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CM Rio appeals for oneness & unity; ‘Division is only leading to self-destruction’

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio appeals for oneness and unity; 'Our biggest challeng is Division, which is only leading to self-destruction'
(Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the consultative meeting on Naga political issue | Photo: DIPR)

Kohima, October 15 (NEx): A Consultative Meeting on Naga Political Issue called by the Government of Nagaland with the tribal Hohos, Civil Society Organisations, Political Parties, Prominent Personalities, NGOs, etc was held today at the State Banquet Hall, Chief Minister’s Residential Complex, Kohima.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio during his address said that ‘our biggest challenge today is division. We all know that this situation is only leading to self-destruction.’ While appealing for the unity and oneness, CM Rio said, we must set aside our differences, rise above affiliations and hear the cry of our people.’

The consultative meeting, after extensive deliberation and discussion, unanimously passed a seven point resolution.

The house appreciate Govt of India for acknowledging the unique history of Nagas and for recognizing the Naga Issue as political issue.

The house acknowledged the sacrifices and contributions of the Nationalist workers in the course of Naga political journey. It also expressed gratitude to the civil societies and church for consistent support towards the Naga cause and making constant efforts towards reconciliation and oneness.

The house also affirmed its commitment and continuously work towards a political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights to determine our future on the unique history and position of the Nagas.

It also urged the Naga political group to honour and respect the covenant of reconciliation and maintain the sanctity of non-violence in letter and spirit for a shared Naga future as members of one Naga family.

The house also appealed the negotiating groups to come together under a spirit of oneness, mutual trust and understanding with sincerity and commitment towards achieving one solution for one people as early as possible.

Keynote address of the Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, during the Consultative Meeting today;

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said, ‘Over the past years and months, we have been meeting leaders and representatives across all affiliations including representatives of the Government of India. In my last meeting with the Honourable Union Home Minister, Shri. Amit Shah on September 19, 2020, I was accompanied by my colleague, Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Yanthungo Patton. The GoI have made it clear and further reiterated that there will be only “One Solution” for the Indo-Naga political issue. This message from GoI has been very clear, and one of the reasons for today’s consultative meeting is this message.

Having understood that there will be only “One Solution”, we need to deliberate and support the peace process, strengthen the negotiations and facilitate the journey towards achievement of this “One Solution” in the earliest time possible.

Acknowledging history but looking forward;

Since the beginning of the Naga consciousness with our exposure during the First World War, followed by the formation of the Naga Club, Memorandum to the Simon Commission, formation of the NNC, till today, the Naga journey has been long, arduous and filled with pain, suffering and sacrifices. Along the way, there have been significant achievements with stories of triumph, while there have also been failures. Looking back at history, we must come to an understanding that our achievements and our failures are all collective. We need to cross the bridge of blame and move towards a matured approach of collective responsibility for all our achievements and failures. Only then, can we move forward, towards a progressive environment of A Shared Future Together.

Today is perhaps not a day to dwell on history as we are all aware of our past. While it is important to understand and respect history, it is all the more crucial to focus on the roadmap ahead. We cannot allow ourselves to be tied down with history. We have to move forward. As the Bible says, the body without the spirit is dead, so also, faith without deed is dead, and therefore, we need to make sincere efforts to journey together as a people.

Appreciation to GoI and National Workers;

I take this opportunity to extend our collective appreciation and gratefulness to the Government of India for acknowledging the unique history and culture of the Naga people and for recognition of the Naga movement as a political movement.

It is also most appropriate that we acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices and sufferings of the Naga nationalist organisations. The Naga journey has reached thus far because of the supreme sacrifices, innumerable sufferings, and incomparable contributions of the national workers. Every Naga family, across our homelands, have given our blood and tears, in a journey that has deeply impacted our people, for decades and generations.

We also place on record, our gratitude towards the tribal hohos, mass based civil societies, the church organisations and NGOs for their consistent support and contributions towards the Naga cause and for making constant efforts towards reconciliation and oneness. It is because of the wholesome support of all sections that our journey has come this far.

We also reiterate our appreciation to the negotiating parties for the signing of the Framework Agreement on 3rd August, 2015 and the Agreed Position on 17th November, 2017.

The way forward;

If Nagas as a people are to achieve progress and realise our aspirations as a people, we must come together like today. We must also accept that our biggest challenge today is division. We all know that this situation is only leading to self-destruction. During the British era, a divide and rule policy was used to govern, which was inherited by India, and till today our society is thoroughly divided, which has created too many groups and organisations leading to different opinions and voices.

The only way forward is unity and oneness as One Naga Family. And it is in this spirit that we must all relentlessly continue to pursue realisation of genuine peace through a “political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights” and on the “unique history and position of the Nagas”. An agreement that is based on “contemporary realities, one that will end violent confrontation and will usher in a future vision that will be built with the genius of the Naga people”.

Our history goes back thousands of years, we have been a people since times immemorial, and our civilisation is hundreds years old. But we still need to journey towards a progressive and civilised society, in the true sense of the word. We need to begin by truly respecting each other, and make all efforts to strengthen the foundations of real democracy in our society. And likewise, we must journey together, towards our political aspirations, under a spirit of mutual respect within ourselves, a commitment for peaceful co-existence in our society and with our neighbours, and a resolve to adhere to democratic principles.

Appeal for oneness, unity, understanding & emergence of the Naga voice;

Today’s meeting is indeed historic. It is in this manner, and with such an approach, that our voice will be heard by the Government of India and we will gain the trust of the international community. Today must signify a new phase where we all collectively aspire to strengthen the pursuit of peace, and the realisation of that “One Solution”. We must set aside our differences, rise above affiliations and hear the cry of our people. The Naga Voice must rise above all other considerations and we need to leave no stone unturned to ensure that we leave a lasting legacy behind, which will be cherished for generations to come.

Once again, I reiterate our common voice for unity. Ours is a Journey of Common Hope and we must reconcile for A Shared Naga Future. It is also our appeal to our brothers and sisters in the nationalist political groups to honour and respect the Covenant of Reconciliation, which was signed on 13th June, 2009, and the Lenten Agreement of 28th March, 2014, while maintaining the sanctity of non-violence in letter and spirit.

I once again thank each and every one of you for your participation in today’s Consultative Meeting. Today’s House must be the Collective Voice of the Naga people, a voice that aspires for true unity, with the clear intent to achieve a political settlement that will usher-in a new era of progress, for the present and the future generations of Nagas. I wish the deliberations all success, with the hope that a new chapter in our collective journey will begin from today onwards as One United Naga Family.

Thank You – God Bless – Kuknalim’ – unquote.

It is pertinent to note that, Opposition party, Naga People’s Front, Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee did not attend the consultative meeting held today.