Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the consultative meeting in Kohima on Thursday.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday said the Centre had made it clear that there will be only “one solution” to the Indo-Naga political issue.

Chief minister Rio said this in his keynote address at a consultative meeting on the Naga political issue with the tribal hohos, civil society organisations, political parties, prominent personalities and NGOs at the State Banquet Hall in Kohima.

Rio said Union home minister Amit Shah clarified and reiterated this at a meeting with him and deputy chief minister Y Patton on September 19.

He said they have been meeting leaders and representatives across all affiliations including representatives of the Centre over the past years and months on the issue.

Opposition Naga People’s Front (NFF) and the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee stayed away from the meeting.

Stressing that the message from the Government of India has been very clear, Rio said today’s consultative meeting was held to convey this message among others.

“We need to deliberate and support the peace process, strengthen the negotiations and facilitate the journey towards achievement of this “one solution” in the earliest time possible,” Rio stated.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of the Naga talks reaching a crucial stage.

The Centre is holding parallel talks with the NSCN (I-M) and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), a conglomeration of seven Naga political groups, to hammer out solution to the Naga issue.

“Today’s gathering is not only historic, but it also sends out a clear message to the Government of India and the world that theNagas want genuine peace and that we continue to strive towards oneness and unity as one Naga family. I am sure our voice and our desire will be heard across boundaries,” Rio said

Rio acknowledged the Naga history but said he looked forward to the roadmap ahead.

“Today is perhaps not a day to dwell on history as we are all aware of our past. While it is important to understand and respect history, it is all the more crucial to focus on the roadmap ahead. We cannot allow ourselves to be tied down with history. We have to move forward,” he said.

Quoting the Bible, Rio said the body without the spirit is dead, so also, faith without deed is dead.

“Therefore, we need to make sincere efforts to journey together as a people,” he added.

The way forward

Rio said if the Nagas as a people are to achieve progress and realise “our aspirations as a people, we must come together like today.

“We must also accept that our biggest challenge today is division. We all know that this situation is only leading to self-destruction.”

He said the only way forward is unity and oneness as one Naga family.

“It is in this spirit that we must all relentlessly continue to pursue realisation of genuine peace through a political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights and on the unique history and position of the Nagas,” he stated.

An agreement that is based on “contemporary realities, one that will end violent confrontation and will usher in a future vision that will be built with the genius of the Naga people”.

Appreciation to Centre and national workers

Rio took the opportunity to extend collective appreciation and gratefulness to the Government of India for acknowledging the unique history and culture of the Naga people and for recognition of the Naga movement as a political movement.

He also acknowledged and appreciates the sacrifices and sufferings of the Naga nationalist organisations.

The Naga journey has reached thus far because of the supreme sacrifices, innumerable sufferings, and incomparable contributions of the national workers, Rio said.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com