Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Demand for solution: 6-hr Statewide bandh on Jan 14

Staff Reporter

Nagaland People’s Action Committee (NPAC) formed last year by apex tribe bodies and CSOs held a three-hour long deliberation at Hotel Saramati Thursday over demand for solution and finally resolved to call for a 6-hour bandh on January 14 from 6 a.m. to 12 noon.
The bandh is to express resentment against “inordinate delay in delivering the long-awaited Naga political solution as promised by the Government of India”.
The meeting, attended by representatives of 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, Nagaland Tribe Council, Nagaland GB Federation, Central Nagaland Tribes Council, ACAUT Nagaland, Ex-Parliamentarians’ Association of Nagaland, Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Senior Citizens’ Association Nagaland, political parties and other organisations, insisted on a solution before election.
However, the NPAC call for bandh has been opposed by the Angami Public Organisation (APO) which justified it on the ground that NPAC was not authorised to issue any directive on apex tribe bodies.
The stand of the APO in opposing the bandh call serves to reflect the problem of ‘accommodation’ and ‘unity’ among the tribes especially after tribe alliances have turned themselves into entities.
One member of those who took part in the deliberations said that notwithstanding the reasons for objection, to many it will be a clear case of wanting solution or not wanting solution as the bandh was just a symbolic action for registering resentment.
Talking to media person after the meeting, NPAC convener Theja Therieh said the bandh was called to convey “democratic resentment” to Election Commission of India (ECI) team headed by chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar that would arrive in the State to review poll preparedness for the forthcoming Assembly election.
He clarified that the decision was not taken by NPAC alone, but by all members representing the tribal hohos and CSOs. He explained that NPAC was a committee that has been endorsed and empowered by all Naga tribes and organisations to pursue early solution, and thus maintained that it would stand for solution and not back down.
Therieh said every apex tribal hoho and CSO had categorically made their stand clear that everyone was for a solution and not election. He said the common refrain from people was “It is now or never, enough is enough.”
Therieh said the demand for solution before election was a consensus decision among primary stake holders and urged the Central government to heed to the voice of people and take the peace process to its logical conclusion and deliver solution.
He emphasised that the deciding moment had come for Nagas to take a call and urge the Centre to deliver what had been promised. He pointed out that the Nagas had made enough representations to the Centre, but lamented that there had been no positive response yet.
Therieh stressed “Nothing can happen without the knowledge of the people. People will decide whatever is our future, because this is about our future generations.”
He questioned whether 26 years of negotiations were not enough? “If there is no political will, another 50 years of negotiation will not be enough,” he cautioned. He claimed that the people’s opinion today was that if negotiations could not yield any result, then it should be called off, declaring that under the shadow of negotiations and peace process, Nagas could not tolerate and continue to suffer.
Clarifying that NPAC was not against election, Therieh said its sole objective was Naga solution. He maintained that Nagas must rise up for change and called for acting on the resolution and asserted that no one had the authority to take Nagas for a ride against their will.
He appealed to all Nagas to extend cooperation and observe the bandh on January 14. Terming it as a litmus test for Nagas, he said the success of the bandh would show whether Nagas were for solution or for election.
On the present situation of Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO), the NPAC convener commented that it was different matter and that the committee understood its demand and respected the sentiment.
He appealed to ENPO to join hands and extend solidarity by observing the bandh. He also urged the State government and stakeholders to cooperate with NPAC in observing the bandh.

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