Amit Shah willing to hoist Naga flag on Naga Day, says Nagaland Chief Minister
Kohima, April 24 (EMN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has agreed to hoist the Naga flag on Naga Day if invited for the occasion, while disapproving to grant a separate Naga flag and constitution.
Rio stated that the Home minister had hinted at one of the meetings held to deliberate on the Naga political issue, that he would ‘gladly hoist the Naga flag on Naga Day’ and invited him and others in the government to accompany him.
The chief minister revealed this during the 29th Biennial General Conference of the Angami Students’ Union (ASU) held at Kisama on Saturday.
Shah was said to have told Rio earlier that the Centre wouldn’t grant a separate flag and constitution for Nagas but ‘the flag’ could be used during Naga community events and functions throughout pan Naga Hoho areas. Yet, the same would not be applied during union or state government functions or government institutions and establishments.
Speaking on the background of the Naga political movement, the Nagaland chief minister said, ‘if we are to count the Naga political issue since the Simon Commission, the movement is in its 92nd year and has gone through various phases’.
‘Yet, even after many years of Nagaland as a state, there are lots of things that have not been achieved yet,’ he pointed out.
“Despite being a state under the Indian Union, Naga history is being given recognition as ‘unique’ and its issue is recognised as a political issue. The sad thing is that though India has recognised the ‘unique history’ of the Nagas, it is the Nagas who have failed to recognise it,” Rio said and called upon the people to ponder upon this and live accordingly.
While reminding about the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN (IM) on August 3, 2015 and ‘agreed position’ with the seven NNPG (WC) on November 17, 2017, he expressed contentment at the ceasefire to resolve the Naga political issue.
“Solution belongs to the people and taking the present opportunity, something must be done,” he said, while urging leaders of the present generation to come up with an agreement on the issue and do what can be done at present as per the situation.
Possible scenario post settlement
Rio gave an overview of how things would look like once Naga political imbroglio is settled.
‘If the Agreement (to the Naga Political settlement) is reached upon, an expert committee would be set up to frame Yezhabo (constitution) — which can be enshrined in the (Indian) Constitution like Article 371 (A) — so that Nagas can stand in much better position (tomorrow),’ he stated.
He said that an ‘agreement’ must be arrived at in order to usher in an era of faster economic growth and greater employment opportunities for Naga youth and the people as a whole.
He further urged for collective efforts from everyone and to give a “final push” to achieve a settlement to the Naga political issue.
Speaking about the Registration of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), Rio said that consultation with tribal hohos and village councils was crucial to move RIIN in the right direction.
“State government’s power rests upon village council and tribal council in order to bring effective exercise. Therefore, the state government is conducting consultative meetings with the various tribal leaders. For it is the village council chairman who will certify indigenous or native, which will be verified by the respective district administration,” he said.
He also highlighted the role of the village and tribal councils who will ensure that the customary laws (as empowered under clause 7,8 of the 16-Point Agreement) are ensured.
‘Therefore, careful consultation is going on at the grassroots level; because if we rush things, it would lead to failure. RIIN is needed to protect indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland and to benefit from what is theirs,’ he said.
Rio further urged the gethering to unite and work together for a brighter future for the state.
‘With or without solution, life will go on’
Secretary General of Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Neingulo Krome said during the cultural programme of the event that ‘with or without political solution, Nagas must live its own life, which should be free and self-dependent, for which we must continue to nurture our culture, uphold our customary ways of life, and practise our traditional knowledge with more passion and dedication’.
He went on to add that “we do not know if there ever will be any meaningful resolution of the problem as it will be in the best interest for the government of India to keep the issue dragging on and on, whereby, Nagas will be made to fight amongst themselves and against each other, perhaps, till the end of time. But no matter what life will go on”.