Bishop stresses prayers, discernment for peaceful Naga solution

Bishop sees “moments of darkness” and uncertainty

Jose Kavi

New Delhi: The head of the Catholic Church in Nagaland has sought prayers as the northeastern Indian state faces what he says are “moments of darkness and uncertainty” in finding peaceful solution to the Naga problem.

The peace process has entered a critical juncture after the federal government and Naga national leaders signed a “framework agreement,” says Bishop James Thoppil of Kohima in a letter addressed to Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

Bishop Mascarenhas shared with media the August 8 letter that notes certain confusion over future as people are not sure “where to turn, what to believe, whom to trust, what to expect, how to be involved.”

Such uncertainty and “moments of darkness” can be overcome only through God’s enlightenment, guidance and inspiration, says Bishop Thoppil. “These can be obtained only by being alert and docile to the Spirit, which come only by prayer,” asserted the 58-year-old prelate who took over the diocese’s administration six years ago.

He urged the CBCI to join the Naga people, who have set apart August 15 as a special day of prayer.

“On this day we would like to pray for all our leaders that they may be led by the power of the Holy Spirit to seek and find solutions to build up our society, strengthen our relationship and bring about reconciliation and peace among all peoples through the powerful intercession of Mother Mary,” the letter says.

The Kohima bishop also promised prayers for “all stake holders and people involved in the peace process and dialogue” so that they are mentally and physically fit to decide process to bring “lasting peace and harmony, prosperity and development of our people.

Northeast observers say the historic agreement signed on August 3, 2015, has raised hope among the Naga people. As the public have no access to the contents various stakeholders interpret it differently.

Kholi, an NSCN(IM) leader and vice-president of its ‘Government of People’s Republic of Nagalim’ said in March Nagas; future was safe under the agreement as it was made in the best interest of both parties.

Nagaland is one of the three Christian majority states in northeastern India.

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