Against the backdrop of imminent creation of a separate administrative set-up for eastern Nagaland, as proposed by the Centre to be called ‘Frontier Naga Territory’, the state cabinet held a meeting chaired by chief minister Neiphiu Rio to deliberate on the matter besides another raging subject -centre’s decision to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)across India.
The proposed ‘Frontier Naga Territory’ is to comprise of all six districts of eastern Nagaland- Tuensang, Mon, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak and Shamator. The state government on July 23,2011 had recommended to the Centre for creation of an autonomous council under the Sixth Schedule of the constitution of India in response to the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) demand for a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland State’.
At Wednesday’s meeting, it was learnt that the cabinet had a detailed discussion regarding the Centre’s proposal for creation of an Autonomous Territorial Council (ATC) to be called ‘Frontier Naga Territory’(FNT). As per the Centre’s proposal, the FNT will have a Legislative (49 Councillors-40 elected and 9 nominated), Executive and Financial autonomy. In addition, FNT will have a separate secretariat and also an Addl.DGP.
It was proposed that there will be an interim period of one (1) year with effect from the signing of the memorandum till the FNT comes into full effect.
It may be recalled that ENPO has been demanding total separation with creation of Frontier Nagaland State and for which it had submitted a memorandum to the state government on November 25,2010 in which it had based the demand on various merits.
Following the demand of ENPO for a separate Frontier Nagaland State, the government constituted a Committee headed by the then chief secretary to study the basis of the demands. The Committee pointed out that while ENPO claimed that areas of eastern Nagaland is 8154 sq.Kms or 50% of the geographical area of Nagaland; the actual area of eastern Nagaland is 5632 sq Kms and 32.97% of the total area of Nagaland.
Also, while ENPO claimed that 50% of the state’s population was in eastern Nagaland, the committee noted that as per 2011 census, eastern Nagaland comprised of 28.88% of the state’s total population.
While ENPO claimed that political representation of eastern Nagaland was reduced to 35 member Tuensang Regional Council System (RCM) to 20 MLAs in the 60-Member NLA after dissolution of RCM; the Committee noted that RCM was “more of a local body under the Deputy Commissioner”. Also, eastern Nagaland sent 6 MLAs (13%) to the then 46 –member assembly and in 1968 the number was increased to 12(23%) out of 52-member NLA. Then on discontinuation of RCM in 1974, the number of MLAs went up to 20(33%) of 60-member NLA till date for a population of 28.88%.
On claims that the state bureaucracy is dominated by advanced tribes, while eastern Nagas were hardly 3%; the committee noted that in 2010 of all government employees, excluding police, representation from the area was 17.4%. In police the representation was 21.38% which excludes, more than 9000 Village Guards concentrated in the districts.
On the claim of unequal distribution of funding, all round development and activities, the committee noted that, historically there had been a lag in development of the area though 28.06% of the development expenditure during 2005-10 was in the region.
On the implementation of UCC, sources said the cabinet, taking into account the overwhelming voices against it in Nagaland, has also decided not to support UCC.
A state delegation led by the chief minister is to meet with Central leaders in Delhi to apprise them on the issue of Frontier Naga Territory as well as UCC, sources said.
Eastern Sumi Hoho ‘peace rally’ today
Eastern Sumi Hoho (ESH) has informed Sumi community of Eastern Nagaland that a “Peace Rally” would be held at Seyochung town on June 29 vis-à-vis demand of the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation.
In a notice, ESH president Kahovi Sumi and general secretary Bothuka Sumi stated that the proposed “peace rally” was being organised to protect the identity and rights of the Eastern Sumi. ESH, therefore, informed all Eastern Sumis to participate in the rally being organised at Seyochung town on June 29 at 9 a.m.
WSH conveys solidarity with ESH: Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) on Wednesday said it share the concern and express full solidarity with the Eastern Sumi Hoho in their decision to observe a ‘peace rally’ on Thursday at Seyochung.
In a press note, WSH also appealed to all churches in Western Sumi area to hold a special prayer to seek God’s wisdom, direction and guidance to solve the present imbroglio in a best possible way. “May God give wisdom and unity to our leaders and people,” it added.