Kohima, Oct 15 : Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Thursday that the Central government has made it clear that there will be only “One Solution” for the Indo-Naga political issue.
Addressing the all-important consultative meeting on Naga political issue called by the Nagaland government in Kohima, the Chief Minister said that Thursday’s gathering is not only historic, but it also sends out a clear message to the Indian government and the world that Nagas want genuine peace and continue to strive towards oneness and unity as “One Naga Family”.
“I am sure our voice and our desire will be heard across boundaries,” Rio said, adding that if Nagas as people are to achieve progress and realise their aspirations, they must come together like they did on Thursday.
However, various political parties, including the opposition Congress, Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Janata Dal (United) stayed away from the crucial meeting.
Opposition leader and former Chief Minister TR Zeliang, who represents the NPF, said that the regional parties did not attend the meeting.
The Nagaland Chief Minister, while referring to his last meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on September 19, said: “We have to move forward. As the Bible says, the body without the spirit is dead, so also, faith without deed is dead, and therefore, we need to make sincere efforts to move together as people.
“We extend our collective appreciation and gratefulness to the Government of India for acknowledging the unique history and culture of the Naga people and for recognition of the Naga movement as a political movement.”
Rio said that it was known to everyone that this situation is only leading to self-destruction.
“During the British era, a divide and rule policy was used to govern, which was inherited by India, and till today our society is thoroughly divided, which has created too many groups and organisations leading to different opinions and voices,” he said.
Amid talks between the Central government and the NSCN (IM), the Nagaland government had called Thursday’s important “consultative meeting with all the stakeholders”.
A Nagaland government official said that all tribal Hohos, mass-based organisations, civil societies, church organisations, political parties, NGOs and prominent persons were invited to discuss the most important issue that the Naga society is presently facing.
“The state government is of the view that ceasefire and negotiations between the Naga political organisations and the Government of India has been going on for more than two decades and the Naga people have been crying out for peace and political solution,” the official said.
In Guwahati, Assam minister and senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Himanta Biswa Sarma, said that the Centre is working towards a final solution which goes along the unique history and traditions of Naga society.
“I strongly feel if Naga leadership wants to sign the accord, this is the right time. I once again appeal to them that they should sign the agreement and lead Nagaland to a durable solution. The entire northeast is looking forward to it,” said Sarma, who is the convener of the BJP-led alliance, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
“There should be smooth sailing of the Naga issue. The Government of India has taken into confidence all the concerned northeastern states on the issue,” the Assam minister said.
NSCN-IM led by its chief negotiator Thuingaleng Muivah in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had demanded the involvement of the Prime Minister in the talks for faster determination of their demands, insisting that the negotiations be held in a “third country”.
In the eight-page letter, written to Modi on February 25, Muivah also highlighted what he called the “obnoxious” conduct of the Union Home Ministry while dealing with the Naga question.
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) had said in a separate statement last week that they deliberately withheld the letter for seven months before releasing it to the media for public consumption as it waited with all confidence that the Prime Minister would respond positively.