BJP urges eastern Nagaland body to hold talks with govt to resolve their separate state demand

Kohima, March 16 (IANS) The BJP, which is a part of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party-led United Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland, on Friday urged the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) to hold dialogue with the government to resolve their demand for a separate state.

The ENPO, since March 8, has been agitating in support of its demand that a separate ‘Frontier Naga Territory’ state be carved out of the most backward six eastern districts of Mon, Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak, and Shamator, where seven backward tribes — Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung — are spread.

The BJP, in a statement, said that while the party is aware of the Centre’s acknowledgement of the grievances and demands put forth by the ENPO, it urges all stakeholders to prioritise constructive means of resolution within the framework of democratic dialogue.

It said that it is “most regrettable” that effigies of Central leaders were burnt in Tuensang on March 13, adding such actions are unfortunate, unnecessary and serve no productive purpose, “particularly at a time when sincere efforts are being made by the Central leaders to address the concerns of eastern Nagaland”.

While protests are a fundamental right in a democratic society, they should not detract from constructive dialogues that are necessary for resolution, the BJP statement said, adding that it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to engage in meaningful discussions, respecting procedural and technical considerations, to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.

“The BJP Nagaland state unit is fully optimistic that the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is unwavering in its dedication to address the concerns of eastern Nagaland and achieve positive outcomes that are mutually agreeable and pragmatic,” the statement said.

Since March 8, normal life has been affected in six districts of eastern Nagaland as the ENPO organises various agitations, including shutdowns and enforcement of a “public emergency” in the region, to press for its demand.

The ENPO, the apex Naga body in the six districts, and its associated organisations, in support of its separate state demand, gave a call to boycott last year’s Assembly polls (February 27) but later withdrew it following an assurance from Union Home Minister Shah.

The Union Home Ministry, responding to the ENPO’s demand, last year formed a three-member committee, headed by Adviser, Northeast, A.K. Mishra to study their demand, and the panel visited Nagaland several times and talked with all sides.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio recently said that the state government has already recommended, to the Centre, that an autonomous region be set up for the people belonging to the eastern region.



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