Consultative meeting on Naga Political issue : CM speech

Keynote Address of the Honourable Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, on the occasion of Consultative Meeting on Naga Political Issue

Event: Consultative Meeting on Naga Political Issue called by the Government of Nagaland
Venue: State Banquet Hall, Chief Minister’s Residential Complex, Kohima .
Date & Time: 15th Oct. 2020 at 10:00 Hours
Background: The Honourable Chief Minister has written invitation letters on behalf of the State Government to tribal hohos, civil society organisations, political parties, prominent personalities, NGOs, etc. to attend a Consultative Meeting on the Naga Political Issue to be held on 15th October, 2020 at the State Banquet Hall, Kohima.

In the letter, the Chief Minister stated that, “The State Government is calling a Consultative Meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the Naga political issue and the ongoing peace talks between the Naga Nationalist Political Organizations and the Government of India. All tribal hohos, mass-based organizations, civil societies, church organizations, political parties, NGOs, prominent persons, etc. are being invited to discuss the most important issue that our society is presently faced with. The ceasefire and negotiations between the Naga Nationalist Political Organizations and the Government of India has been going on for more than two decades and the Naga people have been crying out for peace and political solution. We are all aware that the political issue needs to be addressed with utmost urgency by all sections of the people and we all need to facilitate the early achievement of peace with all seriousness.”

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio speech

Address, Greetings and Introduction
Respected Chairperson and Honourable Minister, Mr. Neiba Kronu, Co-Chair Mr. Mmhonlumo Kikon, Honourable Advisor, Honourable Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Yanthungo Patton, General Secretary of the NBCC, Rev. Zelhou Keyho, Respected Rev. Fr. G.L. Khing from the Diocese of Kohima, respected leaders of tribal hohos, mass based civil societies, church organisations and NGOs, Presidents and representatives of political parties, eminent and prominent personalities and elders, dignitaries seated on the dais and in the audience, Honourable Speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Honourable Ministers, Advisors and Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, ladies and gentlemen.

At the very outset, I, on behalf of the State Government, welcome each and every one of you to this Consultative Meeting on the Naga Political Issue. We are thankful to Almighty God for bringing all of us together here today under a spirit of unity. On behalf of my honourable colleagues and the State Government, I extend our deepest appreciation to you and the organisations you represent, for your positive response to the call for consultations and deliberations. Today’s gathering is not only historic, but it also sends out a clear message to the Government of India and the world that, Nagas want genuine peace and that we continue to strive towards oneness and unity as One Naga Family. I am sure our voice and our desire will be heard across boundaries.

Over the past years and months, we have been meeting leaders and representatives across all affiliations including representatives of the Government of India. In my last meeting with the Honourable Union Home Minister, Shri. Amit Shah on 19th September, 2020, I was accompanied by my colleague, Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Yanthungo Patton. The GoI have made it clear and further reiterated that there will be only “One Solution” for the Indo-Naga political issue. This message from GoI has been very clear, and one of the reasons for today’s consultative meeting is this message.

Having understood that there will be only “One Solution”, we need to deliberate and support the peace process, strengthen the negotiations and facilitate the journey towards achievement of this “One Solution” in the earliest time possible.

Acknowledging history but looking forward
Since the beginning of the Naga consciousness with our exposure during the First World War, followed by the formation of the Naga Club, Memorandum to the Simon Commission, formation of the NNC, till today, the Naga journey has been long, arduous and filled with pain, suffering and sacrifices. Along the way, there have been significant achievements with stories of triumph, while there have also been failures. Looking back at history, we must come to an understanding that our achievements and our failures are all collective. We need to cross the bridge of blame and move towards a matured approach of collective responsibility for all our achievements and failures. Only then, can we move forward, towards a progressive environment of A Shared Future Together.

Today is perhaps not a day to dwell on history as we are all aware of our past. While it is important to understand and respect history, it is all the more crucial to focus on the roadmap ahead. We cannot allow ourselves to be tied down with history. We have to move forward. As the Bible says, the body without the spirit is dead, so also, faith without deed is dead, and therefore, we need to make sincere efforts to journey together as a people.

Appreciation to GoI and National Workers
I take this opportunity to extend our collective appreciation and gratefulness to the Government of India for acknowledging the unique history and culture of the Naga people and for recognition of the Naga movement as a political movement.

It is also most appropriate that we acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices and sufferings of the Naga nationalist organisations. The Naga journey has reached thus far because of the supreme sacrifices, innumerable sufferings, and incomparable contributions of the national workers. Every Naga family, across our homelands, have given our blood and tears, in a journey that has deeply impacted our people, for decades and generations.

We also place on record, our gratitude towards the tribal hohos, mass based civil societies, the church organisations and NGOs for their consistent support and contributions towards the Naga cause and for making constant efforts towards reconciliation and oneness. It is because of the wholesome support of all sections that our journey has come this far.

We also reiterate our appreciation to the negotiating parties for the signing of the Framework Agreement on 3rd August, 2015 and the Agreed Position on 17th November, 2017.

The way forward
If Nagas as a people are to achieve progress and realise our aspirations as a people, we must come together like today. We must also accept that our biggest challenge today is division. We all know that this situation is only leading to self-destruction. During the British era, a divide and rule policy was used to govern, which was inherited by India, and till today our society is thoroughly divided, which has created too many groups and organisations leading to different opinions and voices.

The only way forward is unity and oneness as One Naga Family. And it is in this spirit that we must all relentlessly continue to pursue realisation of genuine peace through a “political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights” and on the “unique history and position of the Nagas”. An agreement that is based on “contemporary realities, one that will end violent confrontation and will usher in a future vision that will be built with the genius of the Naga people”.

Our history goes back thousands of years, we have been a people since times immemorial, and our civilisation is hundreds years old. But we still need to journey towards a progressive and civilised society, in the true sense of the word. We need to begin by truly respecting each other, and make all efforts to strengthen the foundations of real democracy in our society. And likewise, we must journey together, towards our political aspirations, under a spirit of mutual respect within ourselves, a commitment for peaceful co-existence in our society and with our neighbours, and a resolve to adhere to democratic principles.

Appeal for oneness, unity, understanding & emergence of the Naga voice
Today’s meeting is indeed historic. It is in this manner, and with such an approach, that our voice will be heard by the Government of India and we will gain the trust of the international community. Today must signify a new phase where we all collectively aspire to strengthen the pursuit of peace, and the realisation of that “One Solution”. We must set aside our differences, rise above affiliations and hear the cry of our people. The Naga Voice must rise above all other considerations and we need to leave no stone unturned to ensure that we leave a lasting legacy behind, which will be cherished for generations to come.

Once again, I reiterate our common voice for unity. Ours is a Journey of Common Hope and we must reconcile for A Shared Naga Future. It is also our appeal to our brothers and sisters in the nationalist political groups to honour and respect the Covenant of Reconciliation, which was signed on 13th June, 2009, and the Lenten Agreement of 28th March, 2014, while maintaining the sanctity of non-violence in letter and spirit.

I once again thank each and every one of you for your participation in today’s Consultative Meeting. Today’s House must be the Collective Voice of the Naga people, a voice that aspires for true unity, with the clear intent to achieve a political settlement that will usher-in a new era of progress, for the present and the future generations of Nagas. I wish the deliberations all success, with the hope that a new chapter in our collective journey will begin from today onwards as One United Naga Family.

Thank You – God Bless – Kuknalim

Source & Image from: DIPR, Kohima

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