There has been no violence during my tenure in regard to NSCN groups and armed forces in state, the need for violence has reduced, says Lt Gen (Retd) Shokin Chauhan
Kohima: Completing his two-year tenure as chairman of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group (CFMG) and Cease Fire Supervisory Board (CFSB) Lt Gen (Rtd) Shokin Chauhan said that there has been no violence during the period in regard to the NSCN groups and the armed forces in the state and that the need for violence has reduced.
Interacting with journalists at the CFMG/CFSB office, Chauhan said that in the past two years of his tenure, there has been no violence and firing. "The last incident was on August 7, 2018 before I came. In my two years, I do not recall a single day where any of the Under ground groups have been rude to me," he said.
Expressing that he had "no bad experience", Chauhan said that there were times when both the armed forces and the NSCN groups had complaints against each other. "But there are laid down ceasefire ground rules and the way I saw my job is to make peace and how to maintain peace. So, I brought them together and made them talk to each other," Chauhan said.
"I looked at my job as an elder — which I am — and I give guidance. They were not competing with me. They had their own issues but whatever it was, I made them understand," Chauhan added. The chairman also said that the need to violence reduced when the groups, the armed forces and the state government understood the role of the neutral office and the suspicions reduced.
He recalled the time when he stopped the town commands (undesignated mess/offices). "They (groups) were not happy but in the end, they also agreed. I stopped the recruitment and they had no problem," he added.
While saying that the group's have been very cooperative, he said that if there are mistakes done by any of them, they would apoligise.
He said that during ceasefire review meetings, the groups along with the armed forces and the state representatives met under his office to talk. "Slowly the misunderstandings decreased. I’m so happy that I took the challenge (of coming to Nagaland). Talking to underground groups has been a great experience," he said.
He also said that the chief minister, the state government and the army have all been nice. As he praised the Nagas and the rich culture and traditions, he acknowledged the simplicity nature of the Nagas. "It has been a very positive experience. I love being here in Nagaland. No one has said any lies, no one was rude. The only thing is that the roads never became better," he said in a lighter tone.
When asked about the NSCN-IM's allegations on the ceasefire office being dismantled, he said: "My job is absolutely different. It has nothing to do with the political talks. I made sure that peace is maintained while the governor and interlocutor deals with the talks". He also said that as the chairman of the CFMG/CFSB, "all groups were the same".
While the question of who will be the next ceasefire chairman is still unknown, he said that usually after an individual is selected and assigned, the individual may join service within six weeks.
Further expressing delight, Chauhan said: "I take great pride in being here. There is so much to learn from Nagas and the great culture." He also shared his desire to set up a Northeast centre or help people from the region, living in the cities.