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By Oken Jeet Sandham
KOHIMA, Jun 14 (NEPS): Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) slammed Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio for belittling the desire and aspiration of the Naga people.
Rio was reported to have stated the other day that the integration of the Naga-inhabited areas would not be possible under the current situation.
Addressing a Joint Press Conference here at the NPF Central Office on Thursday, NPF Spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon warned that the existence of the NDPP-BJP led PDA Government was a “threat to the Naga people.” “The longer PDA Government exists, the bigger threat to the Naga people will be,” he said.
Kikon warned that the statement made by Rio would become a “hurdle” to the Naga peace process. NPF would always fight for the integration of the Naga-inhabited areas, he said, and further added that “Our party constitution (NPF) even states for the integration of the Naga-inhabited areas.”
Reiterating NPF’s stand on the Naga integration, former Minister and senior NPF MLA, Imkong L Imchen, expressed surprise on Rio’s U-turn on the Naga issue. He reminded how Rio as Home Minister in 2002 tendered resignation from the Council of Ministers to go against the booklet, “Bedrock of Naga Society” published by NPCC. “The Naga people at that point of time appreciated the stand of Rio and consequent upon which he was voted to power in 2003,” he said.
“The NPF would like to remind that Rio was very much part and parcel of NPF for the last 15 years and its Governments and till the other day, he as the then party (NPF) leader believes that the integration of the Nagas is the birthright of the Naga people and there is no room for compromise to this principled stand,” Imchen stated. “What made him say now that the integration of Naga inhabited areas is not possible?”
The NPF senior legislator also mentioned about the Clause 13 of the 16-Point Agreement that referred to the integration of the contiguous Naga areas. Although the Center did not precisely state in that line, they had agreed in principle for the integration of the contiguous Naga areas. “There is a written document for this, which cannot be denied,” he stated.
Questioning as to why the incumbent Chief Minister should speak that the integration of Naga inhabited areas was not possible when the Naga political talks were reaching a very important and critical stage, Imchen said his statement indicated that he was against the Naga integration.
Rio had openly shattered the “aspiration of the long-cherished demand of the Naga people to live as one,” he said.
Nevertheless, the NPF would solicit the “patriotic opinion and support of the Naga people” so us to safeguard the future of the Naga people, he said.