Kohima: Nagaland governor and interlocutor for Naga peace talks RN Ravi was accorded a grand civic reception at the NBCC Convention Centre at the state secretariat in Kohima on Friday. Thousands of people from all walks of life attended the reception adorning traditional attire.
Addressing the public, Ravi expressed concern saying at a time when the country is moving at a fast pace. “It saddens me to see our people of Nagaland craving for the basic necessities like a good motorable road, an assured power supply, good education, access to proper health care, decent employment opportunities for the youth,” he said.
“The dark shadow of the long unresolved Naga political issue casts its shadow on almost every aspect of Naga life and this cloud must go — the shadow must go because our people deserves sunshine,” Ravi added.
On the 22-year-long pending issue, Ravi said: “When we took stock of the way the process was been done and how the processes have been conducted in the past… it was with good intention and earnest effort. But somehow there was something missing and what we found was that the process was not inclusive”. He said it shall include all Naga armed Groups, Naga tribal bodies, civil societies, grass-root leaders, intellectuals, senior citizens, elders and Naga legislators because “Naga political issue belongs to the Naga people”.
Ravi revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra is “Naga political issue has to be resolved on the principle of equality and mutual respect with due regard to the contemporary realities”. He then said that following these principles for the past five years, “all substantive issues have been resolved and there is nothing left unresolved… including the power that belongs to Naga people and they are the masters”.
He said that before his appointment as the governor, the Prime Minister had briefed him saying “we must conclude the process — peace process. Having resolved all the issues, we must do it within three months time”. Saying that “three months” is a long enough time, there is constant steps taken by all stakeholders for the past five years and “there is no reason why we cannot conclude it. We need to do it because the status quo as it stands today is unbearable for the people… and unacceptable for the government of India”.
On the status of the Naga political issue, the governor said, “The process is mature and delaying it is like delaying a ripe fruit. So we have to conclude it–we will do that”. He then reassured the “solemn commitment” and the “sacred” nature of Article 371 (A) which protects the people of Nagaland saying that Article 370 is a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution and that treating the two provisions as parallel is a misunderstanding.
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio in his address reiterated that Ravi who has long been associated with the Naga history, political affairs and situation in Nagaland will pave the way for a breakthrough to the Naga political issue.