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NPF Withdraws from Legislators' Forum on Naga Peace Issue, Says Will Continue To Be Active Facilitators

A poster with a Naga flag is seen on the entrance of a shop in Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. (AP Photo/Yirmiyan Arthur)

A poster with a Naga flag is seen on the entrance of a shop in Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. (AP Photo/Yirmiyan Arthur)

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.

The opposition NPF has withdrawn from the Joint Legislators Forum (JLF) on the Naga political issue, stating that it has failed to make any progress to resolve the imbroglio. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Naga Peoples Front (NPF) legislature party held at the residence of opposition leader TR Zeliang at Dimapur on Tuesday. T

The NPF, however, asserted that it would continue to be "active facilitators" towards an early resolution of the issue. The NPF played an active role in resolving the Naga political issue at various stages for the last 23 years, stated a resolution adopted at the meeting. It also volunteered to be part of the JLF with the ardent hope that the efforts rendered towards the cause would be carried forward in letter and spirit, it said.

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, it added. The NPF lamented that the JLF has become a mere forum without any tangible road-map for resolving the Naga political issue. All members of the 60-seat assembly are part of the JLF.

The forum also has a 20-member core committee, comprising of five NPF MLAs. Maintaining that the signing of the Framework Agreement between the NSCN (IM) and Centre in August 2015, and the Agreed Position between the NNPGs and the Centre in November 2017 created a conducive atmosphere for the JLF to assist the peace process, the NPF claimed that the grouping's meetings were convened only to be followed by inaction on the part of the current state government, rendering it to be an ineffective forum.

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 in order 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, it claimed. The NPF claimed that on August 5, Rio along with Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was called to Delhi by HomeMinister Amit Shah and they left for the national capital the next day on a chartered flight. They met Shah on the same day, it claimed.

While the Chief Minister of Nagaland on his return maintained an eerie silence on what transpired in the meeting, it was learnt from the Finance Minister of Assam through his interactions with the media that the meeting was in regard to 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, it said.

Further, the NPF stated that even as October 31, 2019was made the deadline for a conclusion on the Naga political issue, the state government paid the least attention in convening a JLF meeting before that despite appeals. "The supplication fell on deaf ears and therefore, the NPF legislature party delegation, along with some party central office-bearers proceeded to Delhi on October 28, 2019and met leaders of the 7 NNPGs and the NSCN (IM) on October 29 and 30, 2019 respectively," it said.

There was a positive response from both the groups and subsequently, on the evening of October 31, 2019, it was informed that both the parties had arrived at a mutual understanding, it added. The party said that when the ruling dispensation does not have confidence in the legislators of the NPF, there is no valid reason why it should continue to remain a part of the JLF. The NPF's decision to pull out of the JLF comes amid attacks by the NSCN-IM on Nagaland Governor and interlocutor for peace talks R N Ravi.

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