Kohima, Jan 18: An apex tribal council of Nagaland Friday demanded a lasting solution to the six-decade-old Naga insurgency before elections in the state.
“A solution to the Naga problem should precede elections. This is not the right time to hold elections in Nagaland as the Naga people want a political settlement,” said Keviletuo Kiewhuo, president of Naga Hoho, an apex tribal council of Nagaland.
The two National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) groups – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) have been fighting for an independent Nagaland since the 1980s.
New Delhi and the NSCN-IM entered into a ceasefire Aug 1997.
More than 50 rounds of peace talks have been held to end one of South Asia’s longest-running insurgencies that has killed 25,000 people since 1947.
“When we are in the threshold of peaceful resolution, we are amazed as to why India should impose elections against the will of the people”, Kiewhuo said.
He added: “We are made to understand that India does not seem to be interested in a solution and has imposed elections in Nagaland to divide the people further.”
Kiewhuo met Nagaland Governor Nikhil Kumar Thursday and appealed to him to take appropriate steps towards deferment of elections in Nagaland and “give sufficient time for the peace process to accomplish its tasks in the interest of all democratic loving people”.
Kiewhuo had earlier asked Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath to withhold the poll process in the state.
Six political parties in Nagaland have submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for postponing the assembly elections till various Naga rebel groups and the central government arrive at a consensus on the insurgency issue.
The Congress, BJP, JD(U), NCP, Trinamool Congress and RJD have said that the UPA government should give more importance to the ongoing political talks between the central government and the Naga rebels rather than holding assembly elections.
The NSCN-IM, one of the most influential separatist outfits in the northeast, entered into ceasefire agreement with the central government in 1997, while the NSCN-K signed a ceasefire in 2001.
The NSCN-K agreed on a ceasefire July 9 with the Myanmar government.