ENPO reaffirms call to boycott Nagaland assembly polls over statehood demand

KOHIMA, 20 Dec: The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) has reaffirmed its call to boycott the 2023 assembly elections in the Northeastern state if the Centre does not fulfil its demand for a separate state of ‘Frontier Nagaland’.

The apex tribal body of the region convened an emergency central executive council meeting in Tuensang on Monday after the recent visit of a three-member ministry of home affairs (MHA) fact-finding team to study the demand.

“We reaffirm our 26 August, 2022 resolution to abstain from any central or state elections till our demand for a separate state is met,” ENPO president R Tsapikiu Sangtam told PTI.

He said the meeting also affirmed its call to ban all election campaigning and not allow the filing of nominations in the region for the assembly election due early next year.

Asked whether the ENPO would direct 20 legislators from the region to resign, he said, “We have left it to their wisdom.”

During meetings with the MHA team, the outfit put forth grievances and reiterated the demand for a separate state.

He said the people of eastern Nagaland, comprising six districts of Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire, Longleng, Shamator and Longleng, will not accept any special economic package or other proposals.

After a recent meeting between the ENPO office-bearers and union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, a three-member fact-finding team, led by MHA adviser (Northeast) AK Mishra, and comprising Intelligence Bureau Joint Director Mandeep Singh Tull and MHA Northeast Division Director AK Dhayani, visited the state from 16 December.

Besides meeting the ENPO office-bearers, representatives of its students and women wings, senior citizens, village leaders and government officials from the six districts, the MHA team called on Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and top bureaucrats in Kohima on Monday.

They left for Delhi on Tuesday, an official said.

The ENPO has been demanding a separate state of ‘Frontier Nagaland’ since 2010 and to press for it, they boycotted the Hornbill Festival this year. (PTI)