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NPF Manipur unit launched amid tension

Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu unfurling the NPF flag, Neiphiu Rio waves at the crowd gathered at the launch of NPF Manipur unit in Senapati, Saturday. (NP)
Published on 29 May. 2011 12:28 AM IST
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Manipur state unit of the Naga People’s Front was formally launched at Senapati by Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio against the backdrop of a stand off which was resolved after the intervention of union home minister P. Chidambaram who prevailed upon the Manipur government to permit Rio’s entourage to attend the function.
Rio and an entourage that included NPF working president and minister of higher & Technical Education and Urban Development Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu who traveled in around 200 vehicles carrying ministers, parliamentary secretaries and other NPF legislators, were given a rousing reception.
After hoisting the NPF flag, Rio said “We are coming here only for party purpose, not for disturbing peace and tranquility of the state. We come to Manipur for peace, not for confrontation”. He reminded that in the past it was “might is right, but today right is might”. He said Nagas as a family have the right sit together and discuss about their right. He also thanked Union home minister P Chidambaram for prevailing upon Ibobi Singh-led Manipur government from creating hindrance against his visit to Senapati today to launch the NPF state unit.
He said Nagas, like the Meitei community are humans and share a similar sentiment of not wanting to be suppressed. He however reasserted, “we don’t want to fight with anyone and we want to survive as a people and a progressive society”.
Rio reminded that the then British-India divided the Naga family but accorded them protection since 1873 through the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation Act which is still being implemented as Inner Line Permit. After the British, the government of India accorded constitutional protection to the Nagas under Article 371(A), he said.
He pointed out that Nagas were presently living under different states -Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar- and that it was the duty of every Naga to be emotionally, socially, culturally and politically integrated. Only then the real integration would be achieved he said adding that the youth should take the lead. “As long as we are divided, we will not see the light at the other end of the tunnel”, he said adding, “though Naga may be divided under different administrative head, yet they share a common destiny”.
On the 16 Point Agreement under which Nagaland became a state, he said it was signed between the government of India with Naga tribal representatives under the banner of the Naga People’s Convention but it excluded the underground. He said after ceasefire, talks are currently on to solve the Naga problem and urged upon the people that it was now the right moment to come together to help bring solution.
Neiphiu Rio also reminded that integration was not a new issue and that the Nagaland assembly had, under four different chief ministers- P. Shilu Ao, Dr. Hokishe Sema, Dr. S C Jamir and himself(Neiphiu Rio), had passed four resolutions for integration of all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative umbrella. Rio asserted that only when Nagas immediately begin the process of emotional,social, cultural and political integration would the world recognize them.
NPF President, Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu in his presidential address maintained that integration was a birthright and also a fundamental right of Nagas which no one could prevent.
He said Nagas have not done anything wrong against the neighbour (Manipur) and asked the gathering to make the launch of the NPF a people’s movement. “Let today be a milestone of our people”, he added.
Lok Sabha MP, CM Chang termed the launching of the party as a long cherished dream of the Nagas to be together emotionally, socially, culturally and politically and said that the NPF is launching its party unit in Manipur was in the interest of the Nagas.
Earlier, minister for Planning, V&AH TR Zeliang who is also the NPF party incharge of Manipur state unit termed the occasion as long cherished dream of the NPF to expand its party to other parts of the country.
He aid that India is a democratic country and that nobody can stop any political party from expanding to any part of the country if the party is registered and recognized by the Election Commission.
“We don’t have any hidden agenda except to develop and uplift the weaker section of the people. Our motto is development for peace and peace for development”, he added.
No opposition to Rio’s trip: Ibobi
Relenting to the request of the union home minister P. Chidambaram, the Manipur cabinet at a meeting Saturday at 7 a.m. gave clearance for allowing Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio and his entourage to enter and pass through to Senapati for the launch of the NPF.
Ibobi also flayed the Manipur media for misreporting that his cabinet had banned the visit of Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio to Senapati and thereby creating tension. He clarified that the cabinet had only requested the Nagaland chief minister to defer his planned visit to Senapati considering the fragile law and order situation in the district and the state
It may be recalled that the cabinet had informed the Nagaland chief minister that the state government was arranging to hold the tripartite talk with the UNC with representatives of the state and central government on May 30 at Senapati.
The tripartite talk is to be held amidst the plans for observation of June 18, 2001 event with only a few weeks left. Under such circumstances, the Manipur cabinet was apprehensive of a possibility of serious break down of law and order situation in Manipur in case of any incident during the visit of the Nagaland chief minister, he added.
The chief minister also produced the copy of the cabinet decision and said that media should be taken utmost care of reporting such sensitive issue.

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