Kohima, December 30: The passing by year 2019 has brought about a new hope towards achieving an honourable and acceptable solution to vexed Naga political talks between the Naga political groups and the Government of India.
It was in the month of August that Centre’s interlocutor for peace talks, R N Ravi, as the newly appointed Governor of Nagaland during a public reception announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi desires to resolve the more than 22-years of talks within three months, i.e. by October 31 this year.
But, the firm stand of NSCN(IM), which had signed a framework agreement with the Centre in August 2015, not to enter into final agreement without resolving the contentious issues of separate flag and constitution for the Nagas took the dialogue to zero point with general public fearing of the pre-ceasefire (1998) era in the State.
On the other hand, Governor Ravi’s assertion that Centre would go ahead in signing the final agreement with the Working Committee of seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and leave NSCN (IM) behind heightened the fear of serious law and order situation.
NSCN(IM) has been holding parleys with GoI since 1998.
Six NNPGs – GPRN/NSCN, FGN, NNC (Parent Body), NPGN/NNC (NA), NSCN (R) and NNC/GDRN (NA) entered into an agreement with GoI in November 2017 while NSCN(K) led by Khango Konyak also joined the Working Committee and the talks in January this year.
Nonetheless, the October 30 and 31 dialogues between the Centre and Naga negotiators in Delhi decided to take further time, without setting the date, to deliberate on the issues before coming to a final conclusion.
The state government and different sections of Naga people welcomed the decision with the hope that the two Naga groups (NSCN-IM and NNPGs) will be on board together for the final solution.
On the other hand, the NSCN(IM) invited all Nagas in different groups to get on board the bus of ‘Framework Agreement’ and be a part of the final solution in the greater interests of the people and peace and progress in the land.
Another problem faced by the state is the continued demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland’ by the six tribes of Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation for the alleged negligence of the state government in all aspects of development and welfare of the area.
The month of January witnessed the launch of first internationally funded project for the state of Nagaland in the field of agriculture “fostering climate resilient upland agriculture system (FOCUS)” project initiated by International Fund for Agriculture Development worth Rs. 613 crore covering eight districts – Mon, Longleng, Mokokchung, Wokha, Zunheboto, Kohima, Phek and Kiphire to reach 1.37 lakh households.
During the budget session in February, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio announced four new schemes for the youths which include Chief Minister’s Good Governance Fellows, the Chief Minister’s Meritorious Students Fellowship, the Chief Minister’s Awards for Civil Service Aspirants and Chief Minister’s Young Leadership Programme.
Interestingly, after almost a year in power, the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) took a sigh of relieve as the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition against de-recognition of the Party. The petition was filed by Zeneisille Ate Louchü, a voter from Zhadima Village under Kohima district seeking deregistration and cancellation of the registration granted by the Election Commission under Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 to NDPP led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on the ground that the registration has been obtained by playing a fraud on the Commission.
Following rigorous pressure from civil societies, former Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court Uma Nath Singh was appointed as the first Lokayukta of Nagaland.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) suffered a major jolt as seven of its legislators declared their support to the ruling PDA Government and its consensus candidate, Tokheho Yepthomi.
The 7 NPF MLAs are Kejong Chang of 54 Tuensang Sadar-II Assembly Constituency (A/C), EE Pangteang of 48 Moka A/C, Eshak Konyak of 47 Aboi A/C, CL John of 45 Tehok A/C, BS Nganlang of 49 Tamlu A/C, N. Thongwang Konyak of 46 Mon Town A/C and Toyang Chang of 53 Tuensang Sadar I A/C. They are still under suspension from the Party while their disqualification petition lies in the court of the Assembly Speaker Vikho-o Yhoshü.
On the other hand, ruling NDPP was boosted with two National People’s Party (NPP) MLAs – L Khumo and Imnatiba and lone JD(U) legislator G Kaito Aye merging with it to increase the number from 18 to 21 in the Assembly while the State Congress also had 18 of its senior leaders rejoining the Party.
In April, the State held the Lok Sabha election for the only seat which was won by NDPP nominee Tokheho Yepthomi narrowly beating closest rival K L Chishi of Congress by 16344 votes.
