Kohima: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio reiterated today that it will pave the way in the event of Naga political solution that is honourable, acceptable and inclusive.
“We are all aware that the State Government is not a direct party to the negotiations and we are only playing our role as facilitators. However, our sincerity towards the commitments which we have made in our respective manifestoes still stands. The ruling dispensation and the political parties in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) government (of Nagaland) have made it clear in our manifestoes that we will pave the way in the event of a solution that is honourable, acceptable and inclusive,” the Nagaland chief minister reminded in a discussion on Naga political issue in the Assembly.
The chief minister also stated that the leaders of today’s Naga society cannot afford to let the present and future generations inherit the continuation of conflict and violence. “We owe it to them to come together under a spirit of collective oneness and resolve this imbroglio, so that, we too, can rise as a people and positively contribute to the nation building process and towards the better good of humanity,” he added.
Neiphiu Rio then appealed of “this House to all sections of Naga society and to the negotiating parties of the political dialogue to rise above all else, so that we work in unison for the common good of all Nagas”. The Nagaland chief minister added, “Let us unite as one Naga family and let us all put our best possible efforts towards achieving a solution that is honourable, inclusive and acceptable, and thereby begin a new era of peace, progress and development, wherein Nagas increase our contributions towards the forward march of this great nation.”
Rio then said that the Indo-Naga political imbroglio has been at the core of Naga society for several decades and remains central in our concerns even today. “For this House too, it is at the top of our agenda and in the course of the past four years, the members of this house have undertaken discussions and deliberations on several occasions within the floor of this house and outside the house,” he also said. Rio further added that his government has given utmost importance to the Naga political issue and “we have made every possible effort” to play the role of active facilitator in order to create an atmosphere that is conducive to realisation of an early solution to the protracted Naga political issue.
According to the chief minister, the present State Government in Nagaland has formed an opposition-less United Democratic Front (UDA) Government with the singular motive to facilitate the peace process so that we realise the aspiration of achieving genuine peace though a negotiated political solution that is honourable, acceptable and inclusive. Subsequently, the Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue and the Core Committee were formed on June 10, 2021 comprising of representatives from all political parties represented in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. All 60 members of this House rose above “our affiliations by setting aside all our differences and we all came under one platform to extend positive support to the political negotiations,” Rio further stated. The Parliamentary Committee and the Core Committee have held several rounds of discussions, deliberations and consultative meetings with various stakeholders including the Naga national political groups and the representatives of the Government of India.
Rio then expressed his appreciation to the members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly “for the extraordinary unity that was displayed by our coming together in common solidarity”. He also extended appreciation of “this house” to all the stakeholders, leaders and representatives of civil society and tribal hohos and all organisations and individuals who participated in the consultative meetings and collectively supported “our common endeavour” of pursuing permanent peace.
“We are grateful to the Government of India for acknowledging the unique history of the Nagas and for recognising the Naga issue as a political issue. I also once again extend the appreciation and acknowledgement of this House for the sacrifices and contributions of the Naga national workers in the course of the Naga political journey and towards the Naga political aspiration for permanent peace,” he added.
Rio then stated that the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 after over 80 rounds of talks in the presence of the Prime Minister of India and other high officials and dignitaries of the Union Government was indeed a historic occasion and “we continue to extend our support and appreciation towards honouring the agreement.” Rio further said that the Agreed Position signed on November 17, 2017 was greatly significant and further strengthened the progress of the negotiations. “We reiterate our appreciation to the signatories of both the documents and to the Government of India for exhibiting sincere commitment in our collective efforts to resolve the decades old political imbroglio,” he also stated.
“On October 15, 2020, the Naga Consultative Meeting on the Naga Political Issue held at the State Banquet Hall, Kohima unanimously resolved, and I quote, ‘to relentlessly work in a collective and unified manner with one voice so as to facilitate the peace process and strengthen the negotiations for early realisation of the desired one solution in a transparent manner which is acceptable and honourable’”, Rio added. The resolutions also “appealed to the negotiating groups to come together under a spirit of oneness, mutual trust and understanding with sincerity and commitment towards achieving one solution for one people as early as possible.” The Nagaland chief minister further stated, “We ‘affirmed our commitment to continuously work towards a political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights to determine our future on the unique history and position of the Nagas.’”
According to Rio, it is a matter of great satisfaction that on September 14, 2022 the national political groups signed the September Joint Accordant under the initiative of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation. He also said that the NSCN-IM and the NNPG while acknowledging the “Covenant of Reconciliation (CoR) signed on June 13, 2009 committed to move forward through dialogue and live together in peace. “This is a significant step in the right direction and I extend the appreciation of this House to the signatories of the Joint Accordant and also to the facilitator, the FNR. Such a spirit of understanding and a willingness to live together in peace is definitely the way forward and I am confident that with such oneness, we will be able to reach our desired goal sooner than later,” Rio also added.
There is an overwhelming cry for a final solution amongst all sections of the people, Rio said. The present state government and the Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue continues to make efforts, while appealing for early solution, to the extent of supporting such a development even before the elections to the Nagaland Assembly, which are due in early 2023, he also said. A political issue that has stretched for several decades and involves the longest standing insurgency of the entire region needs a mature approach, Rio further stated. “The present ceasefire and talks have been going on for more than two decades, and we feel that itmore than enough time for all sides to understand and appreciate each other in a manner that we are able to reach a desired conclusion by achieving a settlement,” he added.
On July 16, 2022, the Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue, in its meeting held at Kohima, adopted a resolution appealing to the negotiating parties to refer to the competencies of the talks and resolve the contentious issues. “We welcome and appreciate the resumption of talks between the negotiating parties and we are all hopeful that this latest round of talks will bear positive results. We reiterate our appeal to the negotiating parties and the Government of India to address the contentious issues and undertake discussions on the competencies so that the talks can be expedited and a solution can be reached at the earliest possible,” Rio also said. “This August House is united in our common aspiration for achieving lasting peace and I place on record my deepest appreciation to each and every Member for rising above all differences in unitedly working under the flatform of the Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue and the Core Committee on the Naga Political Issue. As facilitators, we will continue to put forward our best efforts within the given possibilities for a final solution and genuine peace,” he added.
According to Rio, Nagas have been impacted for decades by the political conflict and the unresolved Indo-Naga political issue. “Generations of our youth have faced untold hurdles in striving towards their aspirations or have failed to achieve their ambitions, due to the challenges of the political movement,” he also stated. Rio further said that the desire for genuine peace in now greater than ever before. He also said that masses are crying out for resolution of the problem so that “our people too can strive towards progress along with the rest of the global community”. The inherent talents and genius of the Naga people deserve to be given the opportunity to achieve excellence and success, he added.