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Naga groups to discuss nationality

Kohima, Jan. 5: A brainstorming session to discuss “Naga nationalism” will be held in New Delhi next Saturday and Sunday.

The session, to be held at the International Islamic Centre, is being jointly organised by Naga organisations led by Naga Hoho, the apex body of the Nagas, and prominent civil society groups.

The former secretary general of Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, Niengulo Krome, said the consultation session was necessitated by the impending Indo-Naga political solution. He said discussions with civil society groups were important to give impetus to the Naga peace process.

Krome, a former general secretary of Naga Hoho, said Delhi was chosen as the venue to attract the attention of all sections of people in India and abroad.

Naga Hoho president Kevilietuo Kewhuo said the session would be hectic as hundreds of leaders of Naga organisations and civil society groups were expected to attend. Hoho general secretary Chuba Ozukum said the session was important as a solution to the decades-old Indo-Naga political problem was pending despite several rounds of talks with the Centre.

In 2001, the Hoho had organised a “journey of conscience” and met a cross-section of people from neighbouring states and other parts of the country to accelerate the peace process. Organisations from Manipur had, however, refused to meet the Naga leaders. The Naga Hoho has submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission to defer the Nagaland Assembly elections, slated for February/March, stating that the Nagas want a solution and not an election.

In 1998, all political parties led by Naga Hoho — except the Congress led by former chief minister S.C. Jamir — had boycotted the Assembly election. Naga leaders said while they were concerned about an early solution to the Indo-Naga problem, they had no doubt about the Centre’s sincerity. They feel the peace process could have progressed well had there been better coordination between Indian policymakers.

A Naga leader said there was lack of coordination between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Union home ministry.

Some Naga leaders, however, questioned the Centre’s sincerity in resolving the Naga issue, saying that it has barred foreigners, including peace brokers, who support the Nagas’ cause, from entering the country. The Centre had deported Rev. Michael Scott of Canada, a member of the peace mission of Nagaland Baptist Church Council, which had brokered peace between Naga militants and the Centre that led to the signing of a ceasefire on September 6, 1964. Recently, it did not allow NSCN (I-M) members to attend the general session of Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organisation, of which the Naga group is a member, at the Hague.


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