Our Spl Correspondent
NEW DELHI, JUNE 5: The politics of Nagaland has entered a critical phase and it is sheer coincidence that the Manipur crisis has evolved around the same time, NPF leader Azo Kuzholuzo Nienu said on Monday.
He also said Naga society is no longer ready to face the truth. “This is an era our people do not want to see the mirror… l have been raising issues on Nagaland mostly in the Assembly and from time to time when need arises l have not hesitated to raise issues outside even through Twitter”, Azo told Nagaland Page.
In a brief telephonic interview he said, “But the sad reality is that we are going through a very strange and difficult stage; now the truth is not accepted and people hate those who speak the truth.”
To a question why the NPF continues to maintain ‘silence’ on major issues like non-performance of the NDPP-BJP regime, corruption and mishandling of court cases, the 5-term Phek MLA said, “You may not understand it all…but the sorry saga of our times is that people are being targeted for spelling out the truth. Everything is taken personal because there is no more positive mindset anymore.”
“A blatant negativity is around…,” he said, adding, “This was not the situation even in 2003 when I started taking interest in politics.” However, to another question, he said, “One must remember, any leader who takes criticism positively is a sign that his/her leadership is still going strong or it can be assumed as growth of one’s leadership but those public leaders not necessarily only those of us in electoral politics who cannot take criticism positively is a sign that the stint of such leadership is coming to an end.”
However, he did not like to elaborate further on this. To a question whether NPF is inching ahead for change in leadership and whether he (Azo himself) is in the race for the top post, he said, “I am already the leader of the NPF legislative wing. And for other things, I will say, we can cross a bridge when we reach it. At least all sensible people do that.”
Asked whether NPF has been ‘silent’ on the Manipur situation deliberately, Azo sought to clarify, “On a personal note, if I or my party gives any statement in support or against, it will become a communal statement and may add further fuel to the communal flare up.”
“Nagas of Manipur too have behaved sensibly so far. Because that is pragmatism and that is the best…But on the overall situation in Manipur, I will say no matter what, we should note that human lives are precious and this conflict must come to an end through dialogue.”
To another question, he said, “Well, now time has come to speak out more frankly. Meiteis, Kukis and our Naga brothers and sisters have been living together since time immemorial as brothers and neighbours. Time has come to revive that old bond.”
He further said attacking religious places was not acceptable.
“Churches or other places of worship should not be targeted…these are sacred places. Therefore, today, NPF’s appeal to both the communities in Manipur is to end this conflict as early as possible. Allow peace to prevail once again.”
Speaking about Naga peace talks and why it has not progressed in the desired direction, Azo said the biggest factor is the “absence of political will…and that’s the story at all levels.”
“As an elected member and public leader, l fully agree that we should own moral responsibility for all the failures. The talks are stalled today because there is a lack of political will and it is from bottom to the top most including the Central Government.”