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Was given 3 months to resolve Indo-Naga talks — Ravi

By Our Correspondent Updated: Aug 16, 2019 10:48 pm
RN Ravi beats a Naga gong gifted to him as Neiphiu Rio, Y Patton and others look on during a civic reception in Kohima on Friday. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent

Kohima, Aug. 16 (EMN): Governor RN Ravi on Friday revealed that, prior to his arrival in Nagaland to assume his gubernatorial role, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tasked him with resolving the Indo-Naga political negotiations within three months.

Otherwise known for keeping the cards close to his chest, Ravi made this public pronouncement at a civic reception organised in his honour by the Naga public at the NBCC Convention Centre in Kohima. “Three months is long enough because we have been negotiating for the last 22 years,” said Ravi.

According to him, the long unresolved Naga political issue has cast shadows on almost every aspects of the life of Naga people. “This cloud of darkness must go because our people deserve sunshine,” he added.

Ravi said that for the last five years, the prime minister had taken stock of the way the negotiations were conducted and every attempt was made with “sincere attention, good intention and earnest effort.” However, it was found and understood that the “process was not inclusive.”

“By inclusiveness, we mean all the Naga armed groups, Naga tribal bodies, Naga societies, grassroots leaders, Naga intellectuals, senior citizens, elders and the Naga legislators because Naga political issue belongs to the Naga people. No organisation has exclusive franchise over it,” Ravi said.

When he was appointed as the interlocutor, Ravi said that the prime minister had given him one ‘mantra’ saying that the Naga political issue has to be resolved on the principle of equality and mutual respect with due regard to contemporary realities. “Almost all the Nagas are part of the process today,” Ravi said.

The governor said he was overwhelmed by the love, affection and warm reception offered to him and his wife by the Naga people.

Ravi also added that he was saddened to see Nagas still struggling to have access to basic necessities like good roads, education, power supply, proper healthcare or decent employment opportunities for the youth.

He observed that the ‘status quo’ as it stands today is unbearable for the Naga people because they have to bear the burden of multiple governments, multiple taxations and fear of the gun while the dreams of Naga youth have been ‘choked and suffocated.’

“Now the status quo is unbearable and unacceptable for the people. We are trying to do it and I hope with your cooperation, we will do it. The status quo is no longer acceptable to the Nagas and the government of India,” he said.

Ravi also elaborated on Article 370 and Article 371 (A) and urged to understand the difference between the two. “Article 371(A) is a product of over three years of negotiation between the people of Nagaland and government of India. It is an agreement over a long series of deliberation and that is why it is a solemn commitment to the people of Nagaland. It is sacred,” Ravi said.

The governor stated that the issues of integration of Naga areas have been resolved by agreeing that the integration of Naga inhabited areas should be achieved through democratic process.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that Ravi was no longer a stranger to the Nagas, as he has become a household name who understands the history, culture, politics and affairs of the land.

Ravi has been closely associated with the state as the interlocutor of Indo-Naga peace talk, added Rio. He said that Ravi was the driving force behind the August 3, 2015 signing of the framework agreement, which recognises the uniqueness of the Naga history.

“We assure you of our cooperation for peace and development in our land,” Rio told Ravi.

Naga organisations appeal to Ravi

While congratulating Ravi for being appointed as the governor of Nagaland, the president of Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) Kekongchim Yimchunger said that the former’s appointment as governor has brought the people closer since he was well-versed with the issues of Nagaland.

Referring to the ENPO’s demand of ‘Frontier Nagaland’, the president said that the demand was purely based on the domestic problems of the eastern districts of Nagaland and ‘the historical rights of the ENPO tribes’, with no ill intention towards any community or group.

“For ENPO, the word ‘Nagaland’ is so dear to us that we have put forward our demand as ‘Frontier Nagaland,’ which clearly signifies that we are still Naga in spite of our demand,” he said.

He also observed that the Naga political issue talks of the Naga identity as a whole, with ENPO also a part of it. Yimchunger said that people from the eastern districts have been contributing and sacrificing for the Naga political issue right from its inception till date.

As Nagas live under the shadow of uncertainty, surrounded by confusion with no clear future, he appealed to the governor to bring out the best possible solution for the Nagas, without compromising the identity of the Nagas, at the earliest possible time while not forgetting the people of eastern Nagaland and deliver justice in every aspect.

N Matong Jamir, the president of Central Nagaland Tribal Council (CNTC), said that Naga people have been praying for healing and reconciliation; and believed that the “time is now.”

“We have been yearning for peace for too long and we want it to be a reality,” he said.

Jamir said for the first time, Nagaland has a governor who not only knows the wishes of the Naga people but also has deep knowledge of the Naga political issue.

Jamir hoped that during Ravi’s tenure as governor, and his time as the interlocutor of Naga peace talks, the protracted Naga issue would come to a logical conclusion and usher in peace throughout the Naga inhabited areas.

Timikha Koza, the president of Tenyimia Public Organisation (TPO) stated that Ravi stands out distinctly from other governors because of his background of being interlocutor before becoming the governor of Nagaland.

“With that distinction, we want you to be the people’s governor, who will guide the Naga people from your heart. A governor who will not take advantage of the weakness of the Nagas but a governor who will build and strengthen the strength of the Nagas which will bear testimony of your commitment to peace,” Koza appealed.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Aug 16, 2019 10:48:59 pm