Kohima, June 10: Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Saturday revealed that National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) head S.S. Khaplang had conveyed his willingness to have dialogue with the Indian government for an early solution to the Naga political problem.
The Chief Minister mourned the death of the Myanmar-based Naga insurgent leader, who breathed his last at the NSCN-K council headquarters in Taka in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division on Friday night.
“The Nagaland government has been sending delegations to meet the NSCN-K leadership in Myanmar in recent times to convince the group to re-enter into the peace process with the Indian government to find an early solution to the Naga political problem,” said Liezietsu.
“And it was encouraging to learn that Khaplang had, a few months back, conveyed his willingness to have dialogue with the government provided ‘issues of substance’ were discussed,” he added in a condolence message.
The Nagaland government has been sending Naga civil society group leaders to Myanmar to hold consultations with the NSCN-K insurgents leaders after the outfit abrogated the ceasefire with the Indian government in 2015.
However, the 77-year-old Naga insurgent leader died before things could be taken forward to their logical conclusion.
Liezietsu said it is tragic that such an important Naga leader like Khaplang has died considering the fact that the protracted Naga political problem was on the verge of being resolved.
“And the need for all different Naga political (rebels) groups to come together to air our views and aspirations to the Government of India in one voice is absolutely imperative,” he added.
Liezietsu appealed to all grieving Nagas to “resolve and dedicate ourselves to endeavour with renewed vigour and determination” to find a solution to the Naga political problem, which is “honourable and acceptable” to all stakeholders.
“And that this protracted problem be resolved during our lifetime and not to bequeath it to the future generations,” he said.
“In memory of the departed leader (Khaplang), who had dedicated all his life to the cause of the Naga people, let all Naga people dedicate ourselves to strive for peace, harmony and well-being of the entire Naga family so that we and our children can march ahead with the rest of the world as equals in the 21st century and for ever more,” the Chief Minister added.
Describing Khaplang as a “bold” Naga leader, former Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang said that he had made several efforts to request him to “come back into a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government”.
Zeliang, who mourned Khaplang’s demise, said that he had personally gone to Myanmar for consultative meetings with the Naga leaders.
“I had requested Naga apex organisations to meet S.S. Khaplang and conveyed my sincere request to have a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar government and to opt for a peaceful dialogue to resolve the Naga political issue amicably for the Nagas living in Myanmar,” he added.
Zeliang said, “This, I had stated, would be the best solution for the Nagas living on both sides of India and Myanmar so that the Nagas would see permanent peace and march forward with progress and development.”
Khaplang, who was popularly known as “Baba”, belonged to the Hemi Naga tribe from Myanmar’s Eastern Naga Hills in Sagaing Division. He had been ailing for quite some time and also underwent medical treatment in the Yangon Civil General Hospital.