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It is high time both sides should take a decision: Nagaland CM Rio on Naga issue

First Published: 6th February, 2024 20:45 IST

CM Rio in a clear and direct message said that he is ready to give the Chief Minister's post and pave way for an alternative arrangement if a solution comes.

Nagaland Chief Minister today urged the stakeholders of the ongoing Naga peace process for expediting the efforts to find an amicable, honourable and acceptable solution to the vexed Naga political issue.

Attending the first ever Northeast Live Conclave in Guwahati, CM Rio speaking to Editor-in-Chief Wasbir Hussain said that time is ripe to finding a lasting solution since the people have been yearning for it since decades.

In fact, CM Rio who is determined to achieve permanent peace in Nagaland, in a clear and direct message said that he is ready to give the Chief Minister’s post and pave way for an alternative arrangement if a solution comes.

Asked as to whom he would blame for the ‘delay’ in achieving the desired goal, CM Rio said, “No, this Naga issue or Naga movement is a very old, it is there before pre-India independence. Therefore it should be as signed in the Framework Agreement. It should be honourable and acceptable and inclusive. So that means in whatever way it is possible, I think that should be taken because now the ceasefire, present dialogue with the IM is now running into 27 years. So that is a long time and even the Naga National Groups also they had signed the Agreed Position. They are negotiating and they have also signed guidelines or framework where they should work out. So, I feel that it is high time both sides should take a decision otherwise in this way people cannot go forward.”

Rio was asked if he was ready to sacrifice the CM’s post if there is a solution and pave way for an alternative arrangement. In his response CM Rio said, “Yes, indeed we have given in our manifesto that if Naga issue solution comes about which is honourable, acceptable and inclusive then we will pave the way for an alternative arrangement. That was written in our manifesto. We stand by that and that how not only me but all the elected members, they are willing to that. And that is not my decision, that is the government’s decision, the party’s decision. So there is no second thought about that. Definitely we will pave the way means we will resign before the alternative arrangement which will bring permanent peace.”

CM Rio also shared his idea on how difficult or easy will it be to install an alternative government if there is a solution. He said, “The state legislators coming together without any opposition and forming the Opposition less government, that means it can happen only when the Naga political groups and the civil society, if we are unanimous, I said honourable, acceptable and inclusive. So when there is unity anything is possible. Why I should stand on the way? ANd that’s how we are prepared and alternative should come. Let any person who is capable can lead the Nagas. That will be interim and after that elections will be there.”

According to Rio, the people are supreme and holds the key to everything. Backing his statement Rio said, “Yes, because the elected government is supreme. So the Naga groups if they take over also, they do injustice then the people will outrightly reject them.”

The Nagaland CM also expressed his views on a query asking whether the Give and Take policy has not properly been factored in in the ongoing talks.

He said, “Yes, its because give and take, because why you are negotiating and when you look at the Framework Agreement or the Agreed Position their writings are very clear that they understood one another regarding intricacies and about the complications. So while appreciating all those things and coming down to the ground, they are not concluding. I don’t want to blame anybody but people are fed up, they want solution. You are aware, for that settlement support, Nagaland Assembly having 60 members, we are running an Opposition less government, because all the MLAs in the political parties and independents also, they said they will support the government because they want settlement and therefore we must run an Opposition-less government. So the unity of the Naga political groups and the civil society, they want solution. So I think we have to hammer it out sooner or later.”

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