Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the consultative meeting on Thirsday Credit: DIPR

Kohima: During a crucial consultative meeting on Naga political issue that was held on Thursday, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio asserted that the only way forward is “unity and oneness as One Naga Family”.

Addressing the stakeholders present at the meeting, Rio said that since there will be only “one solution”, there is a need for all stakeholders to deliberate and support the peace process, strengthen the negotiations and also facilitate the journey towards achieving “one solution” at the earliest.

Terming the meeting as “historic”, Rio said that it sends a clear message that Nagas want genuine peace, striving towards oneness and unity. It is in the spirit of unity, Nagas must relentlessly continue to pursue the realisation of genuine peace through a “political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights” and on the “unique history and position of the Nagas”, said Rio.

According to the chief minister, the agreement must be based on “contemporary realities, one that will end violent confrontation and will usher in a future vision that will be built with the genius of the Naga people”.

Rio said that although the Naga history goes back to thousands of years, there is still a need to journey towards a “progressive and civilised society, in the true sense of the word”.

“We need to begin by truly respecting each other, and make all efforts to strengthen the foundations of real democracy in our society. And likewise, we must journey together, towards our political aspirations, under a spirit of mutual respect within ourselves, a commitment for peaceful co-existence in our society and with our neighbours, and a resolve to adhere to democratic principles,” the chief minister said.

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Over 200 civil society leaders attended the consultative meeting on Thursday

During the consultative called by the state government, Rio said that looking back at history, one must come to an understanding that the achievements and failures are all “collective”.

“We need to cross the bridge of blame and move towards a matured approach of collective responsibility for all our achievements and failures. Only then, can we move forward, towards a progressive environment of a shared future together,” he said.

Rio then said “We cannot allow ourselves to be tied down with history. We have to move forward”, further adding that while it is important to understand and respect history, it is more crucial to “focus on the roadmap ahead”.

Appealing for unity, Rio said that this day must signify a new phase where everyone collectively aspire to strengthen the pursuit of peace, and the realization of that “One Solution”.

“We must set aside our differences, rise above affiliations and hear the cry of our people. The Naga Voice must rise above all other considerations and we need to leave no stone unturned to ensure that we leave a lasting legacy behind, which will be cherished for generations to come,” he added.

Furthermore, Rio added “Ours is a journey of common hope and we must reconcile for a shared Naga future. It is also our appeal to our brothers and sisters in the nationalist political groups to honour and respect the Covenant of Reconciliation, which was signed on 13th June, 2009, and the Lenten Agreement of 28th March, 2014, while maintaining the sanctity of non-violence in letter and spirit”.

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Chief minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the gathering

During the meeting, the house adopted the following resolutions:

  1. It appreciated the Government of India for acknowledging the Unique History of the Nagas and for recognizing the Naga issue as a political issue.
  2. It acknowledged the sacrifices and contributions of the nationalist workers in the course of the Naga political journey and towards the Naga political cause.
  3. It expressed gratitude to the civil societies and the church for consistent support towards the Naga cause and making constant efforts towards reconciliation and oneness.

  4. It affirmed its commitment to continuously work towards a political settlement based on Naga historical and political rights to determine the future on the unique history and position of the Nagas.

  5. It urged the Naga political groups to honour and respect the Covenant of Reconciliation and maintain the sanctity of non-violence in letter and spirit for a Shared Naga Future as members of One Naga Family.

  6. It appealed to the negotiating groups to come together under a spirit of oneness, mutual trust and understanding with sincerity and commitment towards achieving One Solution for One People as early as possible.

  7. It affirmed to relentlessly work in a collective and unified manner with one voice so as to facilitate the peace process and strengthen the negotiations for early realization of the desired “One Solution” in a transparent manner which is acceptable and honorable.

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Chairperson Neiba Kronu and Co-chair Mmhonlumo Kikon addressing a press conference on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference late evening, Co-chair of the consultative meeting and Adviser IT, Science and Technology, NRE Mmhonlumo Kikon said that over 200 leaders from various civil societies successfully attended the meeting.

Kikon said that the house passed the “historic resolution for future for the Nagas”, a resolution which according to him is a “culmination of voices” of those present.

Attendees from the civil society organizations included the 14 Naga tribes, Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Eastern Naga Students’ Federation (ENSF), Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO), Naga Mothers Association (NMA), Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC), Tenyimi Peoples’ Organisation (TPO), Naga hoho and others. Among the political parties, only the NDPP, BJP and NPP were in attendance.

Meanwhile, chairman and minister Planning and coordination, land resource and parliamentary affairs, Neiba Kronu informed that during the crucial meeting held at the State Banquet Hall of the Chief Minister’s Residential Complex in Kohima, which lasted for hours, no discussions on the issue of the Naga flag and constitution were made.

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