Sunday, August 14, 2022

Avoid ‘loose remarks’ on Naga political issue: TR Zeliang to Naga leaders

Seeking to cap statements in the media and debates on social media over the Naga political issue, chairman of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) T.R. Zeliang has appealed to all Naga leaders to refrain from airing their views “based on personal speculation of the Indo-Naga political issue in public domain.”
Zeliang in a statement said that as chairman of UDA, he was reminding “over-ground Naga leaders who are under oath of allegiance to the constitution of India” that they must refrain from “making loose remarks on the matter.”
Zeliang said it is understood that every Naga leader has the right to give suggestion and advice but this should not be “shaped out of one’s desire to make an impact on the state political scenario and at the expense of the Indo-Naga political issue.”
While noting that lawmakers and public leaders had the right to speak out for the common welfare of Nagas, Zeliang reminded that, in the 1960s “overground groups were part of the negotiation” and today the Naga nationalist groups are part of the negotiation.
He also said in 1960, the negotiation was between the government of India and the Nagas where the 16 Point Agreement was executed between the two parties. However, the agreement was “without the consent of the undivided Naga National Council (NNC)” and therefore, the armed conflict continued till today.
Zeliang said the UDA government was focussed on “inclusiveness-which means all the Naga nationalist groups, should be part of the long-awaited Peace Accord” in order that the same mistake was not repeated.
“Any unwarranted statement” by Naga leaders “outside the parameters of the ongoing negotiation” between the Naga negotiating groups and government of India, “will mislead the Naga people” even before the draft agreement is formulated by the government of India and place before the Naga leaders, Zeliang said.
On scepticism over the secrecy of the competencies, Zeliang said it cannot be believed that such “a complex and sensitive issue” will be inked secretly and imposed on our people” . He said as desired by the Nagas and trusting that once the negotiating parties have arrived at a common ground, they “will surely consult all the apex tribal leaders and state government before inking the final accord.”
He said it was “widely understood, that the two sides have agreed to most of the competencies and have arrived at a meeting point”, therefore, it was premature to conclude that some key issues, that Nagas aspired for, “will not be included in the Agreement.”
Zeliang dismissed as absolutely wrong “speculations that post-solution, the present state of Nagaland will cease to exist” and speculation that Ntangki National Park will be deforested “by the government of India and allotted to Naga nationalist workers for resettlement” as “outside the box of negotiation.”
Zeliang said this was confirmed “from both sides” who said such a demand was never placed before the government of India by either of the negotiating group and that it was “totally a work of fiction” without an iota of truth. He said even if such a demand came up in future, the government of India “will never agree to such a proposal, as we were made known by the Indian Representative of the Peace Talks.”
He said all 60 legislators of Nagaland are committed to “pave way for smooth transition, as and when a final settlement to the protracted Indo-Naga issues takes place”, but the demand for resignation of “democratically elected members at this juncture by individuals and certain section of society is uncalled for.”
In view of the above, Zeliang said the present UDA government requests all Naga organisations and Naga leaders to avoid issuing public statements “based on speculation and hearsays” since this was “bound to confuse and mislead the Naga people at this crucial juncture when the Indo-Naga peace talks are at the threshold of a final breakthrough.”
He said after formation of UDA government under the leadership of chief minister Neiphiu Rio, the coalition began working “more vigorously towards Naga political settlement by consulting negotiating parties and central leadership like the prime minister and home minister” adding that presently, “things are moving with positivity.”
He said the UDA government has conveyed the sentiment of the Naga negotiating groups to the central leadership and that government of India “should not change its stand from what had been committed to the Nagas in written through R.N. Ravi or A.K. Mishra” as both represented the government of India at different periods.
Zeliang also conveyed the message to the Naga negotiating groups and the government of India that both parties “should not back down from what has been committed to each other” during the last 25 years, either verbally or in writing, so that Naga people can expect the talks “to come to a logical conclusion at the earliest.”


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