DIMAPUR, Nov 11 – Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has stated that Nagas are now quite safe under the Indian Union as they are governed by a strong Naga regional party which carries the aspirations of the people and works to protect the history and culture of the Nagas.
Addressing the first general meeting of the NPF life membership cell at the party headquarters in Kohima, Rio said Nagas had fought for independence as they wanted to be separated, but maintained that this could not be supported due to division among the people, both overground and underground.
Nevertheless, he maintained that because of the unique history of the Naga people, recognition by the White and Black people and also special constitutional provisions and Article 371(A), “If we have a strong regional party from the State to rule the people, it is as good as being independent and sovereign”.
He pointed out that a regional party governs itself and takes own decisions without being imposed upon by a high command like national political parties. Even in future, if any other regional party besides NPF should form the government, it is good, he said.
Rio further maintained that the NPF-led DAN coalition government has been able to survive because Naga people have realised that the regional party carries their aspirations and works for the Nagas. He, therefore, opined that with a strong regional party ruling the people in the State, Nagas are now quite safe in the Indian Union and continue to pursue the aspiration to be free Nagas.
Rio also reiterated that NPF-led DAN Government is committed to its role of facilitator to the Naga peace process and hopeful that an honourable and acceptable solution will come soon for the Nagas. “We cannot hand over this problem to the next generation,” he insisted.
NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu said in his address that successive governments in Nagaland had been plagued with the problem of defection and counter- defection for many years. But, despite all odds, NPF has proved that it has come to stay under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, he stated.
Meanwhile, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) today said it ‘decries’ the statement of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio whereby he said that Nagas were safer under a regional ruling party in the State.
The NPCC media cell, in a release, questioned whether the CM meant that only NPF people are Nagas or whether he was implying that regional parties are not under the Constitution of India.
Further, the opposition party maintained that the CM, by equating sovereignty and independence with that of regional ruled State, had not only crushed the aspirations of the national workers but also belittled the ongoing political talks, while adding that his statement may also be interpreted as a call to the undergrounds to abandon their struggle and join the NPF party.
The statement also contended that the statement “Nagas were quite safe under the Indian Union” was an open admission that Statehood is the end of the road for the Nagas, a stand which it said Rio had stoutly opposed earlier and on which he rode to power. “He can’t fool the Nagas and the Government of India with such hypocrisy,” the Congress release said.