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77th I-Day in Nagaland: Naga issue, UCC, ULB polls, ENPO’s demand, Manipur situation dominates CM Rio’s I-Day speech

First Published: 15th August, 2023 14:06 IST

On Independence Day, led by CM Rio, Nagaland took a pledge to make the state Drugs Free

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today reached out to all the stakeholders including the Centre for an ‘Inclusive, Honourable and Acceptable Solution’ to the Naga issue.

In his address to the state on the occasion of the 77th Independence Day, CM Rio appealed, “I once again call upon all the Naga political groups and all other stakeholders, and the Government of India, to exhibit an even greater sense of urgency for bringing consensus on any unresolved issue, and for the sake of our people, bring about an inclusive, honourable and acceptable Solution without any further delay.”

Rio in his speech maintained that the Nagaland Government is making every effort to find a permanent solution to the vexed issue. The Nagaland Chief Minister reiterated about his government’s commitment for bringing a solution to the decades old Naga Political Issue.

“We remain deeply committed to the early solution of the Naga Political issue, which has always been at the top of my Government’s agenda. I reassure you of my Government making every possible effort to this cause. The Political Affairs Committee constituted with the entire Cabinet and elected members from those tribes who are not in the Cabinet will continue to hold serious consultations with all the stakeholders for early Solution,” Chief Minister Rio said.

Besides, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is very optimistic that there will be a ‘Solution’ soon, as he cited about the NSCN-IM and NNPGs pledging to work together for the cause of the vexed issue.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio stated, “Our hopes have further soared with the signing of the joint accordant in September last year between the NSCN (IM) and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGS) through the efforts of FNR, for the resolution of the Naga historical and political rights with the Government of India. In January of this year both the entities have reiterated their unconditional commitment to collaborate for the resolution of the Naga Political Issue with the Government of India.”

The CM touched upon ENPO’s demand for creation of frontier Nagaland. The CM said, “Friends, we have been making every effort to reach out to every section and region to understand their aspirations. We appreciate however, that despite our best efforts, the developmental deficit that had existed right from the beginning, still persists in some areas, particularly in the eastern districts of Nagaland. The ENPO resultantly, has been raising the grievances of the people from the areas of the eastern districts and have made certain demands. I am happy those are being looked into by the Government of India to suitably address them. We have been supporting the desire of the eastern districts to bridge the development deficit to bring them at par with the rest of the State, particularly in matters of infrastructure development, health and education facilities, livelihood opportunities and due representation in Government service.”

The CM also mentioned the Urban Local Body (ULB) elections that had snowballed into a political issue that was even discussed in the Supreme Court. “Pursuant to the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court was strongly opposed by the Tribal bodies and several CSOs on the ground of possible infringement of Article 371 (A). The Nagaland Legislative Assembly, heeding to the wishes of the people unanimously decided not to go ahead with the ULB elections and repealed the ACT while resolving to bring a new legislation expeditiously. We are now in the process of taking steps for making a new ACT in consultation with all stakeholders. I solicit the cooperation and guidance of every stakeholder in this regard.”

On the contentious issue of Uniform Civil Code (UCC), the CM said, “the matter has raised deep anxiety among various sections of the society. Keeping in view the sentiments of the people, the State Cabinet has urged the Law Commission to exempt Nagaland from the purview of UCC in view of its serious implications on the privileges guaranteed under Article 371A. The Council of Ministers also met the Hon’ble Union Home Minister in this regard, and I am happy to share with you all, his assurance that UCC would not be applicable to the Scheduled Tribes of Nagaland and of the North East.”

On the Manipur situation, CM Rio said, “Today as I speak, I also can’t help but talk about the very disturbing situation that prevails in our neighbouring State of Manipur. The ethnic conflict in Manipur affected us as we had to immediately relocate our students and citizens from there in the interest of their safety and well being in the first week of May 2023. Officials and staff from administration, the NST, and the Nagaland Police, with assistance from the Assam Rifles, did a commendable job in safely bringing back more than 1300 people of our State from Manipur. Everyone involved in this entire exercise deserves our fullest appreciation. We continue to however, remain deeply concerned of the human atrocities committed and of large scale vandalization and arson of places of worship, particularly churches, in Manipur. We pray for good sense, peace and harmony to return, and fervently appeal to all the communities and groups in Manipur to give peace a chance and take urgent steps to resolve their differences amicably”.

Also Read : Relentless rain triggers landslides; houses damaged, traffic disrupted in Nagaland

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