‘Naga Solution may not come if Nagas don’t unite’
Kohima, January 23: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday asserted that Nagas are fully protected from the amended citizenship law.
The Chief Minister broke his silence for the first time after the passage of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 in the Parliament making it a law on December 11 last year while addressing a gathering of students and villagers during the Pfutseromi Students’ Union platinum jubilee celebration coinciding with the 71st Chakhesang Students’ Union Conference at Pfutsero under Phek district.
He recalled that before the laying of the Bill in Parliament, Naga leaders including civil societies, NGOs, student leaders and political parties were called to Delhi for discussion with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Rio said during the meeting, Naga leaders, including him, had made it clear that Nagaland should be exempted from CAB 2019. He said Shah assured the Naga leaders saying “as you demanded you will be exempted along with the 6th schedule tribal states and when the Bill is introduced in the Parliament it will be inserted in the master copy.”
The CM said when the Bill was introduced the Government of India kept its promise and therefore “it was welcomed by everybody”.
He said the country is now debating on that… for others it may not be good but for the Nagas, though it was given to us because we were the only one to have asked for enforcement of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873 and Inner Line Permit after India got Independence, but this time it included Arunachal, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland as ILP States.
“Earlier it (ILP) was given to us in agreement but it was never incorporated in the Constitution, now this time it has included others also and inserted in the Indian Constitution and that’s why I feel that we (Nagas) are completely protected,” Rio said.
“We sympathize with those people who have the fear of CAB but for us, we feel that we are protected now,” the CM said.
He said that the Home Minister while affirming that Nagas should not be worried about CAB, also cautioned in using ILP carefully otherwise the danger is your own people misusing it and protecting the illegal immigrants.
On the State Government’s proposed creation of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), Rio said Nagas are indigenous people and therefore we have to register in order to differentiate between the indigenous and non indigenous.
Indian citizens can come and stay in Nagaland but with proper documents and no non-indigenous should take away the privileges of the Nagas, he said.
Today Nagas are safer, and if we do RIIN correctly, we will be in a much better position, he claimed.
On Naga political issue, the CM while recalling his recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussing on the issue quoted the PM as saying that Nagas have suffered for too long and the Government of India is serious to resolve the issue.
Modi said that the formal negotiations are over since October 31, 2019, now the competencies has to be inked and agreement rolled so that permanent peace will come to Nagaland with development where youth of today can pursue their dreams, he said.
To achieve these, Rio said Naga leaders should come together to take settlement, because GoI has decided that Nagas should take settlement as every negotiation points have been discussed and now “the ball is in our court.”
Therefore, the CM again appealed that “our Naga underground brothers and factions should come together while all the civil societies, mass based tribal and public leaders should help to unite the Nagas otherwise we will miss the golden opportunity again and continue to suffer.”
The Prime Minister had clearly said that Nagas have to unite and come together if we want settlement, Rio said while expressing fear that settlement may not come if Nagas don’t unite. He called upon all educated Nagas and leaders and the youngsters to work together for a better future.
He remarked that many people talk about politics but there is hardly anyone to act and to do the corrective measures. “For the last 7-8 decades Nagas have been suffering for the Naga political issue, because it is our birth right, but we have to be reasonable and responsible in a manner that what is possible and what is not and what is achievable and what is not”, Rio said.
Meanwhile, exhorting the students’ community, the CM said “we live in a very competitive world and life is not easy and therefore we have to be very serious in life”.
Rio said he has very high respect for the Chakhesang community for being the most progressive tribe in the State while Phek district has improved a lot in the literacy rate.
Accompanied by Advisors Pukhayi, Mhathung Yanthan and Toshi Wuntung, the CM also unveiled the jubilee monolith and souvenir. (Page News Service)