MOURNING THE death of NSCN(K) chairman S S Khaplang, Nagaland Chief Minister Shourhozelie Liezietsu on Saturday said that the rebel leader, who had pulled out of a ceasefire in April 2015, was later willing to have a dialogue with the Centre, “provided issues of substance were discussed.” “Khaplang had, a few months ago, conveyed his willingness to have dialogue with the Government of India, provided issues of substance were discussed. Before things could be taken forward…it is calamitous that the Naga leader could not live long enough to see the proverbial Promised Land,” Shourhozelie stated in a condolence message.
Khaplang had died following a cardiac arrest in Taga on Friday. Many organisations and people in Nagaland mourned Khaplang’s death. Referring to Khaplang as “Uncle”, former Nagaland CM T R Zeliang said that during his tenure as CM, he had made several efforts to reach out to the NSCN(K) chairman and requested him to return to the ceasefire agreement with the Centre, as also sign a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar government. “This, I had stated, would be the best solution for Nagas living on both sides (in India and Myanmar),” he said in a statement from Kohima.
Shourhozelie said that after Khaplang abrogated the ceasefire in 2015, the state government, in consultation with the Centre, sent several delegations to meet him in Myanmar and convince him to re-enter the peace process. He said, “It is tragic that an important Naga leader… has expired, considering that the protracted Naga political problem is on the verge of being resolved, and the need for all different Naga political groups is to come together…”