Kohima, Aug. 16: The Nagaland government today reiterated the integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas while proposing an autonomous council for the four “backward” districts.
Unfurling the national flag on Independence Day at secretariat plaza yesterday, chief minister Neiphiu Rio said taking into consideration the sentiments of the people of Tuensang, Longleng, Mon and Kiphire, the government has decided to propose the creation of an autonomous council for them. Rio said this would meet the aspirations of the people with empathy and magnanimity without creating an atmosphere of acrimony and mistrust.
The chief minister, however, said Nagaland being a small state, further division would create serious a roadblock for the future progress of the Nagas.
“So we continue to stand by the four resolutions passed by the Nagaland Assembly calling for integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative umbrella,” Rio said.
He said the Centre knows what is best for the Naga people and, therefore, he had requested the Union government to give its decision at the earliest.
The chief minister said Nagaland was gradually emerging out of the long shadows of violence and turmoil and at present the state was enjoying a relatively peaceful atmosphere, the likes of which has not been seen for decades. He said this has been possible because of people’s desire for peace in the state.
“The state government appreciates the tireless efforts of law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organisations, tribal hohos, civil societies, the church and Forum for Naga Reconciliation which have worked very hard to bring about reconciliation and unity amongst the Naga underground groups,” he said.
Rio also vowed to curb extortion and said law enforcement agencies have been instructed to track down extortionists and put them behind bars. “Government departments and business establishments are being advised to resist such demands and to inform the police,” he said.