Post Mortem

T R Zeliang’s speech at NPF general convention

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/23/2019 9:50:37 AM IST

 Dear Party men and women, on this auspicious occasion, I extend my warmest greetings to all the rank and file of the NPF Party who are present here in today’s program from the three States of Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. NPF Party has survived all odds and is still one of the tallest regional Parties in the Country. This, I must say, is because of the sacrifice and unstinted support of our Party men and women. It is because of this unwavering stand that the NPF has survived all the political turmoil, both past and present. And as such, I take this privilege to congratulate each and every one of you present here today. Dear Party men and women, I also take this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to our President, Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu for being a guiding force to the Party thus far.

 Today, we are at a crucial juncture when the Indo-Naga Peace Talk is at the verge of a final breakthrough. At a critical time such as this- a time when our Naga Society is encountering various social and political issues both in India and Myanmar, it is important for all of us to stand together as a united entity. It is true that ‘Together we stand, Divide we fall.’ We cannot afford to sing different tunes and foster divided opinions after 22 years of political dialogue. I am confident that both the negotiating parties, namely the NSCN (IM) and the 7 NNPGs on one hand and the Government of India on the other, will soon come to an amicable settlement with inking of the final settlement.

Dear friends, when it comes to Naga issue, we have committed to look beyond Party color or beyond tribal lines and likewise, the stand of the NPF Party in regard to Naga political issue is loud and clear. We have played an instrumental role and vigorously pursued with the Government of India for early settlement of the Naga political problem and is not just a mere facilitator.

The initiatives taken by the NPF Party during DAN-III will go down in the annals of Naga history as a remarkable feat. In order to bring early solution, Nagaland Legislators Forum (NLF) under the chairmanship of the then Hon’ble Speaker, Sh. Chotisuh Sazo was formed on 25th May 2015 following a Meeting attended by 60 Legislators of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Under this Forum, a Parliamentary Working Committee (PWC) was created with 23 Members on 5th July 2015 comprising of Party Representatives, Tribal Representatives and 2 MPs which met various Central Leaders during 2015 and 2016.

Dear Party men and women, on 16thJuly 2015, we met Interlocuter, Sh. R.N Ravi and also Hon’ble Prime Minister, Sh. Narendra Modi. The next day, on 17th July 2015, we met Sh. Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of State for Home and Sh. Rajnath Singh, Hon’ble Home Minister of India. The response of Prime Minister, Sh. Narendra Modi including top Central leaders whom we met were very positive and as a result, the Framework Agreement was signed on 3rd August 2015 within 15 days of PWC meeting with the Hon’ble Prime Minister and other Central leaders. This was a remarkable accomplishment which needs to be kept on record by the NPF Party for all times to come.

My dear friends, let me also remind you that discussion on Naga Political issue took place for two consecutive days on 23rd and 24th July in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly in 2015. Such an initiative is very rare, if not unknown, in the history of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Subsequently, on 27thJuly 2015, a 5-point Resolution was adopted which was later endorsed by Civil Societies at RECEMPA, Jotsoma on 31st July 2015.

Having said this, let me also mention here that in January 2016, PWC also met leaders of various Political Parties like Sh. Amit Shah (BJP), Sonia Gandhi (INC), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena) and Dinesh Trivedi (TMC) and appealed for their support on the Naga issue when the matter was brought to the Parliament.

Today, we are glad to witness the proactive steps being taken by the various Naga Political Groups and the GoI on the Indo-Naga Political issue. Personally, I am confident that the Naga political problem will be resolved sooner than later– one that is inclusive, honorable and acceptable as aspired by the Naga people at large. Our adversaries may come up with all sorts of allegations against us but the approach of the NPF Party on the Naga Political issue is commendable by all measures. This is because of the simple fact that the NPF Party always stood for inclusiveness and worked selflessly in bringing various factions to the negotiating table.

 Dear friends, allow me to throw some light on how the various factions came to engage in Peace Talks with the GoI. I still remember when I, along with Sh. G. Kaito Aye (then PAC Chairman), during my tenure as Chief Minister met 6 NNPGs to listen to their grievances and identify remedies. During the course of our discussion, the 6 NNPGs expressed their disappointment for not being invited for Talks. Taking this into consideration, with all sincerity I met Interlocutor Sh. RN Ravi on 2nd Sept. 2017 and requested him to invite the 6 NNPGs for Talks. On 4th Sept. Sh. RN Ravi invited me to his residence and requested me to speak to Sh. Th. Muivah, Ato Kilonser of the NSCN (IM) so that a dialogue could be started with the NNPGS in a smooth manner. I agreed with this and the next day on 5th Sept. I met Sh. Th. Muivah and briefed him of the same. Everything went well by the grace of the Almighty and subsequently, on 28th Sept. 2017, the first official dialogue between GoI and 6 NNPGs took place which was followed by signing of the ‘Preamble Agreement’ on 29th Oct. 2017.

