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Nagaland year ender heralds hope
Staff Reporter Dimapur, Dec 28(NPN):
Published on 29 Dec. 2009 12:04 AM IST
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Climatologists predicted that 2009 would be the warmest in the past five years, an issue that had evaded any tangible solution at the recently concluded Copenhagen meet while in Nagaland, the state experienced the scantiest rainfall ever in several decades. The social and political situation in the state however remained largely peaceful with crimes registering a decrease though there were sporadic incidents of inter factional abductions and killings. Extortion however remained as serious as it is uncontrollable, especially in Dimapur, where the Deputy Commissioner Maongwati Aier himself spoke out strongly against illegal taxes at a public rally. Even in Kohima, the abduction and killing of a businessman and spate of extortion notes served on business had the Kohima Chamber of Commerce and Industry calling for a closure of all shops and asking the government take concrete steps to check such activities. With the country gearing up for the 15 th Lok Sabha elections, union home minister P.C. Chidambaram, who had taken over the ministry immediately after the November 26,2008 Mumbai attacks, toured the north east including Nagaland where he had sent out a strong message to various militant outfits against violence and violation of cease fire agreements. The other notable highlights of the year included the Naga Consultative Meet held in Kohima from March 5 to 7 with the objective of preparing a broad-based forum comprising of representatives of all sections of society including overground and underground leaders. The meet was to seek a consensus from among a cross section of Naga society for a solution to the political issue. The Congress had stayed away from the meet as it was organized by the Public Affairs Committee of the DAN coalition. However, the formation of the Common Naga Platform hit a roadblock with several tribal hohos and a majority of the underground groups opposing the move. Even as the issue remained deadlocked, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation(FNR) for various underground factions found wider acceptance though it was restricted to the factions. However, the idea for the proposed common platform was not abandoned when all legislators convened for the second time and later passed a resolution for the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee for a solution to the Naga political issue. On the political front, four Congress legislators resigned from assembly and the party to join the ruling NPF and later all won the by elections on the NPF ticket. Two BJP legislators including a majority of party workers merged with the NPF party. The 33% reservation for women in all civic bodies was passed by the assembly but it has also hit a roadblock with stiff opposition from various organizations.Many believe the recent decision to postpone the civic body polls arose due to the 33% quota issue. After losing the general elections, the Lok Sabha and four byelections, the Congress dilemma continues with the leadership issue hogging the limelight. The Lok Sabha seat was retained by the NPF when its candidate C.M.Chang won by the biggest margin in the country over former Congress MP Asungba Sangtam. Though the DAN/NPF won the four by elections and the Lok Sabha election, the UPA returned to power at the Centre with increased seats. The results were disappointing for the DAN which had believed otherwise. However, the NPF lost no time in cozying up to the UPA by extending unconditional support with its lone Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs. With the Centre keen on resolving the Naga political issue and preparing a draft that had been prepared after union home secretary G.K.Pillai met with a cross section of Naga leaders and civil societies, the most important highlight of 2009 has been on the solution to the Naga political issue. The changed scenario with P.C.Chidambaram as home minister has clarified the Centre’s stand and according to analysts, this has virtually thrown the ball on the court of the Naga people over mainstreaming their desire for a lasting solution.By and large, 2009 will be a notable year during which, the first step for unity amid diversity would perhaps mean more in the New Year when events unfold.

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