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Op-Ed

6th September 2014 the 50th year of Peace Day (ceasefire)

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By EMN Updated: Sep 03, 2014 10:22 pm
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(From previous issue)
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he sole purpose of this press release is to remind of the role of the church in peace making leading to ceasefire on 6th September 1964.
The Formation of Peace Mission, 1964
The proposal for a Peace Mission was accepted at the 3rd Nagaland Baptist Convention held at Wokha between January 31st and February 2nd 1964. The Resolution reads:
1.The Third Nagaland Baptist Convention which met at Wokha from January 31st- February 2nd, 1964, being deeply concerned about the restoration of peace in Nagaland, welcomes the proposed “Peace Talk” between the Government of Nagaland and Mr.A. Z. Phizo. While welcoming this “Peace Talk”, we are deeply concerned about the continued disturbances in the land, and therefore, this Third Nagaland Baptist Convention attended by more than five thousand representatives from all the tribes of Nagaland unanimously resolved to request the Government of Nagaland, and through it, the Government of India to open further avenues for making available the services of Shri Jayaprakash Narayan, Shri Shankar Rao Deo, Shri Bimala Prasad Chaliha and Rev. Michael Scott, with the sole object of exploring ways and means for the speedy restoration of peace and normalcy in Nagaland, and that the church leaders of Nagaland be requested to give every possible help and co-operation for the success of the Mission.
2. Voted that the Government of Nagaland be earnestly requested to make necessary arrangements with the Government of India to allow Educational and Medical Missionaries from abroad, to come to Nagaland and serve under the auspices of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council.3. Voted that a series of talks on the great danger posed by Communism and its atheistic elements both to the body and soul of man, be conducted in every village under the auspices of the local church, and that all the Field Supervisors be requested to provide the churches in their respective areas with necessary literature on the subject.
Third Nagaland Baptist Convention, Wokha, Dated: 2nd February, 1964.
Sd/- Toniho Chishi President
Sd/- Imotemjen Aier, Secretary
Sd/- Kenneth Kerhuo
Executive Secretary,
Nagaland Baptist Church Council, Kohima
A Special Committee of the NBCC comprising of nine members was set up to work for the immediate implementation of the Resolution 1 and 2 adopted at Wokha. The nine members were: (1) Rev. Longri Ao (2) Mr.Toniho Chishi (3) Rev. Kijung (4) Mr. Kenneth Kerhüo
(5) Rev. Ahamo Patton (6) Rev. H.K. Lungalang (7) Mr. Dupor Vasa (8) Mr. S. Litsase
(9) Rev. Shihoto Sunheto
The Special Committee appointed Kenneth Kerhüo, Shihoto Sunheto, Longri Ao and Toniho Chishi for the Peace Mission. The NBCC’s invitation to Jayaprakash Narayan, a Gandhian worker; B.P. Chaliha, the then Chief Minister of Assam; and Rev. Michael Scott, an Anglican priest and an anti-apartheid activist, to become a part of the NBCC Peace Mission was accepted and they arrived in Nagaland in April 1964. Shankar Rao Deo on grounds of health declined to be part of the Peace Mission.
The Basis for the Peace Mission of 1964
The Peace Mission was a mission to avert tragedy, a mission to save lives. Whatever political views the church leaders held individually, the Church in her role as mediator in bringing the two conflicting parties for negotiations, has clearly shown that the Church was against violence and against the use of guns. The Church’s stand was against military solution to the Indo-Naga political conflict. The Peace Mission was an indictment against both India for pouring her Army into Nagaland and against Nagas who took up arms. (Keviyiekielie Linyu, Christian Movements in Nagaland, p. 254.)
The formation of the Peace Mission was the evident position of the Church to insist that a military solution was not the answer to the Naga political issues and the struggle for their human dignity.
The Declaration of the Ceasefire, September 6, 1964
On May 25, 1964, FGN at Sakraba, Phek signed and issued the conditions under which a Ceasefire can be arranged to enable further talks. After more than four months of relentless meetings and negotiations with representatives of the GoI and the FGN, the Peace Mission tabled a draft proposal for a Ceasefire. This was accepted by both sides and the terms of “the Ceasefire Agreement” was signed and issued by FGN representatives on August 10 and on August 14, 1964, by Governor Vishnu Sahay representing GoI. The Ceasefire took effect from midnight September 5/6, 1964, amidst great jubilation, relief, procession and thanksgiving services from people all over Nagaland. The people were celebrating their freedom from jungle operations, concentration of villages, raiding of Naga Federal Camps, searches of villages by the Indian army, arrests, aerial actions, forced labour and political fines. Nonetheless it was also a poignant reminder of the lives lost and missing in every Naga villages and in almost every Naga family; of Nagas who sacrificed for their land and for its dignity in the hands of the Indian armed forces and also of lives that were needlessly killed because of political conflict and repression.
Services of thanksgiving were also held in all Federal Government Camps. Scato Swu, the Kedahge (President) FGN in September 6, 1964 stated, “the Christian is not only a peace possessor, he is also a peacemaker”. (See Part 3 No. 7 in Volume II of the book “Walking the Path of Despair and Hope: Understanding and Justifying the Ways of God”, by NBCC for the full text.) Kenneth Kerhüo, in another such thanksgiving service prayer pronounced:
In the world of bitterness, resentment and suffering, help us, O God, that we may in the spirit of Christ our Saviour, endure and overcome evil with good. May we be moved with concern for the people around us who have been constantly in fear and in anxiety. Make our hearts receptacles to Thy voice and make us channels of blessing to others.(See Part 3 No. 8 in Volume II f the book “Walking the Path of Despair and Hope: Understanding and Justifying the Ways of God”, by NBCC for the full text.)
According to Linyu, “with the NBCC’s Peace Mission, the line between the Christian Movements and Political development has become not only blurred, the line has ceased to exist…indeed Christianity, through church leaders like Kenneth Kerhüo, Longri Ao and Shihoto, had become a channel of hope and a way of peace for the Nagas”. (Quoted in Keviyiekielie Linyu, Christian Movements in Nagaland, pp. 161-162).
(to be continued)
Nagaland Baptist Church Council

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By EMN Updated: Sep 03, 2014 10:22:33 pm