Saturday, June 10, 2023

Dimapur rally demands ‘Solution Not Election’

Staff Reporter


Several thousand people turned up at Super Marker area here Friday to send a strong message to all stakeholders involved in 25 years of Naga political talks, that Nagas will no longer accept any excuse to justify delay since negotiations officially concluded on October 31, 2019 and therefore demand “Solution Not Election.”
Shops across Dimapur and other districts such as– Kohima, Wokha, Mokokchung, Phek, Zunheboto and Shamator- remained shut from 10 am to 12 noon as mark of solidarity with NPAC in support of demand for early political solution.
Thousands of people, many in traditional attires, filled up the long stretch of the road from Circuit House-Walford Junction to Super Market-Kuda village road junction. Some held placards that read– “GoI should deliver what is promised”; “We want solution, not election”; “25 years of negotiations is a generation”; “Indo Naga political issue is people’s issue”; “Stop politicking solution”; “Do it or stop it”; “Civil societies real stakeholders”; “No peace, No progress”; “No political will, No solution”, etc.
Naga public of late have been resentful at the uncertainty of solution despite elected members having promised early solution since 2003 and holding unending consultative meetings with CSOs and trips to Delhi to meet with central leaders to press for early solution.
Some Naga elders also derided formations of all-party and opposition-less governments in 2015 and 2021, which they said were merely for headlines. After various organisations have held the legislators responsible for causing obstruction to solution, despite the Centre expressing readiness for solution; the UDA government had to finally admit that talks have officially concluded and so appealed to the Centre to secure early solution.
However, NPAC formed at a recent meeting of all Naga apex organisations has expressed deep suspicion that even after having admitted that talks have ended and that it was time for Centre to secure solution, the ruling NDPP and BJP have gone around to announce seat sharing arrangement for 2023.
At the rally, a representation drafted by NPAC was read out and approved by the public. (See on p-6)
The representation, addressed to Prime Minister of India was submitted through the office of Nagaland Governor at Raj Bhavan Kohima.
Representatives of various CSOs and elders addressed the rally. Former president of Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) Kekongchim Yimkhiung pointed out that Naga issue was not specific to a tribe or region, but encompassed all Nagas and so whatever be the solution, it would be impact entire Nagas. Kekongchim also lamented that Nagas were divided and fighting among themselves.
On why solution was required, Kekongchim referred to the high unemployment rate in Nagaland and cautioned that the State would become a land of mafias if the problem continued longer.
He also said Naga society was also divided into two groups – the “haves” and “have nots”. He warned that if the economic disparity persisted, there would soon be a revolution by the “have nots” and therefore, solution was the only answer.
Kekongchim remarked that by shying away from the truth has made Nagas confused on the Naga issue and also made it complex.
He also questioned why solution could not be secured even after 25years of negotiations? He also noted that even negotiators had been claiming that the talks were headed in the right direction with Government of India (GoI) and that talks were officially over on October 31, 2019.
Kekongchim served notice on the government of India that if it cannot secure solution to the Naga political issue even after 25 years of negotiations, it should leave Nagas alone to decide their fate.
Also addressing the rally, Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CNCCI) president Dr Khekugha Muru remarked that Naga issue was bigger than personal issues and appealed to all Nagas to rise above family matter and make Naga solution a reality.
While clarifying that CNCCI was a neutral body with no political affiliation or links with NPGS, Muru however asserted that the business community stood steadfast with the demand for an early solution and so decided to be part of the rally despite having to suffer the most when such rallies were called.
Muru likened the negotiators and Naga public as two stakeholders in Naga issue and acknowledged the negotiators for their sacrifice and dedication to bring about an honourable solution for the Nagas.
He said it was time for Nagas to come out and show support to the negotiators.
Muru lamented that unabated, unauthorised and multiple taxation that have plagued the state have burdened the minds of Naga youths at a time when youths in rest of India and the world were talking about ideas, innovations, starts-ups, etc.
He said it was time that all kinds of unauthorised taxations ended and to free the minds of young innovators. He therefore asked the government of India not to play with the sentiments of the people.
In a brief message, president of Ao Senso Telongjem Dimapur Meren Nokpu said government of India should be bold enough to secure agreements in public domain since Nagas have every right to know what type of solution was being proposed. He also reminded that solution does not belong to a specific tribe but to all Nagas.
The rally was chaired by Dimapur Urban Council Chairmen Federation (DUCCF) president Tesnthungo Nyamo and invocation offered by Lotha Baptist Church Diphupar (LBCD) senior pastorYanbemo Ovung.
Others who also spoke included Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) president Er. Etsungmomo Kikon while Naga Women Hoho Dimapur information & publicity secretary Elizabeth, read out a speech of its president. Those who also spoke included NPAC co-convener and general secretary Nagaland GB Federation general secretary Shikuto Zalipu. Vote of thanks was proposed by Dimapur District Citizens’ Forum (DDCF) president Yibemo Kikon, while public representation was read out byNPAC convener Theja Therieh.
Later interacting with the media after the programme, NPAC convenor Theja Therieh asked the negotiating parties as to whether 25 years of unending negotiations were not enough to reach any solution? He said if solution cannot be secured then to let Naga people decided what to do.
Therieh reiterated that unending negotiations cannot continue at the cost of people’s suffering and reminded all that “enough was enough”.
He also demanded that nothing should be hidden regarding solution and that anything being negotiated must be shared with the people.
Asked whether any representation would be submitted to the NPGs, Therieh said the Centre had initiated the peace process by inviting NSCN (I-M) and WC, NNPGs and on its part, NPAC will press the Centre to finish what it had started.



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