Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio sounds unity bugle to usher in new Naga era
Kohima, Sep. 22 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday sounded the bugle to unite Nagas as one family towards achieving a solution that is honourable, inclusive and acceptable, and to begin a new era of peace, progress and development.
He stated this on the last day of the 12th session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA).
“The Indo-Naga political imbroglio has been at the core of Naga society for several decades and remains central in our concerns even today,” he said.
He maintained that his government has given utmost importance to the Naga political issue and made every possible effort to play the role of active facilitator in order to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the realisation of an early solution to the protracted Naga political issue.
Reiterating that the present state government formed the all-party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) with a singular motive to facilitate the peace process, he said the Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue and the Core Committee was formed on June 10, 2021 comprising representatives from all political parties represented in the NLA.
He asserted that all 60 members of the NLA rose above party affiliations by setting aside all differences and came under one platform to extend positive support to the political negotiations.
Towards this, he extended appreciation to the MLAs for the ‘extraordinary unity’ that was displayed in coming together and to all the stakeholders, leaders, representatives of civil society and tribal hohos and all organisations and individuals who participated in the consultative meetings and collectively supported the common endeavour of pursuing permanent peace.
The chief minister also expressed gratitude to the government of India for acknowledging the unique history of the Nagas and for recognising the Naga issue as a political issue.
Rio said the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 after over 80 rounds of talks in the presence of the prime minister of India and other high officials and dignitaries of the Union government was a historic occasion, while adding that the Agreed Position signed on November 17, 2017 was of great significance and further strengthened the progress of the negotiations.
He relayed that on October 15, 2020, the Naga consultative meeting on the Naga political issue held at the State Banquet Hall, Kohima unanimously resolved, “to relentlessly work in a collective and unified manner with one voice so as to facilitate the peace process and strengthen the negotiations for early realisation of the desired one solution in a transparent manner which is acceptable and honourable”.
Further, he said the same resolution had appealed to the negotiating groups to come together under a spirit of oneness, mutual trust and understanding with sincerity and commitment towards achieving ‘One Solution for One People’ as early as possible.
While expressing delight on the recent ‘September Joint Accordant’ under the initiative of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) signed on September 14, he also reminded about the ‘Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR)’ signed on June 13, 2009 between the NSCN(IM) and the WC-NNPG and their committed to move forward through dialogue and live together in peace.
Maintaining that it was a significant step in the right direction, he said ‘such a spirit of understanding and willingness to live together in peace is definitely the way forward and with such oneness, Nagas will be able to reach the desired goal sooner than later’.
Mature approach needed for solution
Rio asserted that there is an overwhelming cry for a final solution amongst all sections of the people and the present state government will continue to make efforts for an early solution, to the extent of supporting such a development even before the elections to the Nagaland Assembly, which is due in early 2023.
“A political issue that has stretched for several decades and involves the longest standing insurgency of the entire region needs a mature approach,” said the chief minister.
Pointing out that the present ceasefire and talks have been going on for more than two decades, he said, “We feel that it is more than enough time for all sides to understand and appreciate each other in a manner that we are able to reach a desired conclusion by achieving a settlement”.
He also reiterated the July 16, 2022, resolution of the Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue, appealing to the negotiating parties to refer to the competencies of the talks and resolve the contentious issues.
Desire for genuine peace greater than before
While welcoming and appreciating the resumption of talks between the negotiating parties, he stated ‘We are all hopeful that this latest round of talks will bear positive results.’
Further, the chief minister stated that Nagas have been impacted for decades by the political conflict and the unresolved Indo-Naga political issue, while generations of youth have faced untold hurdles in striving towards their aspirations or have failed to achieve their ambitions, due to the challenges of the political movement. “The desire for genuine peace is now greater than ever before”, he said.
Rio maintained that the masses are crying out for resolution of the problem, so that Nagas too, can strive towards progress along with the rest of the global community.
“The leaders of today’s Naga society cannot afford to let the present and future generations inherit the continuation of conflict and violence,” he said.
Further, he asserted that everyone must come together under a spirit of collective oneness and resolve the imbroglio, so that Nagas too can rise and positively contribute to the nation’s building process and towards the better good of humanity.