Walkathon for separate 'Frontier Nagaland' state

Kohima: With the Assembly election in Nagaland about four months away, a students’ body held a walkathon in its six eastern districts and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into the demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state in the area.

The six districts are home to about 48 percent of the state’s population and have one-third of the seats in the Assembly, that is 20 out of the total 60, it said.

The districts – Tuensang, Mon, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak, and Shamator border Myanmar and being among the remotest regions of the country- have been neglected by successive governments in Nagaland for 59 years since its statehood, claimed the Eastern Naga Students Federation(ENSF) which held the walkathon.

Seven federating units of the ENSF held the walkathon on Friday and in their memorandum to Modi urged him to look into the separate state demand “immediately and proactively”.

The protestors in their five-point memorandum, submitted through the deputy commissioners of the districts, said The (eastern Nagaland) region has been deprived of the basic necessities of life such as education, health services and the economy, which is no doubt a direct threat to the security of the nation.

It said, the easternmost region still remains one of the most neglected areas in every aspect of social and economic life and the jurisprudence of Article 371 A of the Constitution of India is highly challenged, it added.

The eastern Nagaland districts spread over 8154 sq km are inhabited by seven major tribes of the state and had remained free from any colonial rule. In 1948, the tribes were brought under the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) as the Tuensang Frontier Division under the ministry of external affairs. It was merged with Nagaland on December 1, 1963, the memorandum said.

The walkathon by ENSF was in line with the statehood demand of its parent body the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisations (ENPO).

ENPO first made the demand in 2010 claiming that the area had been left behind in all aspects of development, including education and infrastructure. It held a public rally on August 9 this year and has also declared not to participate in the state or general election till its statehood demand is fulfilled.

The protracted peace parleys between the Centre and NSCN(IM), the largest Naga rebel group, to find a permanent solution to the Naga political issue is yet to be concluded due to a lack of consensus on the core issues of a separate constitution and flag.

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