Resolve Naga issue as promised, natives tell PM Modi

Thousands took to the streets during a two-hour shutdown seeking speedy settlement of the peace process

Thousands took to the streets during a two-hour shutdown seeking speedy settlement of the peace process

GUWAHATI

Thousands of people took to the streets across Nagaland on Friday, to demand a speedy settlement of the prolonged “Naga political issue”, and remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his promise of lasting peace and development.

All towns and villages in Nagaland shut down for two hours, mobilized by Nagaland People’s Action Committee (NPAC), to convey to New Delhi as to how the non-settlement of the political issue, has adversely impacted the Nagas. The State has been facing this problem for the past seven decades.

Friday’s rally followed calls for the suspension of the “Opposition-less” 60-member Nagaland Assembly and the resignation of all the MLAs, ahead of the state elections, by February-March 2023.

Also read: No merger with India but Nagas cannot live apart: NSCN (IM)

The Centre’s peace talks with the Naga extremist groups concluded three years ago. But the issue has remained unresolved with the largest of the groups, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN (IM) insisting on a separate ‘Naga flag’ and ‘Naga constitution’ as part of the final settlement.

The Center rejected the separate flag and Constitution, specifically after Article 370 was removed from Jammu and Kashmir.

Huge toll on the governance

In a memorandum submitted to Mr. Modi via the State’s Governor, the NPAC said the unending political process not only adversely affected the lives of the people, but also took a huge toll on the entire system of governance.

“”The unresolved political issue has heralded an unimaginable cycle of corruption, crippling public healthcare, education and infrastructure developments, and produced countless scoundrels and thieves. In the name of political issue, threats and intimidation have stifled the growth of a perceived Naga society which, you assured, would be a vibrant one,” the memorandum said.

“Without a political settlement, we foresee thousands of futureless and highly-qualified angry men and women taking up guns to challenge those stifling their growth and progress,” the NPAC warned.

It reminded Mr. Modi of the “breach of trust” by the BJP, when its candidates filed nominations with the slogan of “election for solution”, despite civil society groups and all political parties unequivocally demanding solution before the 2018 polls.

A few days ago, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and the BJP signed a seat-sharing agreement that annoyed the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), a conglomerate of seven insurgent groups, opposed to the NSCN (IM). The NNPGs criticized the two parties for showing more interest in the elections than the settlement of the Naga issue.

The Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation, an anti-graft body, later challenged the MLAs to quit in order to facilitate the settlement of the Naga issue.

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