Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio’s Independence Day speech being interpreted in sign language in Kohima on Thursday Credit: EastMojo image
The national anthem being performed in sign language by students of Cherry Blossom School, Kohima on Thursday

Kohima: Nagaland created history when, for the first time in the history of the state, chief minister Neiphiu Rio’s speech was interpreted in sign language during the 73rd Independence Day celebrations in Kohima on Thursday.

The national anthem was also performed in sign language by students of Cherry Blossom School, Kohima.

Taking to Twitter, Abu Metha, adviser to CM Rio and secretary general of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), said it was a move towards a more inclusive society.

Meanwhile, in his address at the Secretariat Plaza in Kohima, Rio expressed his deep appreciation to the Central government for reiterating the uniqueness of the Naga history and for reassuring that “Article 371A is a solemn and sacred commitment to the people of Nagaland”.

Also Read: 73rd Naga ‘Independence Day’ celebrated across Nagaland

As negotiations have been going on for the past 22 years, Rio said: “Now is the most opportune time to come together and expedite the political dialogue for an early, honourable and acceptable solution. We convey our deep appreciation to the government of India for once again reiterating the uniqueness of our history and the reassurance that Article 371A is a solemn and sacred commitment to the people of Nagaland.”

Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio inspecting the guard of honour on 73rd Independence Day  in Kohima on Thursday

Rio then appealed all its neighbours to recognise the history, the yearning, and the democratic rights of the Nagas so that we can live together under a spirit of peaceful co-existence in the truest traditions of harmony and friendship”

Rio further reassured his stand on the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN). “We assure everyone that the exercise of RIIN is not to discriminate or hurt the interest of any citizen. The exercise is to properly identify the indigenous people of Nagaland as well as those domiciled and permanently settled in the State which will also help in the effective implementation of ILP,” he said.

Rio added that the three-member commission which was mandated to look into RIIN issues will minutely study the matter and further consult and recommend. The report will later be tabled at the state Assembly before framing the final modalities.

A cultural performance in progress during the 73rd Independence Day celebrations in Kohima, Nagaland on Thursday

“While we were in the process of chalking out the modalities for the extension of ILP (Inner Line Permit) in the state, we felt that there is a pressing need for having a proper record of our people as well as the genuine citizens who have been staying here for decades, and who have made Nagaland their home. Side by side, it was felt that such a list is also required for putting an end to the menace of issuance of illegal or fake indigenous inhabitant certificates to undeserving people,” Rio said.

The day was celebrated with much vigour with 26 parade contingents comprising of military personnel, students, pipers band and Home guards; cultural performances; dance display; taekwondo display. For excellence in respective fields, six persons were awarded the governor’s gold medal; seven were awarded the governor’s commendation certificate and nine were awarded the governor’s medal with certificate.

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