Kohima: People from all walks of life, including political leaders, civil societies and the general public, paid their last respects to Khole Konyak, the departed leader of NSCN-IM, in Kohima on Saturday. The vice-chairman of the insurgent group breathed his last following a brain haemorrhage in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Saturday’s public funeral was called by the Angami Public Organisation (APO) at the Old MLA Junction in Kohima.
Addressing the gathering, prominent Naga author Kaka D Iralu said: “The late general has achieved his status out of wisdom. And like him, many other Naga generals who fought for the Naga freedom have led the people from the front (and not from the back).”
“General Khole, we stand in respect and awe for your sacrifices to the nation,” he added.
The mortal remains of the departed leader arrived in Kohima at 12:50 pm on Saturday, after which his body will be taken to Wokha, Mokokchung and Longleng, before heading to Mon where he will be laid to rest in his native village.
Born in the Wangshu village of Mon district in 1928, Konyak joined national service in 1956. He later served as the commander-in-chief of the ‘Naga Army’ from 1981-2011 and became the president of the NSCN (Unification) in June 2011. After leaving the NSCN(U), he joined the mainstream in March 2016, after which he was elected as the vice-president of NSCN-IM on May 17, 2016, as per reports.