In a momentous event that resonates across generations, Naga people witnessed a significant turning point in its 70-year-old political struggle with the adoption of the ‘Kütsapo Proclamation’ on 18 February 2024 in Kütsapo village of Phek district. Crafted amidst prayer, reflection, and unity, this proclamation stands as a beacon of hope, ushering in a renewed era of reconciliation and resolution for the Naga people.

Considered as the “longest running insurgency” in India, for more than seven decades, Nagaland has grappled with a complex and protracted political issue, characterized by strife, division, killings, and unyielding determination. Rooted in historical grievances and aspirations for self-determination, the Naga political struggle has crossed through periods of conflict, negotiation, and ceasefires, yet the path to lasting peace remained elusive.

Against this backdrop of adversity, the Kütsapo Proclamation emerges as a testament to the resilience and collective spirit of the Naga people. Nagas from across Naga Land converged at Kütsapo village. There were representations from 160 prayer centers, churches, various Naga cultural bodies, gaon boras, Naga political groups, civil society organizations, state and public leaders, and citizens. The event was organized by Naga Shisha Hoho and Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) from 16-18 February 2024 under ‘Nurturing Naga Peoplehood’ with the theme ‘Liberating the Naga Spirit’.

The Kütsapo gathering proclaimed the following resolutions:
The Mission of Liberating the Naga Spirit: Acknowledging that the “wounded Naga nation is sick and stuck as it cries for liberation,” the gathering recognized that liberation always begins from within, and, therefore, committed to discern and correct oneself from within in order to mend divisions and nurture a renewed, healthy, and intact Naga peoplehood.

In Our Journey to Naga Reconciliation: The Kütsapo gathering upheld the “Covenant of Reconciliation” signed on 13 June 2009, through which violence ceased among the Naga political groups. It called upon the Naga political groups to sincerely find ways to enter into genuine relationships of cooperation.

For Peace and Harmony to Prevail: It called upon the Government of India to revoke building fences that separates the people of same cultural groups and urged the GoI to peacefully consummate the Naga political issue with dignity and respect that is founded on Naga historical and political rights.

Appeal to all the Churches across Naga-Land: It appealed to the churches to pray for peaceful resolution, reconciliation and unity, and the rebuilding of the Naga homeland.

Towards Regenerating Cultural Values: The Proclamation emphasized the importance of reconnecting with deep cultural values, land, and way of life. It recognized how structural violence has institutionalized many conditions leading to corruption and impunity which are eroding the quality of life and advocated for healing through a shared vision of Naga peoplehood.

As the ink dries on the Kütsapo Proclamation, Naga people stand at the threshold of a new chapter in its storied history. With the resolve to confront past grievances, embrace reconciliation, and forge a path of unity, the Naga people begin anew with a beacon of hope for generations to come in its quest for justice and self-determination.


Assessing the challenges amidst the Kütsapo Proclamation
Despite the adoption of the Kütsapo Proclamation, unity seems to remain elusive in certain quarters of the Naga community, as evidenced by a message from N Kitovi Zhimomi, Ato Kilonser GPRN/NSCN & Convener WC, NNPGs, and Gen (Retd) TM Keyho, President, Naga National Council (NNC).

In his message, Zhimomi extended apologies for his absence but reassured the assembly of the WC, NNPGs’ commitment to the common Naga aspiration, built upon the principles of Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork. He acknowledged the need for sincere dialogue and cooperation among Naga leaders and emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of the Naga political issue. Zhimomi also called for an end to superficial gestures and emphasized the importance of honest and fearless debate in seeking real solutions to the Naga people’s common problem.

It may be noted that Gen (Retd) TM Keyho, President, Naga National Council (NNC) refused to attend the gathering stating to the organizers that NNC is the “only Naga Political Institution and FGN is its legitimate Naga National Government” and, therefore, “it can never be projected as a political group like the other political groups” that have been invited to the meeting.

Despite these remaining divisions, Zhimomi expressed optimism for the future, believing that the gathering held the potential for historic transformation and healing for Naga land.

Meanwhile, NSCN-K (Niki) urged the gathering to unite and come under one umbrella, calling on all tribal hohos and student bodies to unite under a common organization. NSCN-K (Isac) also asserted the demand for the birthright of the Nagas and the sovereignty of the Nagas to be secured. NSCN-IM representative Ikato Chishi Swu elaborated on how the Naga flag symbolizes Christ.

NPF MLA Azo Nienu talked about how Nagas have a story to tell to the world and urged the gathering to adhere to the 1951 plebiscite, stating that there was only one organization in the beginning, which was the NNC, and that due to betrayal, it divided into so many factions. Therefore, to prevent further division, he urged the Nagas to refrain from signing any agreements with the Indian government and to adhere to the 1951 plebiscite.

As the Naga people move forward, it does so with the weight of its history and the hope of a better tomorrow.

Mokokchung Times

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