Regional front expresses solidarity with state on border fencing row

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DIMAPUR, December 20 (NNN): Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said this evening that the controversial Indo-Myanmar fencing issue where a large chunk of land of Manipur has gone to the other side of the border is a very serious matter.

“We will brief the matter to the Central leader when we go to New Delhi in the early part of next year,” said Neiphiu Rio.

The Nagaland chief minister and former Assam chief minister Prafullo Kumar Mahanta and others were addressing the media this evening at Niathu Resort in Dimapur after the first ever executive meeting of the North East Regional Political Parties Front (NERPF) today.

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Naga People’s Front (NPF), United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party of Meghalaya (HSPDPM), the Manipur People’s Party (MPP), Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP), Manipur Democratic People’s Front (MDPF), Mizo National Front (MNF(, People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA)and Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) are the ten political parties that have formed the NERPF on October 20 this year in Guwahati.

Nine out of the ten parties, participated in today`s meeting.

When asked by journalists as to how these regional parties can work when they have diverse and contrasting ideologies and policies such as the Naga Peoples Front (NPF) is for Naga integration while Manipur Peoples Party (MPP) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are steadfastly against it, Neiphiu Rio said, “We know that but we have to come together and work, we have to co-exist.” The Nagaland chief minister added by saying, “Coming together of these regional parties under one roof is very important. We have given a chance to work together inspite of these diverse issues.” Neiphiu Rio also stated that the idea of the formation of the NERPF is to speak as one voice by the whole North East region when comes to raising the issues to the Centre.

Both Prafullo Kumar Mahanta and Neiphiu Rio then said there are agencies like the DoNER and NEC but they do not benefit to the region. “We will be briefing all these issues to the Prime Minister and other central leaders soon,” they added.

The NERPF leaders then said the number of MPs in each of the north eastern states except for Assam is very less. “So if all these MPs come together as one voice and raise issues in the Parliament then only there will be impact,” the NERPF leaders stated.

These NERPF leaders then strongly condemned the tabling of the land swap agreement with Bangladesh in the Parliament. “We will take up this issue too with strong hand,” they affirmed.

It is worthwhile to note here that safeguarding of cultural, social, political and economic rights of the people of the region and to continuously strive to protect the distinctive identifies of the ethnic tribes and of all the people of the region are some of the objectives of the NERPF.

Other important resolutions adopted on October 20 are that all illegal migrants from Northeast region be deported, reservation of 80 per cent jobs for locals in government and private sectors, implementation of the look east policy, rebuilding a portion of the historic Stillwell road, a rethink on AFSPA and similar issues reflecting the local sentiments.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio is the convenor of the front while former Assam chief minister and leader of AGP Prafulla Mahanta is the chief advisor.

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