KOHIMA, Oct 21: Responding to the statement made by Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi, the office of the Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang has put it on record that what he had spoken was on the need for the Nagas in Manipur to be united to protect their birthright over their land, customs, culture and tradition, “and at no point mentioned territorial integration or disintegration which Ibobi seems to have assumed the Nagaland Chief Minister made,”
In a statement, the CMO of Nagaland said “TR Zeliang had expressed his opinion that the Framework Agreement of August 3, 2015 seems to be a Preamble, and not the final agreement, which is indicative of the intention of both the negotiating parties to settle the issue amicably without use of force or violence. Zeliang had also specifically stated that he believed the final agreement would be finalised after having wide-ranging consultations with the stake-holders.
“However, Ibobi seems to have more than jumped the gun. He had shown once again how he has retained power all these years–he had already segregated the communities of Manipur, injected the politically-major valley voters with venom and on the eve of every election, unfailingly raise the issue of integrity of his State just to gain political mileage. Unfortunately, he had already emotionally disintegrated the State into pieces,” the statement added.
“It does not take an Einstein to realise that Ibobi has made a habit of making wild speculations against the tribals of Manipur, especially Nagas, to ensure that the people of the valley, comprising of various communities and ethnic groups, are kept on tenterhooks before the elections and come together to vote for him. It would appear that his only political agenda for the people is to go against the Nagas and tribals just to fetch the votes of the varied communities of the valley and hang on to power” added the CMO’s statement.
The TR Zeliang office stated that it defies logic as to why Ibobi is so vehement against Zeliang’s visit to Manipur. “Did Zeliang ever mention anything at any point of time about disintegration of the territory of Manipur ?,” it asked, and added, “Never. Zeliang merely asked the Southern Nagas to stand united and fight for their birth right over traditional hokdings of land and customary systems.
“Is that anything which can be construed as anti-Manipur ?,” the TR Zeliang office further asked. “Far from it! It should rather be construed as a positive suggestion to ensure justice in the land. And it is much better than taking the lives of scores of tribals protesting against Bills which were infamously dubbed “anti-tribal bills” by none other than the communities of his own State!,” it added.
The statement from the Nagaland Chief Minister’s Office then said that it is also beyond comprehension as to why Ibobi is so opposed to peaceful overtures by various political groups to stop armed conflict and negotiate for peaceful solution.
It also said that one would have thought that political leaders in the region would welcome ceasefire agreements between the Government of India and any armed group in this part of the country, just as ceasefire agreements with groups of ULFA and Bodos were welcomed by all in the past. It added that any kind of cease fire with any armed group for a peaceful solution should be welcomed by every sensible person for peaceful co-existence in the region. With the prevailing militant groups existing in the North East, no State in the region can progress as expected and desired, it added.
The CMO, Nagaland said that when the Government of India has repeatedly stated that all stake-holders would be consulted before working out the final agreement while solving the Naga political issue, Ibobi should not assume that Nagaland Chief Minister would dictate the terms of the final agreement. It would be through mutual understanding to ensure lasting peace and harmony in the region.
“Moreover, the Chief Minister of Nagaland is of the firm belief that good neighbourly and cordial relations should, by all means, be maintained between different communities and States in the region for mutual growth and benefit,” the Chief Minister’s Office added.
Source: The Sangai Express