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ENPO issue rocks Assembly
Correspondent Kohima, Mar 24(NPN):
Published on 25 Mar. 2011 12:59 AM IST
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The state government has received letters from both the ministry of home affairs and Governor of Nagaland seeking its opinion on the ENPO demand for separate statehood but the state government was yet to respond, stated chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
He said on receipt of the letters from MHA and Governor, the state cabinet at its sitting decided to constitute a High Power Committee headed by Chief Secretary to study the demands made by the ENPO. In this regard the state chief secretary on February 10 last had written to the ENPO and ENSF inviting them for a meeting with the HPC at time convenient time. However, there was no response so far for which the state government was unable to provide its opinion, Rio said while replying to supplementary question raised by the opposition MLA K V Pusa during question hour today.
Rio further said that on receiving report that the ENPO had submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister and also the union home minister. He said MP Rajya Sabha, Khekiho Zhimomi had raised a starred question in the Parliament and the union home minister replied that the government of India had not taken any decision on the ENPO demand.
Pusa stressed that the integrity and unity of the state is more important and asked the leader of the house why the state cannot come with a clear statement on the issue. He pointed out when Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh government can openly declared that it will not compromise its territorial integrity why can’t the state government do the same.
Rio however replied that as government or chief minister it can’t just issue statement and referred to the cabinet decision that it stands for unity and integrity of the state and also the cabinet had requested the ENPO to reconsider their demand. Pusa also made an oblique assertion that if anybody was nursing the demand for disintegration of the state, realization was a must.
Opposition member Chingwang Konyak also participating in the Governor address stressed that the ENPO issue was a very serious issue threatening the very integrity of Nagaland as a state. He however told the house that it was now a recent one and that there was need to understand it from its historical background.
He went on to point out that the difference between the rest of the state and ENPO areas is that the latter is 82 years behind the rest. He also enlightened the house about history how the area was left lagging behind for so long. He pointed out that the first administrative office was established at Tuensang in 1948 with a separate administration and a Regional Council headed by DC which was placed under the direct control of the Governor with separate head of funds.
Separate protection also accorded to Tuensang under the provision of Article 371 A (2) which stated that any Act passed by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly will not be effect in Tuensang unless the Regional Council approved it.
He said the people were again deprived when the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly was constituted when the area got only six assembly seats. In the second house, the representation was increased to 12, he said and added that successive government in the state continued to neglect the people and the area.
Chingwang further pointed out that the deprivation in terms of education and jobs due to late arrival of modern education in the ENPO areas were some of the factors. He stressed that power sharing was an essential part of democracy and underlined the need to draw officers from the backward area to key post for proper delivery of good to the people of the area.
President NPCC and MLA S I Jamir also said that there were few genuine demand made by the ENPO such as- work in their area were sanctioned and given to contractors who were in Kohima where payment were made. Moreover, when it came to jobs , the people of the area were not financially prepared for buying government jobs in the open market, he added.
MLA Joshua Sumi said that though there is external ceasefire of violence in the Naga society but today in the meantime internal violence has erupted. He reminded that the NLA had passed four resolutions in support for the integration of all the contagious Naga inhabited areas. However, in contrast, there is a move for disintegration of the state today, he said referring to the ENPO demand.
Referring to the Governor’s address, Joshua reminded that the issue is not a mere perceived feeling but a real feeling and the state government should not wash off its hand. He also said that this was not the handiwork of few vested interests but a real mass movement which if not dealt properly, something terrible could happen, he warned.
MLA T. Sentichuba also claimed that the ENPO issue had arise due to chief minister refusal to meet the ENPO delegation who sought appointment to meet him. They have no option for which they were compelled to go to Delhi .

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