Kohima, June 14 (EMN): The Naga People’s Front (NSF) has stated surprise at what it called the contradictory statement of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on the issue of Naga integration and the Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016, which appeared in the media on June 13.
Strongly condemning and opposing the statement of Rio made in NELive that ‘integration of Naga-inhabited areas would not be possible under the current situation’, NPF spokesperson, Achumbemo Kikon during a press briefing said this statement of the chief minister is belittling the chair that he holds because he represents the state of Nagaland.
As chief minister of the state, Kikon strongly maintained that Rio owes an explanation to the people of Nagaland and the Nagas as a whole as to why integration is not possible.
Kikon, however, asserted in no uncertain term that ‘this statement does not represent the ways of the Naga People’s Front (NPF)’ as NPF, a party which stands for the Nagas and a party who has been all out propagating for a shared Naga homeland for a unified Naga homeland where integration of contiguous Naga areas has and is its primary objective.
Coming all out rejecting the statement of Rio, Kikon maintained that his statement is ‘totally negating the aspiration of the Naga people’ for the reason that “this is not only a design to live under one administrative rule but it is also a right of the Naga people because our land and our people have been divided not on our own volition but without our consent.”
Reminding that Rio has resigned from the Congress ministry in 2002 opposing the publication of the booklet ‘Bedrock of Naga society’ published by the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, Kikon said the Naga people at that point of time appreciated his stand and consequent upon which, he was voted to power in 2003.
Member of Legislative Assembly Imkong Imchen said it failed to understand why and how Rio has changed his political principle overnight wherein he has been barking Naga integration as the birthright of the Nagas till the other day.
Referring to Rio’s statement, Imchen said in political term ‘not possible’ mean ‘not supporting’ and therefore, he said Rio is against the integration of Nagas adding that ‘Rio has openly declared that he doesn’t support integration’.
He also reminded that Rio was very much part and parcel of the NPF for the last 15 years and its NPF government and till the other day, Rio, as the then NPF leader believes that the integration of the Nagas is the birthright of the Naga people and there is no common room for compromise to this principle stand.
Also stating that integration of the Naga contiguous area was also important component of the 16th Point Agreement para (13) and Constitution of India Article 371 (A) Clause-IV, Imchen pointed out that the Naga People Convention (NPC) has demanded for integration of Nagas living inhabiting in contiguous areas should be allowed to join the new Nagaland state.
To this, he said the government of India has referred the matter to the Constitution Article 3 and 4 and that at that point of time, GoI has not openly rejected the demand for Naga integration but rather agreed in principle with the NPC.
“This is totally against the aspiration and sentiment of the Naga people when the negotiating Naga political groups are trying their best to hammered up a solution” said Kikon and opined that instead of taking the issue forward and putting a positive impetus, Rio statement itself is a hurdle for the peace process and towards solution.
On the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 wherein Rio is stated to have clarified that ‘at no point of time has his government opposed the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill’, Kikon said ‘the NPF is shocked to see that the chief minister has openly declared that he support the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.
Condemning the statement Rio who stated that ‘Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Article 371 (A) are already in force in Nagaland and provided enough protection to the state’, Kikon has asked the chief minister to explain why and how is it enough in providing protection to the state.
Stating that there is a total contradiction in what Rio is ‘acting and speaking’; Kikon opined that instead of supporting the movement if the government of the day makes that kind of statement then the “existence of the PDA government is a threat to the identity of the Nagas and Naga people must realise that the longer this government stays, the bigger the threat will be for the Nagas.”
At the same time, he reminded that NPF is and will continue to fight and voice out for the strict enforcement of the ILP and its introduction all over the state, including Dimapur.
‘Despite ILP and Article 371 (A) Nagaland has become the most vulnerable state for illegal immigrants’ said Kikon and insisted that Rio support to the Bill will totally compromise the future of the Naga people.
“Taking all this into account, the NPF is of the view that under Neiphiu Rio, the future of the Nagas is no longer safe”, it added.
NPF opposes CM’s statement on Citizenship Amendment bill