Dimapur: The Nagaland Gaon Burah (village chief) Federation (NGBF) has demanded postponement of the upcoming Nagaland assembly election and to impose President’s Rule “to ensure honorable and acceptable solution” to the Naga political issue. It said that the time has come for the Prime Minister of India to fulfill his assurance on the Naga political issue. “Even the NGBF shall be compelled to take decision whether to participate or boycott the forthcoming Nagaland assembly election,” said the Federation in a press release.
The NGBF then said it is keenly awaiting the proposed visit of Home Minister of India, Amit Shah and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to Nagaland on January 6 and January 10 respectively.
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The press release then said, “As village elders, headmen, guardians and custodians of pre-British Naga customary heritage and usages, the NGBF had, in 2017, met the Hon’ble Prime Minister at his office in New Delhi and urged him to pursue an inclusive path and expedite the solution to the Indo-Naga political problem.”
The NGBF also said it was aware that “the Government of India and NSCN (IM) declared successful conclusion of political talks on August 3, 2015.” The NGBF then said, “The folly was ignoring major stakeholders in the political talks”. It added that to pursue an inclusive solution, the Government of India officially invited Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups (WC,NNPG), comprising seven different Naga armed groups, to the negotiating table on September 27, 2017. The Government of India officially concluded negotiations with all entities on October 31, 2019, the NGBF further added.
The NGBF then said it understood the intricacies of the Indian system, so also among the two negotiating Naga entities. It also said it understood the position of the Government of India on symbolic matters. The NGBF also said that the clearest stand and position of “Nagaland tribes, relevant Naga civil societies and common people of Nagaland is that, the Hon’ble Prime Minister must announce the settlement basing on what was negotiated and agreed upon, once and for all”. The NGBF said that the slogan ‘election for solution’ should never be used twice. “Any delay will hurt the sentiment of the people of Nagaland. Threats and intimidations by anti-solution elements cannot subdue the overwhelming demand for honorable solution. Naga people in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam too have openly expressed their desire for an acceptable political settlement,” the NGBF added.
The NGBF also said it “understands the genuine grievances” of the Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO). “The delay by the Government of India in announcing the Naga settlement is co-related to sensitive political and administrative discrepancies in the region over the years. Resolving the Naga political issue and post solution realignments of flawed political and administrative status will fulfill the aspiration of Eastern Nagaland tribes,” it added.
The NGBF also said it “understands” that openly expressing decision to boycott and abstain from democratic exercise in any part of India or in Nagaland either by ENPO of Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC) will seriously dent the image of the largest democratic nation in the world and its political leadership. “However, since the matter is about a political struggle which is more than eight decades, the people have the legitimate political and historical right to express themselves, in the knowledge that negotiations have already concluded,” the Federation also stated.
The NGBF, “in expression of the people’s will,” then urged the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to take a call on the Naga issue. The NGBF said that it, “since the announcement of conclusion of talks with all entities by former Interlocutor Shri R.N Ravi, on October 31, 2019, felt the pulse of the people at the grassroot level”.
The NGBF then said it was convinced that although elections are a necessity in a democratic world, it is not advisable at this hour in Nagaland. “Let elections be postponed in favour of President’s Rule to ensure honorable and acceptable solution… The NGBF is duty bound to express solidarity to our people should they go ahead and refrain from participating in the democratic process, if the Government of India political leadership focuses solely on election and not on Indo-Naga political solution. Even NGBF shall be compelled to take decision whether to participate or boycott the forthcoming election,” it cautioned.