Naga Issue Should Be Solved At The Earliest: JD(U) Ahead Of Nagaland Elections

JD(U) MP Aneel Prasad Hegde said the party believes the reason for the failure to resolve the Naga issue is 'political instability' in Nagaland.

A cadre of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) holds a Naga flag

Ahead of the Nagaland assembly elections, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has said the decades old Naga political issue should be resolved at the earliest.

The JD(U) also spoke against the demand to carve out a separate state in the eastern part of Nagaland, which has been intensified lately by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO). 

Speaking on Saturday, JD(U) MP Aneel Prasad Hegde said the party believes that the reason for the failure to resolve the Naga political issue is “political instability” in Nagaland. He further said that the mandate of the 2018 polls was 'Election for Solution' and added that the resolution for the problem is fundamental for lasting peace and prosperity of the Nagas.

Insurgency began soon in Nagaland after Independence in 1947. After over 80 rounds of negotiations over 18 years, the Narendra Modi-led Union government in 2015 signed a framework agreement with NSCN(IM). Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at the signing of the pact. However, the framework agreement has not yet translated into a peace pact because of the unwillingness of the Modi government to accept the NSCN(IM)’s persistent demand for a separate flag and constitution.

The first breakthrough in the Naga peace process came in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after Independence in 1947. Following the logjam after the 2015 framework agreement, talks began again in September last year. 

Besides the framework agreement with the NSCN(IM), the Centre also inked an Agreed Position with Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) comprising seven organisations (NNPGs) in December 2017.

Hegde said demanding President's Rule in Nagaland, instead of holding elections and providing a stable government, was not appropriate as the need of the hour is the solution to the vexed problem. The comment refers to the demand of the Rising People’s Party (RPP), a Nagaland political outfit formed in 2021. Last month, it urged Modi to impose President’s Rule, alleging that the state has been the worst performer under several parameters.

Nagaland has witnessed enough violence in the last eight decades of the political struggle, said Hegde while appealing to all stakeholders to desist from making any statement that will give a handle to anti-democratic forces who want to prolong the unrest and take advantage of the vulnerability of the Nagas.

JD(U) general secretary Afaque Ahmad Khan, who is in charge of the North East, said party leaders are in Nagaland to take stock of the situation of the state where the last assembly election was held on February 27, 2018. He said the party is concerned about the “lack of development” in Nagaland and other northeastern states.

Stating that the JD(U) has always stood for uniform development of all regions, Khan said that carving out a separate state out of Nagaland will immensely harm the unity among Naga tribes.

Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) has been demanding a separate state alleging "negligence" by the government in all aspects of development.  It has declared not to participate in any election, including the 2023 assembly poll, till its demand is fulfilled.

Khan said that the party views that the Centre should grant enough funds to the state so that sufficient funds are allocated for developing eastern Nagaland, he added.

Khan said that the party is likely to field at least 20 candidates for the assembly elections, though the constituencies are yet to be decided.

(With PTI inputs)