The Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, clarified on Wednesday his statement on the integration of contiguous Naga areas. He had reportedly told a TV channel on June 12 last in New Delhi after meeting the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, that “geographical integration of contiguous Naga areas is not feasible at this juncture”.
Rio said in a statement on Wednesday in Dimapur that he conveyed to the media whatever was told to him by the Centre on the issue of integration.
The Chief Minister’s statement had ruffled many a feathers with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) terming Rio’s statement as “irrational and irresponsible” and stating that it was nothing but a direct challenge to the “Naga national cause”.
Rio said that he was just “conveying” the Centre’s stand on the said issue and the same was “misinterpreted and sensationalised by a section of the media”. He hoped that with his clarification all “speculations will be put to rest”.
The CM also appealed to the Naga people to unite and “give peace a leg-up”. “Negotiations have been going on for the last 21 years and now the people of Nagaland want long-lasting solution to the vexed Naga problem,” Rio remarked.
“I had clearly mentioned that the demand for integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas is genuine,” he said, while adding that “New Delhi has also realised that it is indeed a genuine problem”.
Rio further stated, “That integration of contiguous Naga areas is not possible is not my personal views nor the views of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) or the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) Government.”
Rio made it clear that his Government’s policy is to ensure that the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks “go off smoothly”. “We will continue to extend our support and cooperation for an early resolution to the decade-old imbroglio through a political agreement that is honourable and acceptable to the people,” Rio asserted.
Maintaining that his track record on the Naga political movement over the decades speaks volumes for itself, Rio said he and his Government has never deviated from their stand on the Naga peace process and the issue of integration.