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Talks only option for Naga issue: Rio

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the 23rd NSF general conference as chief guest at Mopungchuket Tuesday.A wooden sculpture of the chief minister presented to him on his right.(NP)
Published on 29 Apr. 2009 1:18 AM IST
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Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio reiterated that negotiation with the government of India was the only option to address the several decades-old unsolved Naga political problem. Speaking after inaugurating the 23rd General Conference of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) as the chief guest at Mopungchuket village, Mokokchung district . Rio said the aspirations of the Nagas cannot be achieved through waging war and approaching a third country was not applicable in finding a an amicable solution to the Naga problem. He asserted that negotiation across the table, that involved all sections of society was the best way to settle the long pending Naga political issue. Rio said that India was always looking forward with all earnestness to bring about an amicable solution to the problem. The chief minister admitted that the efforts put into the current peace process did not show much progress and called for consolidated efforts to carry forward the initiative. He said there was a need for reasoning together as to why the peace process had not made adequate progress and how the Nagas could find ways to take forward the peace process in the right direction. “It was this very objective that PAC of DAN government had taken initiative in convening the Naga Consultative Meet at Kohima,” he said. Expressing serious concern over the prevailing situation in Naga society, Rio pointed out that the biggest challenge before the Nagas today was to stop violence, hatred and misunderstanding and that it was paramount to prevent such senseless acts of violence. Rio also said it was of crucial importance that the Nagas work towards oneness and understanding among themselves before they could realistically hope for achieving their goals. “How can we think of tackling on the issue of Naga unity, if we continue to fight amongst ourselves?” he asked. He pointed out that even bodies like Naga Hoho and NSF were no longer fully representing all Nagas living within even the present Nagaland state. He said it was high time that the Nagas recreate their “nationalistic” fervour to subsume all minor differences which would enable them to come together under the apex Naga Hoho and the NSF so as to pursue the common goal. He lauded the NSF for their involvement in socio-economic and political development and said that the Federation was not only a powerful organization but also an effective pressure group. The chief minister revealed that Nagaland Government had formulated a number of programmes to help the youth and called upon the students, whom he termed as “assets” to avail the opportunities provided by the state government. The chief guest also hoisted the NSF flag and also presented with a sculpture titled “The Bridge” by the Mopungchuket Council in a traditional manner. He also complimented the Ao Students’ Conference and Mopungchuket village for hosting the conference. NSF President Imchatoba delivered the presidential address. Earlier, the NSF monolith was unveiled by MLA from Manipur, Morung Makunga. Nagaland education minister Neiwang Konyak, roads and bridges minister Kaito, parliamentary secretary Saku, MLA Nungsangyapang, DC Mokokchung, CM Tsanglao, other senior officers and students also attended the programme. Other highlights of the programme included cultural presentations by Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (Tangkhul Students Union), Chakhesang Students Union, special number by the Enchanter etc. The program was chaired by former speaker NSF Elu Ndang. (With inputs from DIPR)

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