Dimapur, June 9: The 10 Naga legislators of Manipur who flew back from New Delhi after meeting the union home minister Amit Shah held a press briefing at Niathu Resort, Chumukedima Nagaland on Friday. The MLAs were accompanied by Outer Manipur Lok Sabha MP Dr. Lorho Pfoze of the Naga People’s Front, an ally of the BJP in the state.
In the opening remark, MLA Losii Dikho (Mao AC) informed that the 10 Naga MLAs met with Shah on June 7 evening upon his invitation to solve the problem of Manipur state and Northeast region. Losii said that discussion with Shah was meaningful.
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“We appreciate the union minister Shah for his prompt action to bring situation under control. We also conveyed to him including our Outer Manipur Lok Sabha MP, that we are trying our best to bring both the communities into understanding and bring back the situation to normalcy. We are concerned about the worsening situation in the last 10 days,” said minister Awangbow Newmai (Tamei AC) from NPF party.
Manipur Relief and Disaster Management minister Awangbow Newmai further said, “We conveyed to him very clearly that for any settlement, [with the Kukis or Meeties] our Naga areas should not be touched as the issue [land] has been the contention for many years.”
The Naga minister said, “in case of such arrangement, in order to avoid further escalation of the crisis, we told Shah, Naga people should be consulted properly before any arrangement is made. As we have an ongoing peace process with the Government of India — arrangements for the Nagas should come from the basis of the peace talks as Nagas are engaged in talks with India.
“Amit Shah conveyed to us very very clearly that in the event of any plan for Separate Administration or any other arrangement, all the three communities will be consulted properly,” the Naga minister added.
Awangbow also said that the 10 Naga MLAs told Shah that in the event of any settlement Naga areas should not be touched because it will create more problem.
Answering a question as to why Naga are silent about the conflict, the minster responded, “Nagas are peace loving people, we do not start any war with any body. We do not want our friends to engage in wars as we are trying to tell them that we should come together and negotiate.
Further responding to questions, minister Awangbow said, “Aside from rumours and talks, we [Naga] formed a peace committee, trying to reach out to everyone. of course Nagas are silent but we are not siding with anybody. We have our own way when it comes to conflict.”
A Naga activist in Delhi in the run up to the meeting with Shah had said, “Settlement, if given, affects us, not just the Kuki-Zomi tribes, the centre needs to know this. Hence, the consultation process for such settlement needs to have wider ambit of the Naga factor. The Central government cannot decide the councils for the tribes by consulting one community. Consulting the elected representatives is not enough, the government must consult the Naga CSOs as well.’’
The ten Naga MLAs who met Shah included five MLAs from the Naga People’s Front including transport minister in the Biren Singh’s government Khashim Vashum, Leishiyo Keishing, Awangbow Newmai, Ram Muivah and Losii Dikho. Two MLAs belong to the state’s ruling BJP party – SS Olish and Dinganglung Ganmei, while two others N. Kayisii and Janhemlung Panmei belong to another ally, Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party, and J Kumo Sha Independent MLA.