Nagaland Assembly forms panel on Naga political issue

The Nagaland Assembly has formed a seven-member drafting committee on the Naga political issue that has been hanging fire for more than two decades.

Set up by Speaker Sharingain Longkumer on February 16, the panel comprises MLAs from ruling and Opposition parties, besides an independent.

The MLAs who are part of the committee are Toshi Wungtung and Neiba Kronu of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Pangnyu Phom and Jacob Zhimomi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Chotisu Sazo and Imkong L. Imchen of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and Tongpang Ozukum, an independent.

After decades of armed extremism, peace dawned on Nagaland in 1997 after the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (IM), declared a ceasefire.

Several rounds of talks have, however, failed to yield a solution to the political problem, apart from the August 2015 Framework Agreement between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) and the November 2017 Agreed Position between the Centre and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).

The NNPGs comprise seven armed groups that rival the NSCN (IM).

Discussing the problems created by the protracted Naga conflict in the Assembly, NDPP legislator Toyang Chang advocated adapting to changes and called for a united effort to move forward.

BJP legislator Imna Along acknowledged the positive efforts of the Nagaland government in arriving at a solution. “The adoption of certain resolutions at the consultative meeting on the issue in October 2020 was a leap in the right direction. But we must remove differences between various stakeholders,” he said.

The NPF’s Y. Vikheho Swu sought the reconstitution of the Joint Legislators’ Forum so that MLAs can make a meaningful contribution towards resolving the Naga issue. The NPF had quit this forum in August 2020 citing “huge trust deficit”.

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