Kohima: RN Ravi, the interlocutor for Naga peace talks, took oath as the 19th governor of Nagaland on Thursday. He was later accorded a grand welcome reception at the state banquet hall. With his new role as the constitutional head of the state, all hopes on Naga political solution grew and Ravi expressed his optimism of ending the decades-long Naga political issue.
“I am no stranger to the warmth of the Naga people. The first feel of it, I have about 30 years back, and even in troubled times, Nagas stood by me,” said Ravi while addressing the gathering. “Five years ago, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave me the responsibility of resolving the long-pending Naga political issue, I could sense the pulse of the unseen nursing me to fulfill the mission of my life,” he said.
Speaking on the unity of Nagas on this issue, Ravi said: “I am blessed because there is no opposition. It is the cumulative contribution of all that we have come so close that the final settlement seems within the grasp.” On the early solution of the decades-long issue, Ravi said: “If we succeed, it will be a great achievement. God has gifted me with an eternal sense of optimism and ‘No’ is not an answer for me. I have no doubt that we will achieve what we have all been looking forward for.”
Ravi then emphasised on the need to pay special attention saying “our mothers and daughters must be equal partners. I know everyone agree with me that they deserve better care and attention. It is our duty that we do not fail them. We must also not fail our youth; else the future will not be kind to us”.
Chief minister Neiphiu Rio lauded Ravi for being the “driving force” behind the 2015 Framework agreement between the NSCN (IM) and the Centre which was signed at the “highest level”.
With the Centre’s decision to place Ravi as governor of Nagaland, Rio said: “We are indeed fortunate. He has come here for a specific purpose or to work with the people on the ground and bring solution.”
Taking the dual role of a governor and interlocutor, Rio said it was a “privilege that comes with responsibility” and “if succeeded, the reward is great”.
“The resolution of the Naga peace process is bound to strengthen the foundations of the world’s largest democracy while enhancing the image and reputation of this great country among the international comity of nations,” Rio said. Expressing hope that political solution will be made, he assured the governor of the state’s fullest cooperation. He humorously added that Ravi will “very soon” be given the title of “Anghship” (referring to the Konyak Naga kingship system).
Recalling Ravi’s effort in the framework agreement, leader of opposition TR Zeliang said “Raviji can connect to the Naga people better than anyone else”. “When it comes to Naga Political issue, there is no ruling or opposition. All 60 members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly are unanimous regardless of political party affiliation which has been manifested in the past as well as the present,” he added.
Expressing hope that the peace talks will “arrive at a conclusion sooner than later”, Zeliang assured the support and cooperation of his party — Naga People’s Front (NPF).