Amidst ongoing talks between the NSCN (I-M) and Intelligence Bureau officials, the Opposition Naga People’s Front Legislature Party on Tuesday withdrew from the Joint Legislators Forum (JLF) on Naga Political Issue with immediate effect.

The party took the decision at a meeting at the residence of the Opposition leader TR Zeliang in Dimapur to discuss the existing JLF on Naga Political Issue. It adopted two resolutions at the meeting.

The legislators of the NPF withdrew their membership from the JLF with immediate effect.

However, the NPF and its legislature wing will continue to be active facilitators of the Naga political issue.

The NPF Legislature Party said the JLF has become a mere forum without any tangible roadmap to the Naga political issue on its part.

The party said the present set up of the JLF is facing a huge trust deficit and there exists no further purpose in continuing this forum.

There is neither real activity nor productivity on the ground, it added.

The NPF also said there is no valid reason for the NPF to continue to remain as part of the JLF when the ruling dispensation does not have confidence in its legislators.

The party said its request to have a three-day session to discuss important issues confronting the Naga people, including the Naga political issue, was rejected even during the last 6th session of the 13th Nagaland Assembly.

The JLF has failed to make any progress due to the half-hearted approach of the present-day government after it was reconstituted on September 18, 2018, it said.

The NPF said the signing of the Framework Agreement between the NSCN (I-M) and the government of India on August 3, 2015, and the Agreed Position between the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and the Centre on November 17, 2017, created a conducive atmosphere for JLF to assist and accelerate the ongoing peace process.

Though the JLF meetings were convened after the two pacts were signed, inaction on the part of the present-day government rendered the JLF an ineffective forum, the NPF said.

The party said its legislators proposed in almost all the JLF meetings that members in the forum should meet the Prime Minister, Home Minister, and other central leaders to urge them to bring the long-pending Naga political issue to a logical conclusion.

However, the proposal has failed to see the light of the day till date, it added.

The party said the JLF, as suggested by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, had constituted a core committee with 20 members, including five legislators of the NPF, and held three meetings till date.

In these meetings, the NPF legislators had suggested that a delegation representing various political parties and tribe representatives should meet the PM and Home Minister to apprise them for an early solution to the issue.

The same was reiterated at the last meeting of the core committee of the JLF in Dimapur on March 8 but the chief minister came up with excuses and it was kept in abeyance, the NPF said.

At the JLF meeting in Kohima on May 2, the proposal was put forth yet again but the chief minister again came up with an excuse that the civil societies should first be consulted before such a move is initiated.

It said the chief minister had never expressed his mind or divulged about his meetings with the Central leadership in any of the JLF or its core committee meetings for the members to carry forward the matter as facilitator towards realising the Naga political issue.

It said when October 31, 2019, was set as the deadline for the conclusion of the Naga political talks, the present-day government paid least attention in convening a meeting of the JLF.

An NPF Legislature Party delegation along with some party central office-bearers proceeded to Delhi on October 28, 2019, and met leaders of the seven NNPGs and the NSCN (I-M) on October 29 & 30 respectively there.

“There was a positive response from both the groups and subsequently, on the evening of October 31, 2019, it was informed that both the parties had arrived at a mutual understanding,” the NPF said.

On August 5 this year, the Union Home Minister called the chief minister and Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to Delhi and they met him on August 6.

While the chief minister on his return maintained an eerie silence on what transpired in the meeting, it was learnt from the Assam finance minister through his interactions with the media that the meeting was in regard to bringing about permanent peace in the Northeast and that the Centre was keen on resolving the Naga issue.

“The silence of the chief minister is best known to him alone,” the NPF said.

Bhadra Gogoi

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