'Must rise above tribalism, district-centric, socio-political links amid COVID-19 threat'

The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) has urged the Naga people for a renewed approach to peace with regard to the prevailing situation across the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) has urged the Naga people for a renewed approach to peace with regard to the prevailing situation across the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and to rise above tribal-mentality, district-centric attitude and socio-political affiliations.

“Dear Naga people, today our planet faces unprecedented events… The world today is enveloped with civil strife, cyclones, and even swarms of invading locusts… Millions of children, mothers and fathers are dwelling in fear and suffering,” the FNR said in a statement issued on Friday.

Expressing serious concern and stressing the need to rise above tribal-mentality, district-centric attitude and socio-political affiliations in response to COVID-19 attack, the FNR said, “FNR supports a comprehensive response by improving inter-tribe relations and unity in purpose”.

FNR also said it “stands in solidarity with the public and shares its concern of the need for a more effective, coherent a better managed response”.

Pointing out that the pandemic seems to have unearthed aspects of “our society that we so often leave unchecked”, the FNR raised the question, “Is COVID-19 resuscitating one’s primordial instincts inward against what needs to be done now? Are we unconsciously committing mayhem by underscoring religious norms and social bonds by preying on someone at the most vulnerable moment?”

In spite of human limitations and failures, in such a moment as this, “we are all called to stand together for victory,” FNR said, adding, “Despite our differing relative facts and preconceptions, we must guard against the pandemic that may tempt us to run away from the urgency of naming and winning the battle against Covid-19”.

The FNR then said that the government agencies alone remain limited. “Collective consciousness and action becomes one of the most important factors now,” it said, adding it “believes by standing together with resolve and purpose we can prevail over Covid-19”.

As citizens, the public needs to hold the government accountable and provide constructive suggestions without incapacitating its ability to respond during this medical emergency, the forum said.

The FNR then said it “views the Nagaland State Government’s admission to lapses, mismanagement and limitations in its COVID-19 response as a positive step”. It also stated that the government must take immediate corrective measures and steps to reduce the gap between public expectations and government actions on the ground.

It then urged the government, political parties, tribes and people for a responsible humane approach with gratitude, respect, dignity and understanding.

“FNR upholds the value that all people are equal and should be treated without discrimination,” it said and emphasizes the “need to be kind, compassionate, and caring to each other in all our relationships wherever they take place”.

FNR also encourages everyone to demonstrate responsibility in maintaining physical distancing and follow all other preventive measures. It called for a symbolic action on June 10 at 7 pm.

“We encourage individuals and families to sing, mediate and pray in your homes on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 7 p.m. A well-known chorus, ‘In the name of Jesus, we have the victory’ can be sung together,” it said. It invited everyone to flash their mobile phones or light a candle as a symbolic act of commitment to the light within us to shine in the midst of the challenges.

FNR also appealed to pray for the frontline workers: Medical personnel, administrative officials, police personnel, volunteers, returnees in Quarantine Centers and COVID 19 patients that are in hospitals.

“Even in times of despair, our faith in God and our ability to act collectively and in solidarity are our greatest strengths. Let us pray for each other,” the FNR added in the statement.

First Published:June 6, 2020, 5:09 p.m.