Kohima: K G Kenye, who has just completed his term as the lone Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland, Wednesday said the Centre is keen on resolving the Naga political issue at the earliest but the problem is partly with the people as they are divided into many groups with different demands.

Kenye said that as an MP from the state he had made several attempts in Parliament and outside to press for an early solution to the Naga political issue and for permanent peace in the state and the north east.

“The Centre is interested in resolving the issue at the earliest but partly it is our Naga people who are at fault because we have too many different groups and may be with different purposes (demands).”

“It would have been appropriate if we could settle the different issues among ourselves first and then put before the Centre a single and concrete proposal/document encompassing all our aspirations,” the Naga Peoples Front leader said.

Since the Naga groups did not screen their documents and did not place them before the Centre to decide, it may take time.

To questions on the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) by the Centre, Kenye said the repeal of the Act has always been on the cards but despite several attempts the Naga MPs could never take the issue to the Parliament for discussion.

The Oting massacre by security forces in December last year gave the Nagaland MPs their first opportunity to register their protest in Parliament against the draconian law and impress upon the Centre that AFSPA has created only animosity among the people and must be done away with, he said.

On the Centre’s recent decision to reduce areas under AFSPA in Nagaland and other NE states, Keyne said this was the first time since the enactment of the Act in 1958 that the Centre had shown some response to the long standing demands of the people.

Though small and little, the Centre has opened a very positive chapter and we are able to see that the Centre is yielding to our genuine demand, he asserted.

On protests by different groups on the partial repeal of AFSPA in Nagaland, Kenye said, “Our people must learn to take one step at a time this kind of work is done in a phased manner and the process has begun.”

After having tolerated the Act for so many decades, the Nagas must acknowledge that change has begun. “This is a big achievement and a major step towards building more confidence,” he said.

Keyne said that the Naga MPs had made continuous efforts and also requested the Centre for enactment of Inner Line Permit (ILP) specially in Nagaland. Their demand was finally accommodated by the 9th Amendment of the Citizenship Act, granting the safeguard not only to Nagaland but other North Eastern states.

Kenye had been the general secretary of NPF for three terms and was its secretary general till he was suspended from the Party for voting in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in January 2020 in Parliament. His suspension was revoked a few days before he completed his stint as Rajya Sabha MP.

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