Amid efforts of the Nagaland government and all state parties to resolve the decades-old Naga political issue before the assembly elections, less than 6 months away, the parliamentary core committee headed by chief minister Neiphiu Rio met Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on September 12.
A senior Nagaland government official in Kohima said that a delegation of the all-important Core Committee on Naga Political Issue (CCoNPI), led by Neiphiu Rio, urged Shah to finalise the Naga political settlement at the earliest.
Deputy chief minister Yanthungo Patton, who is also the BJP legislature party leader and a key member of the CCoNPI, also attended the meeting, where Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, senior home ministry officials and other members of the core committee were present.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman and former chief minister TR Zeliang and UDA co-chairman Kuzholuzo (Azo) Neinu were also present.
After the meeting, Rio tweeted: “Parliamentary Core Committee to discuss the Naga political issue. Once again, we urged the GoI to expedite the protracted negotiations on the issue and bring about an early and honourable solution.”
Patton tweeted: “Together with Hon’ble CM Shri Neiphiu Rio Ji and members of the Parliamentary Core Committee, had a meeting on the Naga Political Issue with Hon’ble Union HM Shri Amit Shah Ji and urged the GoI to bring about an early and honourable solution, in line with the people’s aspirations.”
The official said that the chief minister handed over the July 16 resolution of the CCoNPI to sign a final agreement for securing the much-delayed solution to the Naga political issue.
The CCoNPI held a meeting with Centre’s representative for Naga political talks AK Mishra last week at Nagaland House in the national capital and submitted a copy of the July 16 resolution, which noted that the talks have concluded officially on October 31, 2019 and therefore, urged prime minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister to invite NSCN-IM leaders for early conclusion of the long pending issue.
Ahead of the meeting with the central government, Rio and other members of the CCoNPI last week met Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati.
The Centre has been separately holding peace talks with the NSCN-IM and other Naga groups, which came together a few years ago under the banner of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).
Since 1997, the Centre has held more than 85 rounds of negotiations with the NSCN-IM and other Naga groups.
However, the NSCN-IM’s insistence on a “separate Naga flag and constitution became big hurdles”.
Former government interlocutor and then Nagaland governor RN Ravi, who is now governor of Tamil Nadu, had rejected these demands on a number of occasions.
The ruling parties in Nagaland, all other Naga bodies and civil society organisations are making all out efforts to resolve the Naga political issue before the next assembly elections, expected to be held in February next year.
The BJP, the NDPP, into which the Naga People’s Front merged earlier, had formed the opposition-less all-party UDA government last year to take forward the Naga political issue between the Centre and Naga outfits and various other groups.
The NDPP is the dominant party of the ruling alliance in Nagaland while the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has 12 MLAs, is one of the important constituents of the alliance.