Demand for separate state in eastern Nagaland gains traction

KOHIMA, 4 Sep: The clamour for a separate state in eastern Nagaland has gained momentum ahead of the assembly polls due early next year, with 20 MLAs from the region extending support to a call not to take part in any election until the demand is met.

Eastern Nagaland comprises six districts – Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire, Longleng, Noklak and Shamator – which are inhabited by seven tribes of Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Tikhir and Yimkhiung.

The Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO), an influential body in the region, held a joint

consultative meeting with politicians, seven tribal bodies and other organisations from the region on 26 August in Dimapur, where they resolved not to take part in any election until their demand for a separate state of ‘Frontier Nagaland’ is met.

The assembly election to the 60-member House in Nagaland is due in February next year, while the Supreme Court has also directed the state government to conduct polls to all urban local bodies by January as those are due for more than 12 years.

“The 20 MLAs from the region cannot go against the will of the people. The statehood agitation is a people’s movement and we are all with them,” CL John, the Eastern Nagaland Legislators’ Union secretary and advisor for land resources, told PTI.

The ENPO has submitted representations and memoranda to the Centre on several occasions since the commencement of the movement in 2010, the legislator said.

John said that people are angered as the Centre is not replying either in affirmative or negative.

He said the issue was discussed in the assembly in 2012 and a representation was forwarded to the Centre. (PTI)