Rio plea for right choice
Kohima, April 17: The 15-year talks between the Centre and the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) appears to be heading for a deadlock with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveying his government’s inability to accept the outfit’s core demands.
The Centre has ruled out sovereignty and integration of contiguous Naga areas to hammer out a solution to the more than 60-year-old Indo-Naga political problem. It has reportedly offered greater autonomy to Nagas living in states outside Nagaland, an arrangement that has been opposed by non-Naga organizations in Manipur.
Singh also ruled out the NSCN’s demand for far more powers in the federal relationship between ‘Nagalim’ and New Delhi than is enjoyed by Indian states, even as NSCN chairman Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah camped in New Delhi for the next round of talks with central leaders.
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who is believed to support Naga nationalism, today said going by Singh’s recent statements, New Delhi was not in a position to accept the demands of the NSCN.
Describing Singh as a thorough gentleman, Rio, who met the Prime Minister recently, indicated that the Centre was not in a position to accept the core demands of the NSCN.
“Whatever is possible will be possible even after 100 years but whatever is not possible will not be possible even after 100 years,” he quoted Singh as saying.
Inaugurating the Naga Solidarity Park near the secretariat here today, Rio said Singh had asked him to tell the Naga organisations to be “reasonable”. He said Singh did not mean that Nagas were not reasonable in their approach to hammer out a solution to the Naga political problem but had simply conveyed a message to the Nagas for being reasonable.
Asking the Nagas to “think out of the box”, Rio warned that breakdown of ceasefire between the Centre and the NSCN could cost them dearly as in the past when thousands of Nagas were killed, raped and inhumanly tortured during imposition of the Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Nagaland. He said the Nagas wanted peace and development and did not want to go back to those years.
Treading cautiously, Rio said at this juncture the Nagas were being offered a good opportunity to come together and resolve the Naga political problem. Rio said with the ongoing ceasefire and talks, Nagas should grab the opportunity and claim what was due to them. “Let us put our heads together and solve the problem,” he urged the Nagas at the mammoth gathering that was led by Naga Hoho, the apex body of the Nagas.
Rio said New Delhi and the world community had recognised the uniqueness of Naga history but regretted that the Nagas had not yet taken the right decision despite the opportunity offered to them.
“Take the right decision at the right time so that we do not miss the opportunity,” he said.
He urged the Nagas to rethink and collectively decide what would be best for them.
He said bestowing of award on Baptist clergyman Rev. Wati Aier by the World Baptist Alliance was recognition of the Nagas and their political struggle.
Former president of Naga Students’ Federation, Vikheho Swu, said the efforts of Naga organisations would not go in vain.
It would strengthen the bond and unity among the Nagas.
Atoho Kiho, convener of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, said they would continue their efforts so that Nagas find their rightful place in the world community.
Rio also unveiled a monolith at the solidarity park. He was accompanied by cabinet ministers, parliamentary secretaries, legislators and a host of leaders from Naga organisations.