Rebels want comforts of life with public money, not settlement, says Nagaland Deputy CM

By Prasanta Mazumdar| Express News Service | Published: 16th May 2022 12:45 PM
Nagaland Deputy CM Yanthungo Patton (Photo| Twitter)

GUWAHATI: Shifting from political tradition, Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton said senior insurgent leaders do not want a settlement to the “Naga political problem” so that they can continue to enjoy the comforts of life at people’s cost.

Speaking at a recent event, a video of which has gone viral on social media, the BJP stalwart can be heard making an appeal to the Nagas to speak up against it.

"Some big (extremist) leaders do not want a solution. They want to keep relaxing and enjoying the comforts of life with money collected through extortion and taxes," Patton said.

"If this continues, I would say, go to hell. You won’t go to heaven. How can you go to heaven by causing so much hardship to the public? We must come out openly now. It is high time. Enough is enough. There is no other topic," Patton said.

Never before have the Naga political leaders spoken against rebel leaders in this manner. In fact, even in the state Assembly, the extremists are referred to as “national workers”.

Patton said the Nagas must try to bring a solution to the protracted problem under the leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who, he said, was struggling for settlement.

The Centre’s peace process with the Naga extremist groups started in 1997 with the signing of a ceasefire agreement with major outfit National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM. In 2016, seven other groups had come together under the banner of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and joined the process. The Myanmar-based Yung Aung faction of the NSCN is the only Naga group outside the purview of the peace process.

The peace talks with the NNPGs as well as the NSCN-IM are over. The NSCN-IM has stuck to its gun. It has made it amply clear that there can be no solution without the Nagas being granted a separate flag and constitution. However, the groups under NNPGs are awaiting settlement. They say the contentious issues could be pursued post-settlement.

In March, Nagaland minister and BJP leader Temjen Imna Along had ruffled the NSCN-IM’s feathers by stating in the Assembly that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during a meeting where the CM was also present, had said the Nagas would not achieve a separate flag and constitution even in 400 years.

The insurgent groups in Nagaland run parallel governments and they survive on myriad “taxes” collected from all and sundry.

Tags : Naga political situation Neiphiu Rio Temjen Imna Along Yanthungo Patton

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