explanation. "We should not mix up everything," he said, adding that the foundation of peace could be built on mutual trust and cooperation.

The apex Naga body president said, "We will have to move on with the peace process and we need everyone's cooperation. He claimed that Naga Hoho had been trying to promote understanding among the Naga tribes and other communities and appreciation of each others concerns. We will continue to work on that," Vero said.

"We are not going to fight with India, neither were going to fight with our neighbours," he said.

However, Nationalist Congress Party leader C. Doungel said peace could not be achieved without "a sense of fairness and justice."

He said most of the people living in Manipur want to maintain the territorial integrity of the state. But he wondered whether Government of India could rely on "an extra-constitutional body."

He said in the 2000-year-old history of Manipur, there was nothing called Nagaland.

"Manipur was, and still is, a solid entity with its rich tradition and culture, where as various tribal groups lived in isolation and as loose conglomeration. You cannot break one entity to give shape to another, without considering its impact on various communities," Mr Doungel said.

He said instead of declaring truce with one extra-constitutional organisation, the Centre should have included all other extra-constitutional organisations operating in Manipur within the larger ambit of peace process.

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Referred by: Mukandan CM
Published on: June 21, 2001
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