The Konyak Union created the Guinness World Records® for the title Largest Traditional Konyak Dance with a total of 4,687 Konyak Naga women coming together attired in their colourful traditional dress dancing and singing during the annual Aoleang Monyu cum Mini-Hornbill Festival at Mon district on April 5.
In a major decision of the Angami tribe, the prime occupants of state capital, during a discourse organized by Angami Youth Organisation while expressing concern over the increasing number of Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants, pledged not to shelter them in any form nor utilize their services.
The monsoon season wrecked havoc throughout the State damaging around 248 houses and three schools while three persons sustained minor injuries in the cyclonic storm in May. Dimapur district and low lying areas also faced flood situations claiming two lives and injuring several others while Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority along with State Disaster Rescue Force, police and security forces evacuating over 1000 persons in various colonies of Dimapur while around 40 paddy fields were destroyed in Thekrejuma and Dziileke villages under Western Angami region of Kohima district by flashflood.
Governor P B Acharya was given a state farewell following the completion of his tenure in July.
In line with Assam’s NRC, Nagaland Government started the ambitious process for preparation of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) to prepare the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland. However, following pressure from the tribal bodies, a three member committee headed by retired Chief Secretary Banuo Z Jamir was given the task of framing the modalities of creating RIIN by October, but the process is still on.
The Government has also started the process of compiling the customary practices and usages of all the tribes of Nagaland for documentation, which is being done by a four member committee.
The same month also witnessed Chief Minister Rio making minor reshuffle in his 18 months old ministry.
Nagaland Assembly during its monsoon session in August expressed serious concern over the allegations of Assam government that Nagaland has encroached 594.90 sq km of land along the inter-state border area.
Under the initiative of Union Ministry of Home Affairs altogether 15 schools from across the State were selected for the implementation of Student Police Cadet programme.
Marking the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Mahatma Gandhi, Nagaland was declared Open Defecation Free state.
In a dramatic November, at least four persons, including a newly married couple and two underground cadres were arrested for display of firearms in public during their wedding reception. However, the couple was released after signing a bail bond. The couple’s photo was widely circulated in the social media.
In the field of sports, Youth and Sports Resources Department gifted the sportsperson with the first astro turf football pitch at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima. It was installed with a total cost of Rs 4.98 crore. A major achievement through the initiative of Advisor for Youth Resources and Sports, MLA Zale Neikha has been the participation of Nagaland’s U-15 Girls team at Ghotia Gothia Cup 2019 at Gottenburg Sweden.
Police rescued at least 17 females, who were sexually exploited, from various hotels in Dimapur district.
The Department of Underdeveloped Areas (DUDA) in partnership with Zynorique and Synergy Group Enterprise has been conducting various capacity building trainings for the youths Eastern Nagaland.
The Public Accounts Committee under Naga Council Dimapur has been fights against the issues of multiple taxation on commercial establishments and also check gates by various Naga underground groups and state government departments.
The celebration of Hornbill Festival, also known as the festival of festivals, an annual tourism promotional event of the state government from December 1 to 10 witnessed a record breaking footfall of 2,69,811 visitors, including 3015 foreigners, 55,584 domestic tourists and 2,11,212 locals at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama under Kohima district.
Amidst the celebrations, the Government on December 9 while accepting the continued demands of various tribal bodies and civil society organizations announced the extension of Inner Line Permit regime in Dimapur district, the commercial hub of Nagaland, which was kept open since statehood in 1963.
Moreover, though the Parliament enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act amidst the Hornbill festival celebrations, apex students body in the State, Naga Students Federation and Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee staged rigorous agitation and also burnt the effigies of Amit Shah outside Raj Bhavan and Congress Bhavan respectively.
Nonetheless, the long shadow of CAA failed to dampen the spirit of Yuletide in this Christian dominated state as believers celebrated occasion attended the special prayer services and Christmas feast.
Notably, despite the State Government passing a resolution in the Assembly in the month February to oppose Citizenship Amendment Bill, the two Members of Parliament – Tokheho Sema of ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party in Lok Sabha and K G Kenye of opposition Naga People’s Front in Rajya Sabha voted in favour of the Bill on December 6 and 11 respectively.
Nonetheless, apex tribal body Naga Hoho, Nagaland chapter of North East Forum for Indigenous People and apex students’ body in the State, Naga Students Federation asserted that they would continue to fight against imposition of the Act even in the New Year 2020. (Page News Service)