NPF firm on Naga integration; demands explanation from Rio

NPF firm on Naga integration;  demands explanation from Rio
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Says BJP remote controlling Rio

Kohima, June 14: Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) today reiterated the party stand on ‘integration of all Naga contiguous areas’ and rejected Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s statement declaring ‘integration is not possible’. The party demanded an explanation from Rio on how integration is not possible.
Chief Minister Rio in an interview to a TV channel on Monday had admitted that bringing all Naga inhabited areas under a single administrative platform would not be possible.
Addressing a press conference at NPF central headquarters Thursday evening, MLA Imkong L Imchen and NPF spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon said “NPF is flabbergasted and outrightly rejects the controversial and contradictory statement of Chief Minister Rio”.
They alleged that Rio opposing Naga integration is nothing but “his master’s (BJP’s) voice” to cling on to power.
The two NPF leaders alleged that Rio is being remote controlled by the saffron party, adding that the Chief Minister has become a puppet of the BJP which is practically running the Government in the State.
They wondered how Rio had taken a u-turn on Naga integration after joining the bandwagon of BJP, when he was all out for integration of contiguous Naga areas under one administrative unit when with the NPF. “Rio’s statement negates the desire and aspiration of Naga people to live as one,” said Kikon. He said Nagas were arbitrarily divided into different administrative set-ups without their consent and that it is their birthright to live as one family.
Imchen also said that “Rio’s statement has shocked the Naga people in entirety, specially, because of him being the incumbent Chief Minister”.
Imchen recalled that Rio resigned from the Congress Ministry in 2002 opposing the publication of the booklet, “Bedrock of Naga Society” published by the State Congress, which was appreciated by the people and consequently he was voted to power in 2003 as the CM. He said Rio was very much part and parcel of the NPF for the last 15 years and its NPF government and till the other day, Rio as the then NPF leader believed that the integration of the Nagas was the birth right of the Naga people and there is no room for compromise to this principle stand.
“Rio who was barking the Naga integration as the birth right of the Nagas has changed his political principal overnight just for the sake of his chair at the expense of the Nagas,” Imchen alleged.
At this point of time, when Naga political issue is going on a very important and critical stage, why the incumbent CM of Nagaland should declare that ‘integration is not possible, he said adding “Rio does not support and is against Naga integration”.
Imchen also recalled that the NDPP-BJP alliance fought the February state Assembly election on the promise of “Election for Solution” while rest of the Nagas were saying ‘solution before election’ and they won the polls at the expense of Naga talks. Nonetheless, Imchen queried as to “Where is the Naga solution today, instead Rio is declaring that Naga integration is not possible”.
“Naga talks has been made a historical victim,” Imchen quipped.
Replying to a query on whether NPF would accept ‘solution without integration’, Imchen said “NPF is a not a party to the negotiation and it is upto the negotiators to decide on a honourable and acceptable solution to the Naga people in general”.
On Citizenship Amendment Bill, Imchen said that NPF is of the view that Inner Line Regulation should be implemented throughout the State, including Dimapur as it is a requirement today.
Nonetheless, he lamented that Rio wants to open up for the whole of the population of mainland and also from the countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan”. He expressed fear that if the Bill is accepted, Nagaland would turn into another Tripura where the local tribals have become minority.
He said that NPF after thorough consideration decided that it will be befitting to bring the two issues to the public domain so that the collective wisdom of the Naga people comes together and react accordingly.
“The NPF since its inception has been advocating the desire of the Naga people to live under one administrative umbrella and during the last 15 years of NPF government, the Assembly had passed resolution on 5 occasions in support of integration of the Naga inhabited Naga areas,” said party spokesperson Kikon.
However, Rio the incumbent Chief Minister recent statement declaring that Naga integration is not possible has come as a big blow to the Naga people and particularly when the Naga political talk is passing through a very critical stage, he said.
So, now it is a known fact, the Chief Minister has openly shattered the aspiration of the long-cherished demand of the Naga people to live as one, he said.
“When all the Naga national workers are trying to hammer out a solution instead of taking the issue forward and putting positive impetus such statement from the Chief Minister is a hurdle for the peace process and towards political solution”, Kikon said.
Kikon also expressed shock that the Chief Minister has openly declared that he supports the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. Kikon lamented that Rio in his statement has stated that Nagas are having enough protection and safeguard under Article 371 (A). Therefore, his PDA Government will not oppose the Bill. Perhaps, he is one the Chief Minister who has come out openly in support of the Bill”.
The NPF understands Rio’s obedient and loyalty towards the BJP through which his Chief Ministership can be protected by selling out the future of the Naga people at the expense of his selfish benefit, he said.
Stating that “the existence of PDA government is a threat to the Naga people… the longer it stays, the bigger the threat will be”, he said and solicited “the patriotic opinion and support of the Naga people, specially on these two pertinent issues so as to safeguard the Naga future”.
(Page News Service)