Kohima, Feb 12: Stating that he spoke for the rights of the Naga people, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said Tuesday that he was willing to go to jail for their sake. He was reacting to the Manipur government’s decision to seek action against him for making a “hate speech” last week.
“There is nothing wrong in voicing the suffering of his people and the denial of rights to the Nagas. I am speaking for the right of the Naga people and for that why should anybody threaten to jail me,” Rio said.
“If I am to go to jail for the sake of my people, so be it,” he said.
On Feb 8, the Manipur cabinet decided to approach the Election Commission and the union home ministry to seek action against the Nagaland chief minister for a “hate speech” against Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
Manipur Education Minister Moirangthem Okendro Singh said the “hate speech” made by the Nagaland chief minister could spark communal tension and have an adverse impact on inter-state relations.
On Feb 6, the Nagaland chief minister, who is seeking re-election from the Northern Angami-II Assembly Constituency, referred to Ibobi as “one of the biggest enemies of Naga people and responsible for the suppression of Nagas” during his election campaign for his party Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagaland’s Zunheboto district.
The NPF leader, who is confident of making a political hat-trick against a divided opposition Congress in the Feb 23 elections to the 60-member assembly, also termed the Congress leaders in Nagaland as not genuine and only agents of outsiders and representatives of the adversaries of the Naga people.