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Rio slams Centre for impasse

- Chief minister wants Naga issue settled

Kohima, March 21: The state government today castigated the Centre for not being honest about the Naga political problem.

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio said his government has been honest about the Naga political problem and sought a settlement but the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has not been honest about the issue.

He was optimistic that the outcome of the current talks between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) would bring lasting peace in the state.

Rio said his government was voted to power for a third term, as it has been honest about Naga issues.

He said 17 years of negotiation between the Centre and the NSCN, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thiungaleng Muivah, was too long and that there has to be a solution, so that the state could progress on all fronts.

“Seventeen years of negotiation is a great concern,” he told the Assembly.

He said despite his government playing the role of an active facilitator in the talks, the Centre has never taken the state government into confidence. He said the progress of the talks between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) was never relayed to the state government but quoting reliable sources and the Centre’s interlocutor, the chief minister said the governments of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh were consulted on the issue.

“We will continue to pursue an early solution to the Naga issue,” he said, adding that the people want a settlement so that they could live in peace.

Protest

Several hundreds of work-charged employees today staged a dharna at the entrance of Nagaland civil secretariat, demanding regularisation of services.

The demonstration was organised by All Nagaland Inter-departmental Field Staff Associations Joint Forum. The forum, which comprises work-charged employees from several departments, has been demanding regularisation of their services and implementation of Revise of Pay.

There are more than 7000 work-charged employees. The association has threatened to intensify its agitation if their demands were not accepted. They have threatened to block roads, cut the supply of electricity and water supplies.

Work-charged employees in the state have also not been regularly paid. Yesterday, teachers appointed under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan staged a protest at the entrance of Nagaland Assembly Secretariat demanding release of their pending salaries for four months.