Pressure groups urge Modi to defer Nagaland assembly polls

Kohima, Jan 8 :  With the Assembly polls in Nagaland likely to be announced this week, pressure groups have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defer the elections due to the seven-decade-old Naga insurgency.

The term of the 60-member Nagaland assembly expires on March 13, 2019.

Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT), the powerful people’s movement against corruption, urged Modi to impose President’s Rule in order to facilitate a peaceful solution.

Apart from ACAUT, other groups including the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC), Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC) and Gaon Burrah Federation of Nagaland (GBFN) also submitted separate memorandums on Sunday.

On August 3, 2015, the central government and the separatist group, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Issac-Muivah (NSCN-IM) signed the Framework Agreement to end the insurgency.

Last year, the government had also signed an agreement with a Working Committee comprising six Naga National Political Groups.

Noting that a solution to the protracted political issue was of paramount importance, the NTC stated that it was deeply distressed at the prospect of Assembly elections, as it could be a distraction from the peace process.

In the memorandum, the NTC informed Modi that more than 40 NGOs had gathered on December 9, 2017, at Dimapur and unanimously resolved to prefer a solution to election.

“All these voices of the people were being raised for one single objective of eradicating chaos and confusion and having lasting peace and progress,” the NTC stated.

Appreciating the Prime Minister’s commitment to solve the Naga insurgency issue, the GBFN said, “Elections at this hour would most likely jeopardise the Prime Minister’s desire for peace. A political solution to the seven-decade long Indo-Naga political issue must be given greater importance over the democratic electoral exercise.”

The ACAUT said: “If elections are held in Nagaland for the sake of constitutional process before the completion of the negotiation process with the six Naga National Political Groups (or rebel groups) and the NSCN-IM, then solution to Naga problems will remain a mirage.”

The Nagaland Assembly last year had adopted a resolution urging the central government to take emergent and extraordinary steps for an “honourable and acceptable solution” before the Assembly election.