Ten years of CoR: A long journey to reconciliation

Ten years of CoR: A long journey to reconciliation

Morung Express News
Kohima | June 12

On June 13, 2009, Late Isak Chishi Swu, Chairman, NSCN (IM); Late SS Khaplang, Chairman, NSCN (K) and Brig (Retd) S Singnya, Kedahge (President), FGN shrugging aside their bitter differences and signed the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR) under the initiative of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) at Chiang Mai, Thailand.

According to the CoR document, the three leaders expressed their solemn commitment for Naga reconciliation and forgiveness based on the historical and political rights of the Nagas. “We resolve to continue to work together in this spirit of love, non violence, peace and respect to resolve outstanding issues amongst us,” the documents signed by the three leaders stated.

At the same time, Swu, Khaplang and Singnya in a unified voice exhorted and called upon other Naga groups to join them in reconciling with each other.

While everything looked simple on ink and paper, it was not to be so in reality. An onerous journey of the coming together of the warring Naga groups which would continue for years began. Years on, today marks 10 years since the historic signing of the Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR).

Looking back to the journey that the FNR embarked in reaching out to the Naga political groups, Rev Dr Wati Aier, Convener, FNR, in the first article of the 13-part series “Imagining Change – The Journey of Common Hope,” recalls how initially, “FNR members suffered lack of trust from the groups” or was looked upon as “agents and sympathizers of another NPGs or as actors at the behest of the State governmental agency and the Central Government of India.”

The signing of the CoR was followed by challenging travels to all corners of Naga inhabited regions and Self Administered Zones, holding series of talks, making significant deliberations and landmarks.

As things gradually took to shape, the signing of the CoR began to bear fruition under the tireless toil of FNR members, as Rev Dr Wati Aier puts it, the CoR bore positive “ripple effect.”

Following the signing of the CoR, NPGs and FNR convened 267 meetings which led to three significant agreements, namely: ‘Turning Swords into Plowshares,’ signed September 9, 2009; the ‘Naga Concordant’ of August 26, 2011; and the ‘Lenten Agreement’ resolved on March 28, 2014.

Along Longkumer who was also the first editor of The Morung Express in a subsequent article writes that “independent observers, government officials and even the security establishment in Delhi publicly admitted that killings arising out of factionalism all but ended post 2009 because of FNR’s efforts,” a testimony of the peace ushered in by the Covenant.

According to NBCC General Secretary Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho, FNR as a peoples’ movement brought the different Naga political groups to hammer the differences to voice our desire. “To a great extent it has been successful and what has not is something we must continue to work because it is possible when we learn to humble ourselves and listen to one another,” he pointed out.

Speaking on the future course, Dr Zelhou says “from where we have been, we have walked miles to where we are today looking forward to a continued journey to achieve the desired peace for the Nagas” while Along calls for renewal of our focus on reconciliation which is vital for the Naga people’s future and peaceful co-existence.

“As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the signing of CoR let us not only count the years but be thankful to God for what has been achieved and continue to work in one accord for the task ahead of us. May God bless the leadership of FNR,” Dr Zelhou added.

Naga Hoho acknowledges struggle of FNR members to bring peace