Feb 27, 2006

Nagalim: Chief Minister Positive About Indo-Naga Political Solution

All Naga issues, including the contentious issue of greater Nagaland, can be resolved only through negotiations, said Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio
All Naga issues, including the contentious issue of greater Nagaland, can be resolved only through negotiations, said Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. He was addressing a seminar in the capital lately.

The topic of discussion was "Governance in Troubled Times - The Nagaland Experience". This provided a perfect platform for the Chief Minister to have a candid discussion with the intelligentsia and the media in Delhi. For those attending the seminar it was an opportunity to know and understand the state government's position as well as elicit answers on some of the contentious issues.

One question came up: "Mainstream political parties are talking in terms of historical settlement historical lands they have been occupying but when you keep on talking in terms of that, how do you think of getting a solution when other neighboring states are not willing to part with their land?"

Replying to the query Rio said: "In a negotiation there is a give and take. There is always a meeting point so we should handle it out. Otherwise if you get stuck up one way, I get stuck up one way, then there is no way. And the Nagas realize the only way to resolve this issue is through negotiations and through negotiations anything can be settled."

The vexed Indo-Naga political issue, according to chief peace negotiator Oscar Fernandes, has become a logjam in the nine years of the Naga peace talks. The Nagaland Chief Minister believes that over the years a change of mindset has taken place among the people of Nagaland, and this change is best reflected in the overwhelming desire for peace in the state.

"The present mood of Naga people indicates an overwhelming desire for peace and development. There is a growing realization among the Nagas both over-ground and underground that the ongoing peace process and the political dialogue are the best options available to the Naga people today. And that we should make the best use of these opportunities rather than cry hoarse of the lost opportunities," Neiphiu Rio said with a positive note.

The centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, despite some hiccups in the talks with the NSCN (IM), is hopeful of reaching a solution to the decades old problem. He feels that peace and development come together and Nagas have seen that how the situation has improved since 1997 post-ceasefire. So the weight of the people's expectations, he feels, will carry the talks to fruition.

"Shall I tell you 1964 the ceasefire was there, the ceasefire lasted eight years exactly eight years from 1st September to 31 st August 1972... eight years. So these things take time. They cannot be done overnight. They are such complex situations," said K. Padmanabhaiah.

"It could succeed. There are chances of success. The point is one need to thrash out these things. The issues are known on both the sides it is a question of finding solution. There are good chances of finding solution," added the optimistic Padmanabhaiah.

The People of Nagaland too are hopeful that there would be a solution. After all they have tasted the fruit of normalcy. The buzzing market place, the freedom of movement without fear, fresh air of globalization and liberalization- all have rejuvenated the Naga spirits. The youth, who have started moving out to New Delhi and other places for studies and job, represent these societal changes and reflect the desire to leave the past behind and explore the emerging new world.

To make governance more effective Nagaland government has empowered village communities through village council act. This has strengthened community bonds and reaffirmed their traditional role of arbiter of change and progress.

Source: Webindia123.com