By Oken Jeet Sandham
KOHIMA, Jul 25 (NEPS): Nagaland Home Minister Imkong L Imchen said the State Cabinet’s decision to recommend a proposal to the Government of India for granting “Autonomous Council status” to the Eastern Naga areas comprising of four districts—Mon, Tuensang, Longlen and Kiphire—was to address the “backwardness” of the region with seriousness.
In an interview with the NEPS here today, the outspoken Home Minister said the backwardness of the ENPO area was “genuine” and the “Government has to address it with seriousness.”
“And for them to become proud and equal citizens of the state, we have taken this decision,” Imchen said and further elaborated that by such move, the “substantial solution is brought about and the people out there do not feel backwardness anymore.”
Stating that the issue of the ENPO was “common Naga problem and not only confined to them (ENPO),” the Home Minister further explained that the “proposal” for the “Autonomous Council” was only “in “principle” nature. “We have to work out what kind of mechanism and modalities should be there for it and that should be acceptable to both (State and ENPO),” he explained.
Asked why the State had taken such a hasty decision and whether it had any political motive behind such move, Imchen denied having such political move and also made it clear that it was not a hasty decision.
“The people should not misconstrue the decision of the Cabinet as political motive,” the Home Minister stated. “We are serious to address the issue and we are going to take up the matter seriously with the Government of India.”
“I personally feel that the Center, State and ENPO should join hands to address the issue in right perspective,” he said. “So that Nagas can live as equal partners and citizens of the state with harmony.”
Asked whether ENPO would accept the Government’s proposal, Imchen said, “I hope they will accept.” “But I sincerely feel the ENPO leadership as well as people there should appreciate the proposal of the State,” he added.