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Nagaland: Thousands hit the streets seeking early solution to Naga peace talks

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Dimapur, Aug 5: Thousands of Nagas under the banner of the Nagaland People’s Action Committee (NPAC) hit the streets of Nagaland on Friday demanding a speedy settlement of the decades old “Naga political issue”.

After the mammoth rally, participated by thousands of men and women holding banners in Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur, the NPAC sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly demanding early solution to the “Naga political issue without further delay”.

The memorandum, sent though the Nagaland Governor Jagdish Mukhi, said that the Naga people are in the 25th year of the political negotiations between the Government of India and the Naga negotiators which began in 1997 and the unending political process has adversely affected the lives of each individual and family in the state.

“It has taken a huge toll on the entire system of governance. The unresolved political issue has heralded in an unimaginable cycle of corruption at all levels, crippling public health care, education and overall infrastructure developments which are in shambles for obvious reasons to say the least.”

“Unresolved Naga issue has produced countless scoundrels and thieves and in the name of political issues, threats and intimidations have stifled the growth of a perceived Naga society, which you (PM) assured would be a vibrant one,” the memorandum read.

The NPAC told the Prime Minister that as the economic wellbeing of everyday Naga families has completely collapsed in the absence of an equitable welfare formula and governance saves on paper, the consequences are frightening to say the least.

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“The ultimate victim being the brilliantly educated unemployed, school dropouts and all whose futures are now ruined. Entrepreneurship and asset creation are critical components in a society like ours. Government projects are siphoned off brazenly through percentage cuts and shares. Private businesses are grossly extorted by armed groups,” said that memorandum, signed by the NPAC’s six senior leaders.

Various Naga organisations and Civil Society Bodies either participated or supported the much publicised public rally.

It said that without a political settlement, the NPAC foresees thousands of futureless fresh, youthful, highly qualified angry men and women taking up guns to challenge those stifling their growth and progress.

“Your (PM) promise to the Nagas has not been fulfilled as yet. Prime Minister Sir, is it not a betrayal to our people, considering that negotiations with Naga groups have officially concluded ?” said the memorandum.

The Naga organisation said that the ceasefire and the political negotiations under its peaceful atmosphere are all but a means to an end.

“We expect GOI to appreciate the patience of the citizens of Nagaland all these 25 years because the people yearn for genuine peace in the region which can be brought in by political solution alone,” it said.

The NPAC further said that in 2018, when the Civil Societies and all political parties including the BJP unequivocally demanded for solution before election, the BJP breached the trust of the people and had filed their nominations with a slogan “Election for Solution”, against the will and wishes of the people which is still fresh in their memory.

The next general election to the Nagaland Assembly, expected to be held in February next year, is considered crucial in view of the ongoing Naga peace talks between the Central government and the Naga groups, specially the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).

All the political parties and the state government are keen to resolve the much expected Naga issue before the assembly polls.

The NSCN-IM’s repeated insistence on a separate Naga flag and Constitution have become a big hurdle in the way of resolving the Naga issue.

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