Various organisations in Nagaland have urged India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defer the assembly elections, demanding a solution for the seven-decade-long Naga insurgency, IANS reported. The 60-member Nagaland Assembly’s term comes to an end on March 13, 2018.
The Nagaland Tribes Council, the Central Nagaland Tribes Council, the Gaon Burrah Federation of Nagaland, and a people’s movement called Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation have written to the prime minister through separate representations.
In 2015, the Centre and separatist group National Socialist Council of Nagaland Issac-Muivah had signed a Framework Agreement to end insurgency, the details of which have never been released. In 2017, the Centre also signed an agreement with a working committee comprising six Naga National Political Groups.
The Nagaland Tribes Council said the ongoing political negotiations between the Centre’s interlocutor RN Ravi and the Working Committee should continue without letting the elections be a distraction from the peace process. In its memorandum to Modi, the organisation said that more than 40 NGOs had unanimously resolved to prefer a solution to elections.
“All these voices of the people were being raised for one single objective of eradicating chaos and confusion and having lasting peace and progress,” the Nagaland Tribes Council said. The group further said development under current circumstances could not take place as the state was “over-administered by too many authorities”, the Nagaland Post reported.
The Gaon Burrah Federation of Nagaland appreciated the prime minister’s commitment to solve the Naga insurgency. “Elections at this hour would most likely jeopardise the prime minister’s desire for peace,” it said. “A political solution to the seven-decade long Indo-Naga political issue must be given greater importance over the democratic electoral exercise.”
Besides urging Modi to defer the state Assembly elections, the Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation movement has also asked him to impose President’s Rule in the state.
“If elections are held in Nagaland for the sake of constitutional process before the completion of the negotiation process with the six Naga National Political Groups (or rebel groups) and the NSCN(IM), then solution to Naga problems will remain a mirage,” it said in the letter. “Election at this juncture with a duly elected government will consign the peace talks to the backburner for years to come.”