Kohima: After a party legislature meeting of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Tuesday, the party announced its decision to withdraw from the Joint Legislators Forum (JLF) on Naga political issue with immediate effect.
The party resolved to continue to be active facilitators on the Naga political issue during a party meeting that was held at the residence of the opposition leader TR Zeliang in Dimapur.
An official update said that the NPF legislators deliberated on the existing Joint Legislators Forum (JLF) on Naga political issue and said that as a responsible political party and had played the role of an active facilitator in resolving the Naga political issue at various stages since the last 23 years.
When the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly was formed, it said that the party had volunteered to be part of JLF with “ardent hope that the efforts rendered towards the cause would be carried forward in letter and in spirit”.
“However, since it was reconstituted on September 18, 2018, JLF has failed to make any progress due to the half-hearted approach of the present-day government. JLF on Naga political issue has become a mere Forum without any tangible road-map to the Naga political issue on its part,” the party said.
The signing of the Framework Agreement between the NSCN(IM) and Government of India on August 3, 2015, and the agreed position between the NNPGs and Government of India on November 17, 2017, created a conducive atmosphere for JLF to assist and accelerate the ongoing peace process.
Against this backdrop, it said that the JLF Meetings were convened only to be followed by inaction on the part of the present-day government rendering the JLF an ineffective Forum.
It added “With utmost sincerity, Legislators of the Naga Peoples’ Front had put forth its proposition in almost all the JLF Meetings that Members in the Forum should call upon the Prime Minister of India, the Home Minister of India and other Central leaders to urge them in bringing the long pending Naga political issue to a logical conclusion. However, the proposal has failed to see the light of the day till date”.
On the suggestion of the Chief Minister, the JLF on Naga political issue constituted a core committee with five Legislators of the NPF out of the total 20 Members. It recounted that three meetings had taken place till date and in these meetings, the NPF legislators had suggested that a delegation comprising of representing various political parties and tribe representatives should meet the Prime Minister and Home Minister of India to apprise them for an early solution which has been a long-cherished dream of the Naga people.
“Even in the last meeting of the Core Committee held on March 8, 2020 at Niathu Resort, Dimapur; the same was reiterated. However, the Chief Minister came up with excuses, and the same has been kept in abeyance. At the JLF Meeting held at the Old Chief Minister’s Banquet Hall, Kohima on May 2, 2020; the same was proposed yet again. Even this time, the Chief Minister came up with an excuse that Civil Societies should first be consulted before such a move is initiated. The Chief Minister of the State had never expressed his mind or divulged his Meetings with the Central leadership in any of the JLF or Core Committee Meetings for the Members to carry forward as a facilitator towards realising the Naga political issue”, the party said.
The party also said that when a deadline for conclusion of the Naga political issue was set on October 31 last year, the ruling government paid the “least attention in convening a meeting of the JLF” even as members of the NPF “fervently appealed” that a JLF meeting be called before the deadline.
According to the JLF, it fell on “deaf ears”, and the party legislature delegation along with some party central office bearers (COBs) had proceeded to Delhi on October 28 last year and met leaders of seven NNPGs and the NSCN (IM) on October 29 and 30 respectively.
The party also said that on August 5, chief minister along with the finance minister of Assam was called to Delhi by the Home Minister of India and the former had left for Delhi on August 6 by a chartered flight and met the Home Minister of India the same day.
“The chief minister of Nagaland on his return maintained an eerie silence on what transpired in the meeting. The Finance Minister of Assam through his interactions with the media made it known that the meeting was regarding bringing about permanent peace in the NE region and that the Government of India was keen on resolving the Naga issue. The silence of the Chief Minister is best known to him alone,” the NPF statement said.
The party went on to say that, “The present set up of JLF on Naga political issue is facing huge trust deficit and there exists no further purpose in continuing this Forum. There is neither real activity nor productivity on the ground. Furthermore, when the ruling dispensation does not have confidence in the Legislators of the Naga Peoples’ Front, there is no valid reason why the Naga Peoples’ Front should continue to remain as part of JLF.”