Dimapur (Nagaland), Aug 5
Thousands of Nagas under the banner of Nagaland People's Action Committee (NPAC) hit the streets of Nagaland on Friday demanding a speedy settlement to the decades old Naga political issue.
After the massive rally in which thousands of men and women participated holding banners in Nagaland's commercial hub Dimapur, the NPAC sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding early solutions to the "Naga political issue without further delay".
The memorandum, sent though Nagaland Governor Jagdish Mukhi, said that Naga people are in the 25th year of the political negotiations between the government of India and the Naga negotiators, which began in 1997, and the unending political process has adversely affected the lives of each individual and family in the state.
"It has taken a huge toll on the entire system of governance. The unresolved political issue has heralded in an unimaginable cycle of corruption at all levels, crippling public healthcare, education and overall infrastructure developments, which are in shambles for obvious reasons to say the least.
"The unresolved Naga issue has produced countless scoundrels and thieves and in the name of political issues, threats and intimidations have stifled the growth of a perceived Naga society, which you (PM) assured would be a vibrant one," the memorandum read.
The NPAC told the Prime Minister that as the economic wellbeing of everyday Naga families has completely collapsed in the absence of an equitable welfare formula and governance save on paper, the consequences are frightening to say the least.
"The ultimate victims being the brilliantly educated, unemployed, school dropouts and all those whose futures are now ruined. Entrepreneurship and asset creation are critical components in a society like ours. Government projects are siphoned off brazenly through percentage cuts and shares. Private businesses are grossly extorted by armed groups," read the memorandum, signed by six senior NPAC leaders.
Various Naga organisations and civil society groups either participated or supported the much publicised rally.
The memorandum said that without a political settlement, the NPAC foresees thousands of futureless fresh, youthful, highly-qualified angry men and women taking up guns to challenge those stifling their growth and progress.
"Your (PM) promise to the Nagas has not been fulfilled yet. Prime minister Sir, is it not a betrayal to our people, considering that negotiations with Naga groups have officially concluded," the NPAC asked.
The Naga organisation said that the ceasefire and the political negotiations under its peaceful atmosphere are all but a means to an end.
"We expect the government of India to appreciate the patience of the citizens of Nagaland shown in all these 25 years because people yearn for genuine peace in the region, which can be brought in by political solution alone," the memorandum read.
The NPAC said that in 2018, when the civil societies and all political parties, including the BJP, unequivocally demanded for solution before elections, the BJP breached the trust of the people and filed nominations with the slogan "Election for Solution", against the will and wishes of the people which is still fresh in their memory.
The next Assembly elections in Nagaland, expected to be held in February next year, is considered crucial in view of the ongoing Naga peace talks between the Central government and the Naga groups, especially the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).
All the political parties and the state government are keen to resolve the Naga issue before the Assembly polls.
The NSCN-IM's repeated insistence on a separate Naga flag and constitution have become a big hurdle in the way of resolving the Naga issue.
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