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Nagaland governor meets Naga groups, faces criticism for his statement from NSCN(IM), Naga Hoho

Nagaland governor meets Naga groups faces criticism for his statement from NSCN(IM) Naga Hoho

Eastern Times: December 2, 2020, New Delhi,Kohima: Nagaland governor RN Ravi, who is also the Centre’s interlocutor with the Naga groups to work out a political solution towards the Naga peace process, held a closed-door meeting, according to sources, with the working committee of NNPGs in Dimapur on Wednesday.

But after Ravi’s statement on the eve of the 58th Statehood Day of Nagaland on Monday, Naga groups including the Naga Hoho have come out with a strong statement against the governor, generating a fresh controversy over the Naga peace talks issue.

Ravi is learnt to have met the representative of the working committee members of the NNPGs, which comprises of seven Naga groups in Chumukedima in Dimapur, they said.

The meeting was attended by WC-NNPGs’ convener N Kitovi Zhimomi, co-conveners Zhopra Vero, Isak sumi, Z Hozheto Chophy, Kiumukam, Toshi Walling, P Tikhak, Raitu Chawang, coordinator Alezo Venuh, and secretary Ghukiho T Zhimo.

“The Interlocutor assured the Naga people through the WC delegation that this is a moment for Nagas to be steadfast and patient since the Government of India has consistently conveyed its position that all crucial issues have been resolved with the formal negotiations with Naga groups having successfully concluded on 31st Oct 2019,” a statement issued by the media cell of the body said.

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The meeting comes amid criticism by the NSCN(IM), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) and the Naga Hoho of Ravi’s message on the eve of the 58th Statehood Day of Nagaland on Monday.

The NNPGs working committee said that the hour-long interaction focussed on tying loose ends as a prelude to the “imminent solution.”

Since a solution to the political issue is not confined to Nagaland, and while Naga integration will be pursued through a democratic political process, the issue cannot stop the Centre from announcing the solution, it said.

However, consultation with neighbouring states remains equally important, it added. “All mutually agreed matters have been taken to a higher table and it is only a matter of timing as to when the GOI deems it appropriate to announce (the solution) to the Naga people,” it said.

The working committee said the Naga people should be cautious, prayerful and be aware of “restless and desperate elements”.

The NSCN(IM) and NSF expressed strong resentment over Ravi’s statement on the eve of the statehood day.

NSCN(IM), which is a part of the negotiations, said, “Any person on Earth that runs the blood of the Nagas will certainly have been provoked by the irresponsible statement made by RN Ravi, the Governor of Nagaland state.” It alleged, “His assertion that some of the civil societies under his payroll are the main stakeholders on the Indo-Naga Issue and therefore their decision must be supreme is farce.”

As the governor of Nagaland, Ravi is advised “not to bite off more than he can chew” as far as the issue is concerned, it added.

The NSF, the apex students’ body of the state, said it was a “shallow attempt” by the governor to “mislead” the Naga people.

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“His (Ravi’s) mandated role should be to find a common ground for all the Naga people and not instigate further division by patronizing an agreement brought about by declared ‘traitors’ of the Naga cause,” the NSF said.

The wishes of the Naga people for the early conclusion of the peace process should in no way be construed as the Naga peoples’ willingness to accept anything and everything that is handed over to them, it added.

On Monday Ravi had stated that there would be no separate flag and constitution, to achieve a solution to the Naga political issue, while the NSCN(IM) has always been demanding them.

The governor had said, “The Indian national flag and Constitution are the pride of the people of India. The Government of India is absolutely clear that there is and there shall be only one national flag and Constitution in India… Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies… They are trying to confuse and mislead people.”

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Naga Hoho, an apex body of the tribal organizations, condemned the governor’s statement.

Ravi seems to have been glorifying the controversial Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC), said Naga Hoho president HK Zhimomi and general secretary K Elu Ndang in a statement. “We had the notion that Ravi was unlike other interlocutors in the past and had great hope that during his tenure something could be worked out and he had wisely understood the Naga political problem and its history of more than seventy years.

We never expected such an antagonistic statement from a brilliant, intelligent and self-respecting Interlocutor who is supposed to be a harbinger of peace,” the Hoho leaders said. They said Ravi’s entire utterances are to create division among the Nagas.

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