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Fostering peace through Dialogue, says Indian priest

Father Walter Fernandes gives talk during the meeting on "Developing Peace Process in Manipur" which was organised by The North East Institute of Social Sciences and Research (NEISSR) at 7th Mile Chümoukedima, Nagaland, in Northeast India, on November 13, 2023.

Father Walter Fernandes, an esteemed professor at the Northeastern Social Research Centre in Guwahati, stated in a seminar conducted on November 13 at the 7th Mile Chümoukedima in Nagaland, India, that dialogue among numerous conflicting factions is a viable means of achieving peace.

As attendees of the event "Developing Peace Process in Manipur" at the Northeast Institute of Social Sciences and Research (NEISSR) Hall, including researchers, students, and Peace Channel members, the cleric addressed the critical topic of "how" to advance peace in Manipur.

Father Fernandes underscored the critical importance of Nagaland and Mizoram instigating the peace process.

Manipur and Nagaland have a south-south border. Over twenty tribes and equal numbers of subtribes make up the Indo-Asiatic Nagas, which have distinct geographic distributions. The Aos, Tangkhuls, Semas, and Angamis are larger than the Konyaks.

The Indian state of Mizoram borders Manipur in the northeast. Almost all Mizoram residents are Scheduled Tribes. These groups are called Mizo, an indigenous name for "highlanders." Three prominent Mizo ethnic groups are Kuki, Pawi, and Lakher.

According to him, peace cannot be achieved solely through official political actions; civil society, researchers, and students must be active participants as well.

"True peace involves creating a just and harmonious society, not just the absence of armed conflict,” the priest added.

Among diverse communities, Kukis and Nagas should promote dialogue founded on the tenets of generosity, unity, and justice, he stated.

Initiating a dialogue between Kukis and Nagas in Manipur, he suggested that the Nagas residing in Nagaland assume the preeminent role.

By actively engaging in dialogue, Meitei and civil society organizations could work together to create a future Manipur that is just and peaceful.

Father Fernandes fervently proclaimed that reconciliation could be facilitated by assuming accountability for addressing dialogue obstacles with Manipur's neighborhoods.

He said in Manipur, Mizos, and Kukis engaged in dialogue with the Nagas, which promoted harmony between the two peoples.

To foster reconciliation, justice, and resource sharing in Manipur, he emphasized the importance of cultivating an attitude of optimism, generosity, and challenge.

Father Fernandes claimed that the inhabitants of Manipur ought not to be abandoned; therefore, he urged all individuals to assemble and deliberate on practical measures.

He said Nagaland should offer hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation to our brothers and sisters in Manipur.


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