Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Unity among Nagas needed to build a vibrant society, says Nagaland Chief Minister

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Feb 15, 2022 11:31 pm

Our Correspondent
Phek, Feb. 15 (EMN):
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday vouched for unity of the Nagas to build a vibrant society while asserting his aspiration for a solution to the protracted Naga political issue.

He was addressing the platinum jubilee celebration of the Chakhesang Students’ Union (CSU) in Phek town.

He maintained that the state is due to face the general election in early part of 2023, and many candidates including the present MLAs are working hard, and people are also looking forward to it.

‘But I am not looking forward to an election; I am looking forward to a solution to the protracted Naga political problem, because unless there is a settlement, there is no perfect peace in our land. There is no peace of mind,’ said Rio.

‘Why I say settlement? Because there is so much injustice in our society- from the government, to the leaders, to the communities, and we have to rearrange the whole state and also change our mindset to become a better society and survive as a people,’ he added.

Rio reiterated that he wants a solution because it will bring a new hope for the youth, the students and for the future.

He added that the negotiating parties and the Government of India were prepared to give more Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats, and more MLA seats to Nagaland.

Pointing out the uneven distribution of voters among the assembly constituencies, he stated that if the state gets 20 more MLA seats, ‘then justice can be done with equal proportionate representation to the assembly’.

He added that Nagas need to start afresh as one family, ‘with no hurt burning against one another to create disharmony in the society’.

Oting incident was ‘most unfortunate’

Rio termed the Oting incident that killed 14 innocent people and injured many, as ‘most unfortunate’.

 “For the first time, the Government of India and the Army admitted their mistakes and there is a public hue and cry, for repeal of AFSPA,” he said.

Dwelling on how the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was introduced in the state in 1958 because of Naga insurgency, he said this Act could come back unless the Naga issue is solved.

He stated that the government and the public were demanding repeal of the Act. ‘But if (AFSPA) cannot be repealed from the whole country, we are demanding it to be lifted in Nagaland, except the international border and interstate border,’ he said.

He pointed out that once it is lifted, the responsibility will fall on the state police, the public, the civil societies; and if there is a continuation of Naga insurgency, or disturbances, it (AFSPA) can be re-imposed.

The chief minister maintained that ‘lifting of AFSPA is not a problem’ but whether or not the people can take the responsibility, is.

‘We are a young society as far as education is concerned and we must be refined to control our emotions and anger, our hatred for one another and our greed,’ he said.

He lamented the division in the Naga society, be it ‘Naga political groups, over-ground leaders, and unless we unite, we don’t have hope for our future’.

Meanwhile, he informed that the state government is trying to introduce micro-financing to farmers and micro-entrepreneurs from April. He also highlighted that the NLA had amended the Sarfaesi Act to enable people to take loans from banks.

Rio lauds Chakhesangs

The chief minister also lauded the Chakhesang community for their determination and commitment in studies and exuded hope that they will lead the Nagas through good example.

‘I see our Chakhesang community as very vibrant and among the Naga tribes, I see honesty, hard work and integrity in you, and in our tradition, I rate you (Chakhesang) as the best. I appreciate your commitment to uphold the Naga identity in promoting culture and tradition,’ said.

 While extending his good wishes to the CSU on reaching the 75 years milestone, he congratulated the pioneers.

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Feb 15, 2022 11:31:27 pm