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Naga political issue takes centre stage on Day-1 of NLA monsoon session

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Aug 04, 2021 1:56 am
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Naga society is ‘thoroughly’ divided, rues CM

Members of NLA observing a moment of silence in honour of deceased former legislators on the first day of monsoon session in Kohima, on Tuesday. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Aug. 3 (EMN): Naga political issue took centre stage on day one of the eight session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Tuesday. The 2-day monsoon session will conclude on Aug. 5 after a recess on Wednesday.

Participating in the debate, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio called upon the public leaders, civil society organisations and all stakeholders to come forward to give the last push for solution to the vexed Naga issue. 

He rued at the “thoroughly” divided Naga society in every aspect of life and added that both “underground” and “overground” were equally divided. 

Rio expressed hope that there will be a meeting point if they work unitedly and discussed the agreements word by word.

Since 1964, a total of 12 resolutions on Naga political issue have been unanimously passed despite different political affiliations and ideologies, he informed.

The chief minister further informed that they decided to change the nomenclature of Joint Legislators Forum to the Parliamentary Committee on Naga political issue, which was constituted recently.

Citing a portion of the Framework Agreement signed between GoI and NSCN (IM) and Agreed Position between GoI and seven NNPG, Rio said the Centre has recognised the “unique history and position” of the Nagas as well as its “historical and political rights”. On this, he said “we have to appreciate the Modi government for recognising the uniqueness of the Nagas”.

He went on to state that the uniqueness of the Naga history is “totally different” from others and therefore, must not be taken casually.

Territorial integration not possible

The CM further pointed out that there were three contentious issues — integration, flag and constitution. The Union Home Minister Amit Shah had clearly stated that integration was “not possible”. However, Nagas could have “emotional integration” and a Pan-Naga hoho wherein flag would be given, Rio said resounding Shah’s statement.

Rio also expressed happiness at the Naga People’s Front (NPF) for passing a resolution to have an opposition-less government. While the NDPP had welcomed and appreciated the move, further consultation with BJP is on, he added.

TR Zeliang said that it was high time for all the Nagas, particularly the 60 elected members, to vigorously pursue for a peaceful settlement as desired by the Nagas and GoI.

However, looking at the current stalemate in the negotiations between the Naga political groups and the GoI, he said, ‘it is of great concern and worry, that should talks breakdown at this juncture after so much has been done and achieved’ and that people would bear the brunt.

He observed that the animosity prevalent amongst the various Naga political groups, apparently resulting from past events, will stand as the greatest stumbling block for the Nagas, particularly the younger generation.

“If both the parties could arrive at mutual understanding, there is no reason why two parallel talks with two interlocutors should continue, which may further divide the Nagas rather than solving the issue,” Zeliang said.

On the issue of the apparent “sour relationship” between the NSCN (IM) and Interlocutor RN Ravi, he said: “We fail to understand why they keep blaming each other on some of the contents of competency clauses.”

“Neither the Interlocutor nor the NSCN (IM) has been forthcoming about the contents of the clauses to the public. This has further created more confusion in our midst,” he maintained.

 “We only want that differences are hammered out at the earliest through proper dialogue so that things would materialise,” he added.

On NPF’s recent move

While there are many who are sceptical of NPF’s intentions over agreeing the concept of an opposition-less government, he said ‘the party does not have any hidden agenda nor is desperate to be in the treasury bench. The only reason is to help facilitate the Naga political issue’. He added that it should not be for cheap political gains but to strengthen the progress of the negotiations and also to fulfil the aspirations of the Nagas.

He further clarified that the NPF members would continue to maintain status quo ante till the formalities for an opposition-less government is completed.

Legislator Dr. Chotisuh Sazo observed that the negotiating parties should be “transparent with their competency clauses or agreed positions to the Nagas”.

“We have to keep on telling them to come together across the table, sort out their differences, unite and work out a common approach,” he said.

MLA Dr. Chumben Murry proposed that the Core Committee on behalf of the Parliamentary Committee must call on central leaders and urge them to be magnanimous on the issue of flag, while at the same time have more discussion with the NSCN (IM) and urge them to reconsider their stand on the line of the October 31, 2019 agreement in the interest of the younger generation.

He stated that the task of bringing the NSCM (IM) and NNPG to a common platform seems mammoth as they stuck to their respective agreements made with GoI. He went on to suggest that the core committee involve tribal bodies, women wings and student bodies towards a mass movement.

Minister V Kashiho Sangtam of BJP asked: ‘Why not approach the Naga negotiating parties and urge them to come together leaving aside the difference before an opposition-less government is formed?’

MLA Imkong L Imchen said that the talk was almost at a standstill position as no party was showing any sign compromise. Stating that the people’s desire for peaceful existence is becoming unbearable, he said ‘practical politics always lies with the spirit of give’.

Legislator Kuzholuzo Nienu while pressing on pragmatic approach said that legislators must be bold enough to make round table conferences with all the NPGs and talk with GOI.

Minister Neiba Kronu also called to bring the two Naga negotiating parties together so that they can have dialogue with GoI.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Aug 04, 2021 1:56:01 am