Dear friends, allow me to also remind you about my letter which I had written to the Collective Leadership of the NSCN (K) during my tenure as Chief Minister. In this letter I requested the NSCN (K) to come back and resume the Ceasefire Agreement with the GoI. We had taken this initiative with the best intention but some people misinterpreted differently. Yet, we went ahead with the true spirit of inclusiveness to include all the Naga groups in the peace process. I further dispatched another letter as reminder in the month of January 2018. A 6-Member Team comprising of Naga Hoho and ENPO was also sent to meet Sh. S.S Khaplang, Chairman of the NSCN (K) after obtaining requisite clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI. The Joint Team of Naga Hoho and ENPO undertook assignment to Myanmar from the 24th Jan. till the 2nd of Feb. 2016.

Upon reaching Myanmar, the Joint Team initially called on the 5 Naga MPs of Myanmar on 26th Jan. 2016; Myanmar Union Minister Sh. U Aungmin on 27th Jan. 2016; and Emissary/Representative of the Ceasefire Monitoring Group-NSCN (K) at Mandalay, Sh. Kyaw Win Swe on 31st Jan. 2016. An official and formal letter signed by 8 representatives and addressed to Sh. S.S Khaplang, Chairman of the NSCN (K) was submitted to the Emissary, Sh. Kyaw Win Swe appealing for review and resumption of Ceasefire with the GoI. The Team also appealed for equally strengthening the Ceasefire by the NSCN (K) with the Myanmar Government at the highest level. The Joint Team also met Sh. Vipin Sharma, the Consul at the Consulate General of India, Myanmar and highlighted before him the prevailing state of affairs.

Dear Party men and women, I also wish to highlight some few initiatives which the NPF Party had taken even as an Opposition Party. Dear friends, just last month, on 29th Oct. NPF Delegation comprising of 10 MLAs from Nagaland, 4 MLAs from Manipur, 1 MP from Manipur and 2 Central Party Leaders met the 7 NNPGs at Nagaland House, R.K Puram, New Delhi. The Delegation also met the Collective Leadership of NSCN (IM) the next day on 30th Oct. Interaction with both the 7 NNPGs and the NSCN (IM) was very positive and much to the satisfaction and desire of the NPF Party and the Naga people in general, the next day on 31 Oct. 2019, a mutual understanding was reached between the NSCN (IM) & the 7 NNPGs on one hand and the GoI on the other.

Dear Party men and women, all this goes to show without saying that the NPF Party was, and is, always serious with the spirit of inclusiveness while trying to resolve Naga Political issue. Although success or failure of the Naga Political issue does not entirely depend on the NPF Party alone, we not only have a clear conscience but we are proud that we have done our best till date. We have all played our part in different ways and we should continue to do so even in the near future as and when called for.

Dear friends, allow me to dwell a little bit on the tenure of the NPF led DAN-III Government from 2014 May to March 2018. This period can be considered as the most difficult period in the history of Nagaland Legislative Assembly due to internal crisis within the NPF Party but despite all these turmoil situations, we managed to create the most remarkable achievement politically and economically within 4 years of Governance. The highest infrastructural developments had taken places which are now in progress in the State. Our adversaries may or may not agree with us but NPF Party as a regional Party should put our record straight. We must also place on record that whatever we did during the 4 years tenure in the Government, we did without any bias or favoritism to any particular tribe, political Party or Organization.

Dear friends, I ardently feel that it is high time that the NPF Party comes up with Party documentary which can be put in motion by initially setting up an Archive room in NPF Central Office. This will allow people to get a glimpse of the Cock Party and its journey from its inception till date. Proclaiming that NPF is the oldest regional Party without records will have little or no impact on the Society. Maintaining records in digitized form will also be useful especially for the younger generation who are yet to understand the role and contributions of the NPF Party to the Naga Society. As such, it is our moral responsibility to store on record whatever remarkable achievement the Party had made for the people during the last 56 years. This legacy should be left to our younger generation to take the same forward. In this regard, I suggest that the Press Bureau and Legal Cell be entrusted to start collecting all available materials.

My dear friends, let us accept the fact that we have survived through the stormy/turbulent weathers because of each other’s help and support. No single person can lead or nurture a political Party and therefore, let us complement each other and reaffirm our commitment to work together as a family for common good of the NPF Party in particular and the Naga people in general. With the kind of determination and hard work we all possess as Party men and women, I can assure you that we will achieve our desired goal sooner than expected.

Dear Party men and women, although there may exist tough challenges ahead of us, I am confident that there is no problem that cannot be resolved through mutual understanding and cooperation. We all know that the challenge before us is to bring back our Party to power in Nagaland and for this to happen, we have to set aside all our differences and restore confidence and trust in each other. At the same time, mutual understanding within the Party must exist and only then, can we take our Party to victory. In short, let us all remember that we are in the Opposition in Nagaland and we need to work together in unison for a breakthrough.

Before I conclude, my dear friends, I take this opportunity to wish the new team of COB and all frontal Organizations of the NPF Party the very best in all its future endeavors. On this day, as we look forward towards a new beginning, let us renew ourselves with the passion and purpose to take our Party forward. Let us also re-dedicate ourselves to work for the cause of the Naga people while continuing our endeavor of carrying the dreams and aspirations of the Naga people foreword. 

Advent Merry Christmas & a prosperous New Year to you all. Thank you. Kuknalim. God bless us all.

P.S to Opposition Leader

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