Rio officially launches his party Naga People`s Front in Manipur

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IMPHAL May 28: Disregarding the state government`™s advisory on not to enter the state on grounds of security problems, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio arrived at Senapati district headquarter public ground to attend the formal launch of the Naga People`™s Front (NPF) today.

The neighbouring state Chief Minister`™s entourage consisted of many of his senior legislators including ministers TR Zeliang, Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu and CM Chang, MP of Lok Sabha and other NPF functionaries.

The function began with an invocation by Rev. H Gideon and followed by flag hoisting and declaration of the formal launching of the party. The NPF president Dr Shurhozelie hoisted the NPF flag and officially declared the state unit open.

The NPF dignitaries in their speech mainly emphasized on the need to integrate the Nagas under a common administrative umbrella.

Speaking at the occasion, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio applauded the Manipur NPF members for embracing the regional political party while stating that the occasion is a historic one.

`We have come in peace, and I specially thank the Union Home Minister, Chidambaram for prevailing over the Manipur government and allowing us to be here with you. I had served my tour program to the Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi to visit Senapati to launch the NPF, the letter came back saying that the law and order situation are not conducive for me and my team to visit. However, I have come to launch the party and we don`™t intend to create any problems, but have arrived just to propagate the positive programs of the party, we will go back in peace`, he said.

He also mentioned that the Senapati DC and Superintendent of Police urged him to conduct a peaceful meeting and to go back early and peacefully.

`We have a right to assemble and discuss about our rights and we do not intend to go against anybody, but we also don`™t want our people to be suppressed`, he said.

`The Nagas still have a political issue and it is recognized by the Govt. of India, we are aware that the 16 point agreement was signed by the Naga People`™s Convention and India, but the agreement was not signed between the Naga undergrounds and India, therefore India recognizes the Naga issue as a political one and therefore there is ceasefire and a political dialogue is going on, though we are living under the patronage and general funding from India, we are yet to have the final settlement of the Naga political issue and therefore ceasefire and dialogue is going on and this is the opportunity for the Nagas to unite, reconcile and take a settlement`

He stressed that the Nagas should be under an administrative umbrella and should be emotionally, politically, socially and culturally integrated. `Though today, we are facing problems for various technical problems, integration is our birthright ,we are not against anybody but we want to survive as a people, we want to uphold our identity, though our problems may be unique, but it is us who will make it possible to solve the issue`, he added.

Giving further comments on the need for integration and the cause of the NPF, he said `If we are divided, we will not see the daylight, and that`™s why the NPF must be advocated particularly to the Naga inhabited areas, this should become the people`™s movement and we should not compromise our future for today`™s benefit, we have to make sacrifices and take up the cause of the Naga people, we brought this political party here to unite the Nagas`.

On a conclusive note he further said, `We don`™t want to quarrel with anybody, but we want to survive as a people, our neighbors have to bear the truth because the truth will prevail, I hope the seeds we have sown today will germinate and bear fruit so that Nagas will have a common future, though we may still under different administrative hats but as a people we have to work together for a common destination and for a brighter future of the Nagas`.

Addressing the gathering on a similar note, president of NPF, Dr Shurhoezelie Liezeitsu mentioned that the opening of the state unit has been planned for some time, as the party leaders felt the need to spread its wings in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Saying that the party is the oldest registered political party in the North East, `We have declared a set of policies and emphasis is paid on the integration of the Naga people and Naga inhabited areas, I know that this is allergic to some section of the people, but integration is our birthright. I have read the writings on the wall the demand of that right, whatever people may say, we will go ahead to support the integration and nobody can stop us and that is why we have launched the party today`. He appealed the gathering to make NPF a people`™s movement and to seize the opportune timing.

Minister TR Zeliang, who will be in charge of the NPF in Manipur stated that the party will field candidates in the upcoming general elections in Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong and Senapati. He further said that the NPF is recognized by the Election Commission of India and can carry out political endeavours within the country. `There is no way that the functioning of the NPF can be hindered by any legal institution or any individual. None can stop the activities of the party. Those who will be elected under the party banner will work at the grass root level of the state of Manipur and not Nagaland, NPF is not segregated for Nagas alone but anyone from any community can join the party. We believe in the motto of peace for development and development for peace`.

At the conclusion of the function, dance troops from Ukhrul, Tamenglong and Senapati performed for the visiting NPF dignitaries. The Nagaland CM and his entourage left Senapati for Nagaland at around 3 pm today.

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