Oting firing: Nagaland readies for Christmas with heavy heart | Guwahati News

GUWAHATI: On the eve of Christmas, Oting grieve in the Mon district of Nagaland, where black flags still flutter in the cold as it was the focus of a horrific mass shooting earlier this month that shocked the nation, has allowed traditions and festivals to overcome sadness. With a heavy heart, one is ready to wipe away tears and open up Yuletide morale.
Even as the district government said it had completed disbursing compensation of Rs 16 lakh to each family of those killed in the shooting to ease the wounded hearts of tribal villagers, followers Christianity is ready to celebrate Christmas by praying for those killed in shootings at Baptist churches across villages. But despite outrage at the Center being blamed for ‘giving scope to kill civilians’ as a result of AFSPA enforcement in Nagaland for decades, believers in Oting will pray for well-being. of the President of India and the Prime Minister, affirming their feelings about Indians.
In the past, extremist groups in Nagaland had issued requests to cease operations from India, but on Christmas eve, the village Baptist Church decided to make ties with India stronger. “The people of Oting want justice. We are not foreigners but from mainland India. Although we live in the most remote part of the country, peace is equally important to us. Whoever is at the top of India’s justice system, bring justice to his countrymen,” Noykem Konyak, pastor of Oting Village Baptist Church, told TOI on Thursday.
Although the celebrations will never be the same, he said the tradition must be maintained at all costs. Christmas Day will begin at the church with a silent vigil and will be held in 100 odd villages where Baptist churches dominate. In Oting Church, drama and cultural programs are usually held throughout the day every Christmas. It is a way for all young people in the village to participate in social-religious activities. This time, 1,500 odd villagers, including laborers returning home for Christmas, are ready to celebrate.
“We started preparing for Christmas five months in advance and the programs were planned accordingly. We paused the cultural programs and held only teaching on how to live in peace and forgiveness. But we will not miss the prayer for the President, Prime Minister and Konyak said.
“While the bereaved is still crying, it would not be fair to hold joyful celebrations with lavish culture. Instead, we will visit the homes of the dead and injured to comfort them.” , he added.
Chemyuh Konyak, executive secretary, Association of Konyak Baptist Churches in Mon, said Christmas must be celebrated even in a sad one. He said Church leaders have been told to hold a minute of silent prayer before Christmas begins. “The mood and emotions in Mon this time are quite different. The Oting shooting made our hearts bleed,” he said.
Elsewhere in Nagaland, the Oting episode may not have dampened morale. Akhet Sema, general secretary of the Council of Baptist Churches of North East India (CBCNEI), said, “In Mon, we have to understand the pain and sorrow of the people. But Christmas will always be celebrated. This year. We will also celebrate.” Sema.


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