Padma Shri Melhupra Vero breathed his last in Dimapur on Friday Credit: File image

Kohima: Nagaland governor RN Ravi, chief minister Neiphiu Rio and NSCN-IM leaders, among others, mourned the demise of Melhupra Vero, the first Naga MP (Rajya Sabha) and former president of Naga Hoho, at his residence at Walford Colony in Dimapur, Nagaland at 7 am on Friday. He was 86.

Expressing shock, governor Ravi said that Vero was decorated with one of the highest civilian honours, Padma Shri, in 2006 for his contributions to society. The governor recounted how Vero served society in different capacities as a Rajya Sabha MP, minister in Nagaland government, president of Naga Hoho, and so on.

Conveying his deepest condolences to the bereaved family members, he prayed that the “Almighty gives strength and fortitude to the family to bear with this devastating loss and eternal peace to the departed soul”.

Taking to Twitter, chief minister Neiphiu Rio grieved the death of the former minister. “He was a political giant and popular political leader. On behalf of the Govt. of Nagaland, I express deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” he said.

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The NSCN-IM, through a statement issued by Yaruiwo Q Tuccu, said that Vero was a “stalwart Naga public leader who made a mark in his life as a person who leave no stone unturned to show his love and concern for the Naga issue by appealing to the Naga National political groups to reconcile through the spirit of forgive and forget”.

Tuccu said that Vero travelled to far-off places like Kathmandu, Bangladesh border, Myanmar, Atlanta (USA) and Bangkok, among others, was a very familiar face when it comes to the Naga issue as he never wavered in his effort for Naga unity to hasten the process of Naga political solution.

“As a founder president of Naga Hoho, he proved himself as a man for the Nagas and undertook extensive tours in Nagaland, neighboring states and shuttling between Kohima and New Delhi,” he added. The group saluted the “great man of Nagas” and expressed condolences to the bereaved family members.

After a send-off service in Dimapur on Saturday, Vero’s mortal remains will be laid to rest at his native village Runguzu in Chozuba subdivision in Phek district, via Kohima, Zuketsa, Pfutsuro, and Chesezu.

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