Neiphiu Rio
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio seen with Nagaland Adolescent Girls Club on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day celebration at Kohima. Image credit - Twitter

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday urged the “neighbouring states” to pave way for “integration” of the areas inhabited by the Nagas.

Delivering his Independence Day speech at Kohima, Rio said it has been a longstanding desire of the people for integration of all the contiguous Naga inhabited areas.

“We have always supported the cause as a democratic right of the Naga people,” Rio said.

Rio made his appeal to the neighbouring states to recognize the history, the yearning and the democratic rights of the Nagas.

However, the Chief Minister did not take the names of the neigouring states – Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Nagas, especially the NSCN (IM), have been demanding for integration of the Naga-inhibited areas in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to give shape to “Nagalim”.

All the three neighbouring states are opposed to the demand for physical or political integration of the Naga-inhabited areas.

“The truest traditions of mutual respect and understanding can pave way for the integration of the contiguous areas inhabited by the Naga people,” Rio said.

The Chief Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to the Naga political issue, and claimed that it continues to occupy the highest place on the state government’s agenda.

“The Joint Legislators’ Forum (JLF) on the Naga political issue welcomed R. N. Ravi as the Governor of Nagaland,” Rio said, adding that the JLF is optimistic that Ravi’s appointment will expedite the political negotiations.

As negotiations with NSCN (IM) have been going on for the last 22 years, the CM said everyone should sit across the table and iron out differences for the sake of Naga people.

“We must not let go this golden opportunity as peace has eluded us for too long,” Rio said.

Rio added that it is the most opportune time to expedite the political dialogue for an early, honourable and acceptable solution.

The Chief Minister thanked New Delhi for the assurance that Article 371A is a solemn and sacred commitment to the people of Nagaland.

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