Mar 30, 2011

Nagalim: Indian Minister of Nagaland supports Nagas in Burma

The Indian Chief Minister of the state of Nagaland’s call to support the rights of the Nagas in Burma seems sympathetic, but it ignores the reality that the Nagas do not feel fully represented in India either

Below is an article published by The Telegraph:

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio today cited the Tamil Nadu example while voicing his support for rights of Nagas in Myanmar. 

On the final day of the budget session today, Rio asked when the Tamil Nadu government could raise its voice for Tamils in Sri Lanka, why can’t Nagaland do the same for Nagas in Myanmar and elsewhere? 

He dismissed the charges of the Opposition Congress that his Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) had claimed credit for the recognition of Nagas in Myanmar. 

Rio said how his government had pursued the matter with the Centre and Myanmar government for the recognition of the Naga people there. 

“Our delegation had met the Prime Minister, home minister and national security adviser and submitted a memorandum to extend financial assistance to develop Naga-inhabited areas in Myanmar,” the chief minister said. 

The DAN government submitted a memorandum to the Centre last year listing the number of Naga villages, population and townships, along with maps. They also met the ambassador of Myanmar, who had pledged speedy development of Naga-inhabited areas in Myanmar. 

“Why somebody should be so unhappy about the recognition of Naga people in Myanmar?” Rio asked the Opposition. The Opposition has been criticising the DAN for interfering with the internal affairs of Myanmar. 

The chief minister also said his government has been in touch with Naga Hoho in Myanmar, Naga Myanmar Baptist Convention, Naga leaders and other Naga organisations to carry forward the development process. 

“We do everything in a transparent manner,” he said. He said there would be cultural exchange programmes between the Nagas of Nagaland and Myanmar, which will boost emotional integration. 

Rio said Naga leaders in Myanmar have appreciated the welfare initiatives taken by his government. 

“You have achieved what your predecessors could not do,” a letter addressed to him by Naga leaders in Myamnar said. 

“I think we should continue to support them,” the chief minister said adding that people who are criticising them do not understand the ground reality in Myanmar. 

Rio urged Naga lawmakers to work together for development and to facilitate the ongoing peace process. Rio said he was aware that the state government was formed under the Constitution but the Centre had given special status to Nagas and, therefore, their unique identity, culture and tradition need to be protected. 

He was reacting to Congress MLA and PCC president Sungit Jamir’s comment that the Centre had ruled out the demand of sovereignty and integration of Naga-inhabited areas.