Indo-Naga Talks: Final Touches In Process—Rio - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland

Indo-Naga talks: Final touches in process—Rio

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 11, 2020 12:07 am

Nowhere has it been mentioned that the peace process has concluded. Only the talks have concluded on a positive note which signifies that the negotiating parties have arrived at meeting points”

Our Correspondent

Kohima, Feb. 10 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday said that modalities to ink the vexed Naga political solution are in the process.

The negotiating groups—NNPGs, NSCN (IM), and government of India (GoI)— have “wind up the talks and are now working out the competencies to ink a solution to the Naga issue”, Rio said.

The chief minister was replying on the motion of thanks to the governor’s address, made on January 17, at the ongoing 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly in Kohima. The governor’s address was later adopted on the floor through voice vote. 

“We are at a crucial juncture in our history, because during such times, insecurity may prevail in the minds of people, or misconceptions and confusions based on hearsay may be spread by mischief-makers,” he said. 

“We cannot rule out any of these possible instances,” Rio added while appealing to the neighbouring states to understand the “sensitive juncture we are in”.

He further clarified that “nowhere has it been mentioned that the peace process has concluded. Only the talks have concluded on a positive note which signifies that the negotiating parties have arrived at meeting points on the various topics of the negotiations”.

Rio iterated that negotiations between the GoI and the Naga groups have concluded on October 31, 2019 on a positive note.

The chief minister went on to appeal to all the other groups to join the peace process in the interest of Naga people. “We have to be united, irrespective of tribe or community or political party affiliation. We have to transcend all boundaries that bind us within our individual comfort zones,” he said.

“Negotiations had been going on for the last 22 years and the talks had to be concluded so that an agreement can come about. No pact can be signed unless the points of contention are hammered out between the parties involved,” he added.

RIIN in the interest of Nagas

Rio, while giving an update on the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), said the customary laws of each tribe would be documented, in order to make common customary laws. He also assured that once the report is ready, it would be discussed in the Assembly.

He went on to say, “Unless we do this RIIN, a few years from now, the real Nagas will not be able to be identified.” The exercise was initiated for the interest of the Nagas, he added.

The notion that non-Nagas settling in Nagaland before December 31, 1963 is qualified to be a citizenship of Nagaland is “wrong”, he clarified. “They (non-Nagas) cannot become a Naga,” he said. Non-Nagas settling in Nagaland before the mentioned date can become permanent residents but not indigenous, he went on to clarify. 

CAA

He iterated that the state government had been seriously studying Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which has now become an Act.

However, he admitted that there was a “serious” apprehension in the minds of the people within the state and in the rest of the region on the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Civil society, political parties and citizens had expressed concern, deliberated on various platforms and there were even agitations across the region. Therefore, he appealed to the members to put their heads together.

The chief minister slammed the members of the opposition for not attending any of the CAB consultative meetings. By doing so the opposition, he said, had “distanced themselves from the voice of the people, and so they could not comprehend the sentiment of the people. Now they are not only confused, but also trying to confuse others”.

Responding to the opposition’s claim that Article-371 (A) would not protect Nagaland from CAA, Rio said, “Then what is their (NPF) proposition? Can they propose any protective mechanism as an alternative to what we have? Have they ever suggested any alternatives?”

“We as politicians and representatives of our people must never utter that Article 371 (A) does not protect us,” he added. 

It is “painful to observe that the very leaders who are supposed to stand up for the rights of the Nagas, defend our people against our adversaries, and ensure that we are not trampled upon are instead shockingly propagating that the special provisions and laws do not protect us”, Rio maintained.

He called upon the Nagas to be united and defend one’s Constitutional and legal rights.

Calls Kenye’s suspension a fallacy

Rio also expressed surprised at the NPF’s decision to suspend Rajya Sabha MP KG Kenye while the MP Lok Sabha was excused; terming it a “fallacy”. The NPF party had suspended Kenye from primary as well as active membership for voting in favour of the CAB. Whereas, the MP Lok Sabha, Dr. Lorho pfoze from Manipur who also voted in favour of the CAB, escaped punishment.

“When a political party can apply different yardsticks against its members on the same issue, then such party cannot be taken seriously as they are not consistent in their stand and also amongst themselves,” Rio said.

6103
By Our Correspondent Updated: Feb 11, 2020 12:07:05 am
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