by Bhupen Goswami
Guwahati: In view of the Assembly elections 2023 in Nagaland, the Central government is again raising the issue after eight years to find a solution to the Naga political issue. Union Home Minister Amit Shah conveyed this message to an 11-member delegation of the Nagaland government on NPI during a meeting in Delhi today.
The Centre has asked the all-party Nagaland government to persuade the NSCN-IM for a final solution to the pending Naga political issue. Nagaland Parliamentary Affairs Minister Neiba Kronu said. Kronu claimed that the delegation was led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton. Kronu was also part of the 11-member delegation. The Nagaland Parliamentary Affairs Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tasked Shah to meet the core committee. The delegation has been in Delhi since last Wednesday. Kronu further informed that the delegation submitted the July 16 resolution of the core committee and asked Shah to revisit the contentious issues and resolve the issue.
The delegation also reminded the Union Home Minister of the BJP’s ‘Election for Solution’ slogan in the 2018 state polls and urged him to work to find a solution to the Naga issue before next year’s elections. The delegation included United Democratic Alliance (UDA) President T.R. Zelian, UDA Co-Chairman Kuzholuzo Nienu, Cabinet Ministers G. Kaito Aye, S. Pangnyu Phom, Niba Kronu and Tongpang Ozukum, Advisor h. Khehovi Theptho and Fukhav MLA Khrihu Lijitsu. Asked if the meeting also discussed the demand for a separate flag and constitution for the Naga community by the NSCN-IM, without which the organisation was not ready to accept the solution, Kronu said the Centre has asked the Nagaland government to persuade the NSCN-IM towards signing the final solution. However, talks began after the signing of a ceasefire agreement with the NSCN-IM in 1997.
The draft agreement was signed on August 3, 2015. But a final solution could not be reached as the NSCN-IM stuck to its demand for a separate flag and constitution. On the other hand, after the assembly elections in Nagaland, the BJP’s Modi government has been completely trapped. The Modi government is in a very uncomfortable position at this moment. On the one hand, the demand for a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state and on the other hand, the demand for a sovereign separate Naga country is intensifying. However, the demand for a separate state ‘Frontier Nagaland’ by the Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO) has been gaining momentum for the past few weeks ahead of the assembly elections due early next year. Public rallies were held in the eastern districts of Nagaland – Tuensang, Shamatore, Mon, Longleng, Noklak and Kiphire – under the aegis of ENPO to express solidarity with ENPO’s demand for a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state. Seven tribes live in six districts of the eastern Nagaland region – Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Santam, Tikhir and Yimkhiung.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has extended an invitation for a meeting in Guwahati on September 15 on the issue. According to sources, NEDA convenor and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has arranged for the meeting in Guwahati. Since the inception of the movement in 2010, the ENPO has provided representations and memoranda to the Centre on several occasions. Elections to the 60-member Nagaland Assembly are due in February next year and the Supreme Court has ordered the state government to hold elections to all urban local bodies by January as they have been overdue to local body elections for over 12 years.