Peace sops likely on I-Day

Nagaland legislators meet  Manmohan, others

From CK Nayak

 NEW DELHI: In what could be a historic move, the Centre is likely to announce some surprise peace announcements for Nagaland this Independence Day.

Indications in this regard have come up following a meeting between all the 60 legislators from the hill state and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, wherein the MLAs expressed their desire to resign from the Assembly for the sake of peace in the insurgency-ravaged state.

“The Prime Minister has assured us that he would like to see a permanent solution to the Naga problem during his tenure,” Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio told newspersons after the meeting. Sources said that some major announcements on the half-a-century-old Naga problem will be announced by the Prime Minister during his customary Independence Day speech from the historic Red fort.

All 60 members of the Nagaland Assembly met the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shindhe as well as other Central leaders to apprise them of the aspirations of the Naga people as well as the decisions taken by the Joint Legislators Forum of the Nagaland Assembly (JLF-NLA). The legislators’ team is led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, State Assembly Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie and Congress Legislature Party leader Tokheho Yethomi.

This is for the first time in the history of Nagaland that all legislators cutting across party lines have come together to meet top Central leaders in the interest of the Naga people and press for an acceptable solution to the Naga political issue.

Significantly, both the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly demanded for unification of all Nagas residing in Assam, Aruanachal Pradesh, Manipur besides Myanmar at least “emotionally”. They argued that when a military Government in neighbouring Myanmar has reached a settlement with the Nagas why democratic India cannot achieve the same.

“Time is running out and the situation is becoming more complex,” Yethomi said. “With increasing delay, the number of insurgent outfits will increase and so also their fratricidal war, making the problem worse,” he added.

The legislators, it was learnt, would seek the involvement of other Naga underground groups in the peace dialogue to find an amicable solution to the vexed “Indo-Naga political issue”.

Earlier, the Joint Legislators Forum of the Nagaland Assembly (JLF-NLA) constituted a joint team comprising of members both from ruling and opposition benches in order to meet the negotiating parties of Naga political dialogue – Government of India, underground groups and different political parties – and apprise them of the voice of the House and also to urge them to expedite the ongoing peace process towards an early settlement that is honourable and acceptable to all.

The committee was constituted following a four-point resolution adopted during the closed-door meeting of JLF-NLA chaired by Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie in the Assembly last month. The JLF meeting had also declared the resolve and commitment of all 60 members to pave way from their present positions for any alternative arrangement that may come about from the logical conclusion of the ongoing peace process.

All the MLAs were unanimous in their decision to quit their seats even though the term of the Assembly expires in March next year. They were also ready to participate in any interim government till elections since they wanted solutions before the polls.

 

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