Naga political issue is PDA’s top agenda: Rio

Naga political issue is PDA’s top agenda: Rio
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Kohima, September 20: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today said that People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) has placed the Naga political issue at the top of its agenda.
In his address while moving the Assembly resolution on Naga Political Issue (NPI), Rio reiterate the PDA Government’s declared policy to play the role of active facilitator to the ongoing Indo-Naga peace process.
“We will continue to extend our support and cooperation for an early resolution to the decades old imbroglio,” he said while also reiterating that his Government has never deviated but have always remained consistent in “our stand on the Naga peace process and the issue of integration”.
“Our stand on integration of all contiguous Naga inhabited areas is clear – the rights of the Naga people to live together as members of the same family under one administrative umbrella will never be given up. We stand committed to the genuine aspirations of the Nagas,” Rio said while justifying that he was misquoted on the issue of integration by the national media in July.
“The aspirations of the Nagas to live together as one family transcends all boundaries and no force on earth can deny the Nagas this long-felt desire. Nagas are only demanding what is rightfully ours,” he said.
Expressing that the cry for integration of the Naga people is a legitimate demand and it should not be dependent on others merely because of artificial and man-made boundaries that were forced upon the Nagas, the CM said “the views of others should not be the main factor on the issue of integration”.
“We respect our neighbors and likewise we expect others to respect our democratic rights and no one should infringe on each other’s rights,” he said.
“While Nagas must mutually coexist with other people, especially our neighbours who will remain our neighbors for all times to come, the PDA Government will never compromise the rights and honour of the Nagas and the Government is ready to make any sacrifice for the greater interest of the people it was elected to represent,” the CM said.
Reiterating his Government’s commitment to be proactive and do everything possible to strengthen the ongoing peace process, Rio said “we had also committed that we will not come in the way of any agreement that comes about from the peace process and will pave the way for alternative arrangement that may be required for implementation of the political agreement”.
“All our aspirations will remain dreams and desires unless we shed our differences and tear down the walls that confine us within our individualities,” he said.
Rio said that it has been the unique attribute of all political parties in the various Houses of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly who have always been united on the Naga political issue and we must strive to bring our people together under a spirit of oneness and unity.
Maintaining that the legislators are privileged to be Members of the august House to work together for the people, Rio solicited the continued and unreserved cooperation from all the members including the Opposition led by the Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang and the two
Members of Parliament so that irrespective of political party affiliation, “we can work together to carry forward the collective voice of the Nagas and realize our common aspirations for the sake of posterity”.
Rio while recalling that the Naga political struggle is one that has been marred with violence and bloodshed, said many precious lives have been lost in the Indo-Naga conflict.
“Since time immemorial, Nagas lived as independent republics in their own villages and the indomitable spirit of the Nagas to be free from any outside occupation gave rise to the fight for sovereignty and instilled a mass aspiration to live together as one family,” he said.
The Naga Club, which was formed in 1918, submitted a Memorandum to the Simon Commission on 10th January, 1929 asserting the rights of the Nagas and the desire for self-determination, he said.
Maintaining that this year is the centenary year of the Naga Club and we congratulate the founders for placing on record the aspirations of the Nagas in black and white for the first time and speaking for our rights, he said it is because of their farsighted vision that this
year will be celebrated in their honour.
Similarly, the 9-Point Naga – Akbar Hydari Agreement of 1947 recognized the right of the Nagas to develop themselves according to their freely expressed wishes, he said.
Nonetheless, Rio lamented that the demand for integration of contiguous Naga inhabited areas has been a point of contention to which the Government of India could not give any commitment even when the 16 Point Agreement was signed in 1960.
Nevertheless, he said, in response to the undying desire of the Nagas to be integrated, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly till date has passed 5 (Five) resolutions on the integration of all contiguous Naga inhabited areas.
After decades of armed struggle, various Naga political groups have entered into ceasefire agreements with the Government of India and have been engaged in numerous rounds of formal peace talks and informal consultations as well, he said.
In this, the CM expressed that as the elected representatives of the people, the 60-members would work tirelessly to achieve the mass aspirations of the Nagas to live as one people in cohesion and harmony with each other so that true and lasting peace will reign and facilitate accelerated, all-round development.
Further, the CM also appealed to each and every Naga, irrespective of political affiliation, tribe or any other association, to join hands with one another and with the JLF so that together, they can forge ahead into the future with their heads held high without any compromise on the unique history, culture, traditions, political and democratic rights of the Nagas. (Page News Service)