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Cong prods Centre on Naga talks

Kohima, Aug. 10: The Nagaland Congress has again urged the Centre to expedite the ongoing peace talks with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah).

Chairman of the political affairs committee (PAC) of the PCC, K.V. Pusa, while welcoming the Centre’s new interlocutor R.N. Ravi, urged the NDA government to expedite the 17-year-old dialogue.

He said appointing interlocutors one after another would not resolve the issue but insisted that both sides should expedite talks with sincere efforts to reach a logical conclusion to the protracted Naga political problem.

Pusa, a former PCC president, had also met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi several times and asked them to expedite the peace process and hammer out a solution which would be honourable and acceptable to the people. He had also met Manipur leaders to soften their rigid stand on the issue.

The Congress leader said he would soon convene a PAC meeting to discuss the latest development in the peace process but added that meeting of leaders time and again would not resolve the issue unless there is some progress on the talks. But he did not rule out the committee meeting central leaders.

On the proposed Nagaland special economic development zone along the Assam border, Pusa welcomed the initiative to uplift the economy of the state but at the same time cautioned that such an initiative should not dilute the provisions of Article 371(A) of the Constitution, which guaranteed the rights of Naga people over land and resources. He asked the state government to delete any resolution, which could affect the constitutional provisions.

On the controversy over the Nagaland Total Prohibition Act, 1989, Pusa appreciated the views expressed by NGOs, the Church and the public and said there were some drawbacks in its implementation but it was not a total failure. He said though the government has failed to enforce the act in totality, there has been some impact in rural areas owing to the initiatives of NGOs and the Church.

Pusa said the act should be reinforced and strengthened, especially in urban areas. He also lauded the efforts of NGOs and the Church in enforcing prohibition in some villages, adding that the government should respect the sentiment of the people. “Lifting of the prohibition act at this juncture is not advisable.”

Welcoming new governor P.B. Acharya, he said, “I hope he brings good governance which is the aspiration of the people.”

He appreciated the governor’s concern on proxy teachers in government schools and urged the government to do away with the concept.