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Khekiho reiterates "anti -Naga" tag on state Congress
Published on 16 Jun. 2011 12:59 AM IST
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Rajya Sabha member from Naglaand Khekiho Zhimomi has joined the ongoing war of words between the NPF including its Farmers Wing and the NPCC over political issues and events.
In a statement, Khekiho said he was "compelled to set the record straight by pointing out some of the historical facts and the judgment of the Naga people thereof" against the backdrop of what he termed as "political mudslinging by the NPCC against the NPF-led DAN government."
Khekiho maintained that the 16 Point Agreement was "signed bilaterally" between the Naga People's Convention and the government of India without the "consent of the underground groups (UGs)" who "enjoyed popular support of the Nagas" spearheading the Naga political movement.
He said signing of the agreement was a "blunder: since it was done without taking the undergrounds into confidence for which the Naga political issue "continues to remain unresolved till today".
He said Dr S.C. Jamir one of the signatories of the agreement, had allegedly described the undergrounds as "hostiles" instead of playing the role of a facilitator in his letter dated March 22, 1963 addressed to P.Shilu Ao, then chief executive councilor. Khekiho alleged that Jamir, in the letter, urged Shilu Ao to object to then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's proposed talks with A.Z. Phizo, leader of the undivided underground.
Admitting that the 16 Point agreement led to statehood, Khekiho however said it was with great cost in "blood and tears sacrificed by every Naga individual."
Since a group of overground leaders had not taken the underground leaders into confidence, Khekiho asked "it is for the people to judge whether it was a hijack or not?" and "whether the deal was worth or not?"
He wondered whether Nagas could have "sealed a better deal" with the government of India had all sections of Naga people were taken on board and "thus averting the division amongst the Naga in the decades that followed."
Stating despite "all its merit" statehood "cannot be justified as upright considering the situation at that time."
Khekiho referred to the booklet 'Bedrock of Naga Society' published in 2000 by the NPCC and authored by its former president and then state chief minister Dr. S.C. Jamir whose Congress party won 59 out of 60 seats. Khekiho said the booklet not only questioned the "sovereign existence of Nagas prior to the arrival of the British in India" but also undermined the "very foundation of the Naga political struggle and movement."
He recalled that in 2002 then power minister in Jamir's cabinet, K. Therie was dismissed and expelled from the Congress solely for opposing the booklet.
He said the home minister in Jamir's cabinet Neiphiu Rio also resigned from the ministry, the assembly and quit the Congress on September 20, 2002 in opposing the booklet.
Khekiho said till date all frontal Naga civil societies -Naga Hoho,NSF,NMA" have unanimously condemned " the content and motive of the Congress booklet" by branding it as a "divisive tool and therefore, anti-Naga"
He asserted that the Congress policy of "equi-distance" from all underground groups was exactly the opposite of the NPF-led DAN's "equi-closeness" since the NPF held that "overground and underground are part and parcel of Naga society" and that only by coming close could dialogues be held and issued ironed out. This, he said would achieve better understanding and unity to strengthen political negotiations with the government of India. He claimed that the state Congress chose to distance itself from all undergrounds despite the government of India being in direct talk with them.
On the relationship with the Congress at the Centre, Khekiho asserted the NPF was not opposed to the Congress-led UPA government as both MPs from the state are "providing support" to the UPA government in Delhi "for mutual benefit and also as a goodwill gesture of the Naga people". He however claimed the state Congress was "irked" by it. He alleged the Congress at the Centre and the state unit were on different wavelength by alluding the recent expulsion of I.Imkong from the party by the NPCC but which was revoked by the AICC.
Khekiho accused the Congress party of "undermining and suppressing" the opinion and made of the Nagas at every given opportunity. He pointed out that in May 1995 when the government of India recommended imposition of the Disturbed Areas Act or Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1956), the then Congress government in Nagaland went against the wishes of the people. Khekiho said that as an independent MLA, he had opposed the Act and paid the price for withdrawing support to the government. He claimed he would still be willing to "repeat" it "for the interest of the Naga people."
He said the Naga people were yet to overcome the affects of the draconian act and asked whether the Congress policy was not "anti-Naga?".
He also pointed out that in pursuance of revival of "Indo-Naga peace talks" in 1998; there was a general appeal to all political parties from all sections of Nagas to boycott the assembly elections under the banner "Solution not Election". However, he said the Congress went ahead and conducted the alleged "stage managed mandated elections" and sweeping 59 out of the 60 assembly seats to form "an illegitimate government from 1998-2003."
Khekiho slammed S.C. Jamir, who as the head of the government and "then all powerful chief minister" to shoulder the entire onus "for murdering democracy in one shot" and asked whether the decision of the Congress to ignore the people's call was not "anti-Naga".
Further he pointed out that in 2007, the NPF-led DAN government had magnanimously supported Pratibha Patil for President of India where she got 48 of 60 votes but in return in January 2008 "due to the state Congress' selfish designs" the NPF-led DAN was "dismissed, unceremoniously and undemocratically" while enjoying majority.
He alleged that the support of the "High Command" was maliciously used by the state Congress to suppress "the true voice of the Nagas" by imposition of President's rule. He asked if it was not "anti-democratic" and "anti people policy?"
Recently, when the NPC launched its unit in Manipur, Khekiho said while a cross section of people saw it as a "major positive move", the Congress reaced with "shallow cynical views". He reminded that the NPF as a recognized political party under the Election Commission of India, has the lefal and constitutional right to expand like other national parties.
He alleged the state Congress condemned the "coming together of our people" and asked were not its views "anti-Naga?".
Reacting to the NPCC terming NPF Farmers Wing president Lanukaba as "kheti" level person, Khekiho said only elected representatives are not politicians but any bonafide citizen has the right to expression be it farmer, teacher or mere villager. He illustrated the case of civil society activists like Anna Hazare and Yoga teacher Baba Ramdev who are "chanting political proverbs and prose" with freedom. Defending Lanukana's right, Khekiho maintained that the NPF championed the grass root level as a people "on which our foundations are strongly embedded."

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