Kohima: Amid backlash from civil society organisations, tribal hoho and political groups over his remarks on the Naga political issue, Nagaland minister of higher education and tribal affairs Temjen Imna Along has expressed “deepest regret” if his views hurt the sentiments of the people.
As reported earlier, Along, who is also the state BJP president, had said during a recent interview with an English news channel: “Any solution that would come should be under the Constitution of India and it should be under Indian union. So anything that is good for the Naga people under the Constitution of India should be pursued and done.”
Several organisations like the Naga Hoho (NH), Rengma and Zeliangrong Council Assam (RZCA), United Naga Council (UNC), Angami Youth Organization (AYO) and JDU (Nagaland), among others, condemned the remark made by the politician.
Through a release, Along said that Nagas have a long unique civilisation and precious lives and resources have been sacrificed in safeguarding the unique history and identity and that many strides have been made towards fulfilling the long cherished aspirations of the Nagas over the past decades.
“In the course of the negotiations and talks, both sides have made compromises on their respective stances. Nonetheless, Naga representatives have been able to make the government of India understand and accept the uniqueness of Naga history. Even so, the talks have hit a deadlock and consequently a stalemate,” he said.
Along added that the solution to the protracted Naga issue “should be charted and scaled”, which is the need of the hour. “We cannot afford to drag this unresolved issue any longer. To this end, as the present situation and trajectory of the talks stands, I am also impelled to endorse the view of the Core Committee on Naga Political Issue that the stalemate on the current issue can be settled in a pragmatic and rational manner which is acceptable to both the sides,” said Along.
“This is not to say that Naga aspirations should be entirely forfeited but that a constitutional process be carried out while charting out a long lasting honorable solution for Nagas,” he added.
Along also said that Nagas should “pay heed to the clarion call of clear conscience” and “stand together as a people with love, respect and humility and give out a strong unified voice”.
In this regard, Along highlighted that Naga civil societies have tremendous potential to play a proactive role in bringing all sections of Naga society together towards a sustainable common future.
The minister expressed deepest regrets if his views on air “hurt the sentiments of any Naga individual, organisation, Naga political groups in any way”.
“I appeal all fellow Nagas as well as the government of India that an honourable and sustainable solution be worked out so that tomorrow’s generation of Nagas will live with dignity,” he added.