Neiphiu Rio
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said decades-long strife has prevented the Nagas from seeing the other side of peace and development in reality.

Rio said this while addressing the 72nd general session of the United Sangtam Students’ conference at Seyochung village in Kiphire district on Wednesday.

Rio said the time has come for the Nagas to shed all differences, unite, reconcile, forgive and forget to build the future in oneness and harmony, a CMO release said on Thursday.

“As leaders of tomorrow, the students need to understand Naga history and take up the responsibilities of changing the mindset of the people towards peace, progress, and development,” he said.

Quoting an adage that a child without education is like a bird without wings, Rio said learning is a life-long process.

He said education prepares a child to face the realities of life as it sets one free by giving an individual the power to think, reason, understand, act and also to obey the rule of law.

The chief minister also said the people have to overcome and shed the tag of backwardness otherwise it will only be self-defeating.

He stated that the advent of Christianity in Nagaland in 1872 was the best thing that happened to the Nagas.

He also recalled the quasquicentennial celebrations of 125 years of Christianity in Nagaland from November 27-30, 1997 under the theme ‘From Darkness To Light’.

The call to peace and reconciliation remains as relevant and urgent today as it was twenty years ago when on November 27-30, 1997 the quasquicentennial celebration of 125 years of Christianity in conflict-torn Nagaland was held.

“So, as students, you have to obey your parents, your teachers, and you have to focus on the Christian teachings and values so that we can get quality and real education,” he said.

Saying that the Nagas are at a crucial juncture in the Naga political issue, the chief minister pointed out that negotiations between the negotiating parties successfully concluded on October 31 last year on a positive note.

Towards this end, Rio pointed out that all the 60 MLAs under the banner of the Joint Legislators Forum on the Naga political issue joined hands to facilitate the peace process so that a solution comes about.

“We hope that we will unite and bring settlement for peace and development of our state and to get the opportunities for the youth to pursue their goals and their dreams.”

“This is our dream, this is our hope and I feel that if we unite, we can achieve this in a few months’ time. We have hope in our youth that you will realise the importance of peace and live in harmony with ourselves and with our neighbours,” Rio said.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: