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Nagas hit Dimapur streets seeking to fulfill their seven-decades-old political demands


GUWAHATI: In the backdrop of calls for the suspension of Assembly elections and the resignation of all 60 MLAs, thousands of the Nagas hit the streets of Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur on Friday to seek a speedy settlement of the seven-decade-old “Naga political issue”.

The Centre’s peace talks with the Naga rebel groups have already concluded but the issue remains unresolved as major extremist group National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM has stuck to its guns on the demand of “Naga flag” and “Naga constitution” which, the outfit said, is “non-negotiable.”

The Nagas on Friday demonstrated their yearning for a solution by observing a two-hour-long bandh in most parts of the state.

In a memorandum, the Nagaland People’s Action Committee, which organised a public rally in Dimapur, told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the unending political process had not only adversely affected the lives of people but also taken a huge toll on the entire system of governance.

“The unresolved political issue has heralded an unimaginable cycle of corruption, crippling public health care, education and infrastructure developments and produced countless scoundrels and thieves. In the name of political issue, threats and intimidations (by the rebels) have stifled the growth of a perceived Naga society which, you assured, would be a vibrant one,” the memorandum to the PM reads.

“Without a political settlement, we foresee thousands of futureless and highly-qualified angry men and women taking up guns to challenge those stifling their growth and progress,” the committee warned.

It said when the civil societies and all political parties unequivocally demanded solution before elections in 2018, the BJP had breached the trust of people by filing nominations with the slogan of “election for solution.” It reminded Modi that the promise remained unfulfilled.

For some time, the political parties in the “Opposition-less” Nagaland have been under intense pressure from the civil societies which are clamouring for settlement, not elections.

Recently, the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the BJP had signed a seat-sharing agreement much to the chagrin of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which is a conglomerate of seven insurgent outfits. It slammed the NDPP for showing more interest in the elections than the settlement of the Naga issue.

Subsequently, an influential anti-corruption body ACAUT (Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation) had dared the MLAs to resign en masse to facilitate the settlement of the Naga issue.