Nagaland: Rio calls for early settlement of Naga political issue

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Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphu Rio on Wednesday called for an early settlement of the Naga political issue, assuring people that his government is committed to play the role of an “active facilitator” between the centre and the negotiating parties.

The solution to the political imbroglio should be honourable, inclusive and acceptable to the Nagas, he said after unfurling the Tricolour at the Secretariat Plaza in Kohima.

The chief minister said the Naga political issue tops the agenda of the ruling PDA coalition in the state.

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“We are committed to play the role of an active facilitator in the ongoing negotiations between the central government and the Naga political groups. The solution to the political imbroglio should be honourable, inclusive and acceptable to the Nagas,” he said.

Rio also maintained that the Nagaland government has undertaken several measures over the years to end the imbroglio, including the setting up of a political affairs committee for conducting consultative meets with the tribal Hohos and civil society organisations.

“During a meeting with the tribal Hohos on May 11 at Kohima, we decided to urge all Naga political groups, including NSCN-K, to renew the ceasefire with the Centre and join the peace talks,” he said.

The chief minister urged the negotiating parties, including the Centre, to expedite the process and respond to the requests of the people by reaching at a solution at the earliest.

“Political negotiations have been going on for the past 21 years. We have had many challenges, but there is no problem that is insurmountable before the collective will of the people,” he asserted.

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Stating that his government supports the demand for integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas, Rio also appealed to the neighbouring states “to appreciate the history and democratic rights of the Nagas under a spirit of mutual respect and brotherhood”.

“On our part, we reiterate our commitment to pave the way for an alternative arrangement that may arise from the political agreement,” he said, urging all sections of Naga society to come together under a spirit of unity and oneness.

Grieving the death of 10 people in the recent rain-related incidents, Rio admitted that Nagaland has been ravaged by unprecedented showers and landslides and a “lot needs to be done” to boost the infrastructure of the state.

“We need to build roads and maintain them, create employment opportunities for our youth to enable them to live their dreams and reach their potential,” he said.

The chief minister also thanked the central government for providing aid to the state during emergency.

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“We express our sincere gratitude to the Government of India for heeding to the distress call of the people of Nagaland and deputing two Indian Air Force helicopters to transport essential commodities to areas that have been cut-off by the calamity,” he added.

Altogether, 24 contingents of armed forces, civil police, National Cadet Corps and school students took part in the Independence Day parade in Kohima on Wednesday morning.

Nagaland Assembly Speaker Vikho-o Yhosh, legislators and senior bureaucrats, Chief Secretary Temjen Toy and DGP T J Longkumer were among others who attended the celebrations at Secretariat Plaza.

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