The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Christian Militants and MPs Join Forces in Northeast

Guwahati, March 9 2005

From peace talks to dinner diplomacy, an influential tribal separatist group in Nagaland is making an all out effort to end more than six decades of violent insurgency in the region.

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) is meeting a group of Christian parliamentarians from across India over dinner at a hotel in New Delhi Thursday to drum up support for its demand for merger of tribal Naga inhabited areas in the northeast.

"In all we have invited 30 Christian MPs from various parties as part of our mission to interact with all lawmakers irrespective of political and religious affiliations," senior NSCN leader V.S. Atem.

"We want the MPs to understand our problems in the right perspective and hence a meeting that is to be followed by dinner. We have in the past met MPs for other parties who were Hindus, Muslims or even atheists," Atem told IANS by telephone from New Delhi.

The dinner meeting with the Christian lawmakers, to be hosted by NSCN general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, assumes significance with the rebel group believing in the doctrine of 'Nagaland for Christ'.

The NSCN, the oldest and the most powerful of around 30 rebel armies in India's northeast, wants the creation of a Greater Nagaland by slicing off parts of neighbouring states of Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh that has sizeable Naga tribal populations.

The NSCN is currently holding peace talks with New Delhi after the two sides entered into a ceasefire in 1997.

"I think we all must attend the meeting and try and know what is the progress of the talks and the demands of the NSCN for better understanding of the problem," said Wangyuh Konyak, Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland, who is also one of the invitees.

"People should know what the real problems are so that we can reach a permanent solution to our problems," Konyak told IANS by telephone from New Delhi.

A fresh round of talks between Indian negotiators and the NSCN leadership begins in New Delhi Wednesday. "We are very hopeful to find a lasting solution. Dates for further talks will be fixed at the end of Wednesday's meeting," Atem said.


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