Rio must step down: KL Chishi
Reacting to media reports that government of India has in principle, agreed to grant regional autonomous council to eastern Nagaland, former chief minister K.L. Chishi said “the episode is an unfortunate culmination of the utter negligence of the Neiphiu Rio government since 2003”
Chishi accused the chief minister of having amassed wealth meant for the development and for equitable distribution for Nagaland with particular reference for development of eastern Nagaland region. However, he said the chief minister “never offered commendable position to the people of the eastern Nagaland” and as a result of the gross injustice meted out and neglect of development activities, the people of eastern Nagaland “have risen against the state of Nagaland.”
Chishi claimed that fragmentation of Nagaland is coming about since people of eastern Nagaland have lost patience even though at one point the eastern Nagas agreed to stay under Naga-land for unity among Nagas. He said people of eastern Nagaland approached the government of India and the latter has taken a serious view of the grievances which now is “leading to separation” from Nagaland.
According to Chishi, this development impacts the electoral process and warrants a stay since election of 40 to the assembly could be vitiated and come under legal scrutiny.
Tracing the genesis for the present socio-political crisis, Chishi said concentration of power and development to a few areas of Nagaland has led to such “disastrous consequences” and squarely held Rio squarely responsible as he has been chief minister since 2003.
While holding Rio mainly responsible for the problem, Chishi demanded that he should voluntarily resign by admitting his weakness and indulgence in favouritism and nepotism and if he failed to do so, then the Governor should dismiss Rio’s government.
Chishi also pointed out that the State of Nagaland Act passed by parliament in 1960 created Nagaland with a legislature having 60 elected members and a separate governor.
Since Nagaland state will be fragmented on being reduced to a 40-member house, Chishi said this will be a violation of the constitution of India vis-à-vis the State of Nagaland Act of 1960. Such being a fit case deemed a violation of the constitution and causing a crisis, Chishi reminded that in such a constitutional crisis, the leader (of the house) “must step down” or else the entire government dismissed.
He said since parliament will have to enact a new law (for division of Nagaland) and in such a case, Article 356 will have to be invoked in the state. Further, Chishi said election to 40 assembly seats (as 20 seat will be under eastern Nagaland) it will be infructuous if election went ahead for 60 members.
He said since the proposed autonomous council and Nagaland are to be fragmented there will be a need for amendment to the constitution of the 60-member house. Chishi said all these clearly depicted the failure of the Rio government and for which he should step down.
Rio created mess, says Dr SC Jamir
Reacting to media reports on creation of Frontier Nagaland Autonomous Council for eastern Nagaland, Dr. S.C. Jamir, veteran Naga politician and sole surviving member of Naga People’s Convention (NPC) which signed the 16 Point Agreement that formed the basis for creation of Nagaland has explained the differences between Regional Council at No.3 of the 16 Point Agreement of 1960 and the creation of Frontier Nagaland Autonomous Council 2023.
Dr. Jamir pointed out that Nagaland state was formed by representatives of then Naga Hills and Tuensang Frontier Division (NEFA) for becoming part and parcel of the Indian union. He said the representatives deliberated on all issues and problems under democratic norms. Thus, all tribes are politically and constitutionally members of the same family.
Dr. Jamir said that leaders of NPC had felt that since during British administration in India, Tuensang areas were unadministered, a special provision be made to bring these areas through special arrangement for development in the art of governance and so a special provision was made for Tuensang district.
However, he lamented that today due to neglect by the present government, eastern Nagas were compelled to approach the Centre directly and leading to proposed new arrangement without having this routed through the elected government in Nagaland.
This spoke “volumes about the status and image of the state under Rio,” said Jamir. He further asked, when the talks was about autonomy of Frontier Nagaland, what happened to the autonomy of Nagaland as guaranteed under the constitution? Asking who was responsible for this, Jamir said the enlightened people of Nagaland should decide who was to blame.
He said today, Nagaland has become a land of factions and groups with multiple authorities who are unauthorised resulting in misgovernance and corruption of the highest order. He said the present leadership in Nagaland has to answer for all these mess.
While mouthing about integration, Jamir said instead the trend of disintegration has already set in.
Nagaland will no longer be the same again unless there is drastic change in all departments of administration including the polity, he said.
Jamir however expressed his best wishes for the proposed Frontier Nagaland Autonomous Council while the political dispensation of Nagaland state has become bleak.