Nagaland Government To Appeal To ENPO To Reconsider Demand For Separate State Ahead Of Assembly Polls

The ENPO calls for the 'Frontier Nagaland' state to be carved out of Eastern Nagaland as it says four eastern districts have been neglected for years.

Union home minister Amit Shah with ENPO delegation that was accompanied by Rajya Sabha MP S Phangnon Konyak.

The Nagaland government has decided to appeal to the Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) to reconsider the demand for a separate state and to not boycott the upcoming state assembly elections.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the state cabinet on Tuesday, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Neiba Kronu.

The ENPO is a group of tribal councils and organisation which is committed to a separate state in Eastern Nagaland called Frontier Nagaland. Last month, an ENPO delegation had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah to raise their demands with the Union government. 

Of the Cabinet decision, Kronu said, "While extending our solidarity to the ENPO people, the state cabinet decided to appeal to them to reconsider their demand in the greater interest of the Naga people."

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be visiting Nagaland on Friday, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit the state after January 10, and only after that something is likely to be decided on the demand, said Kronu.

Asked if the Cabinet has decided on any package for the ENPO areas, Kronu said the discussions between the Centre and ENPO have to be made known to the state government and only after that, some decision can be taken by it.

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Co-Chairman Kuzholuzo Nienu said, "ENPO's demand is a very important issue. Nevertheless, for the UDA government, the Naga Political Issue is still our priority and we have decided to appeal to the Centre to expedite a solution to it."

The Cabinet has recommended an autonomous council which has been rejected by the ENPO, said Nienu.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also ruled out a separate state to be carved out of Nagaland during a recent visit of its team to the state, Nienu said.

"ENPO is looking for development and financial assistance and the state government is fully ready for it," he said.

Expressing the demand to be genuine, Nienu said that it should not be at the cost of further dividing the Nagas.

As per ENPO, the Frontier Nagaland state is required as the four districts in eastern Nagaland have been neglected for years. 

In December, the six tribes that are part of the ENPO boycotted the Hornbill Festival and also announced that they would not participate in the state elections that would be due in February-March.

(With PTI inputs)