Nagaland Governmet to abandon road shows

Kohima, Feb 1 : Nagaland Planning and Coordination Minister T R Zeliang has informed that the state government has decided not to continue with the road shows along with the tribal festivals in various towns and district headquarters of the state.

According to official sources here today, Mr Zeliang announced this during the Peren District Planning and Development Board meeting held at the Peren Deputy Commissioner's Conference Hall on Saturday last and said the government has decided not to organise any road show.

Mr Zeliang, who chaired the meeting, also discussed other developmental works of the district and took stock of the ongoing developmental works, sources said.
READ MORE - Nagaland Governmet to abandon road shows

Chinese 'spy' did not visit Hebron, say Nagaland cops

DIMAPUR: Mystery shrouds the visit of a Chinese woman found "spying" on India and visiting the NSCN (IM) heaquarters during her visit to Dimapur.

While reports indicate that Qing Wang (38) had visited Hebron, the headquarters of NSCN (IM) during her visit to Dimapur, police have a completely different tale to tell. SP (Dimapur) Z Mero said the Chinese woman was intercepted at Dimapur railway station at 4.30 pm on January 18 after she reached there with some Naga boys and girls from New Delhi. She was immediately taken into custody as she did not possess the RAP. She, however, had visa and passport with her.

Mero said Wang was detained and kept at a police mess at Chumukedima. On January 19, she was deported to Kolkata escorted by a woman police officer, he added. Replying to a query whether Wang visited Hebron camp as reported earlier, Mero said the question doesn't arise as she was arrested from Dimapur railway station and deported the next day. The SP added that though RAP has been lifted in Nagaland, it is still applicable for citizens of China and Pakistan. Earlier, there were reports that Wang had a 4-hour meeting with NSCN (IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah in New Delhi and that she came to Dimapur along with some Naga youths and NSCN cadres later. It was reported that she also visited Hebron camp, some 35 km from Dimapur.

Mero said police had specific inputs about a Chinese girl travelling to Nagaland without an RAP and accordingly they intercepted her when she landed at Dimapur Railway Station along with some Naga boys and girls. Replying to a query, the SP said, "We don't know whether she is a spy. We only knew that she was a Chinese national."
READ MORE - Chinese 'spy' did not visit Hebron, say Nagaland cops

Separate statehood cry gets louder in region

DIMAPUR: Demands for separate statehood in the northeast are getting louder every passing day with outfits like Dima Halom Daogah (Nunisa) and NDFB once again intensifying their agitation for Dimaraji and Bodoland respectively.

"We will not accept anything else but a separate Dimaraji state comprising the Dimasa-dominated areas of Assam and Nagaland," DHD (Nunisa) chairman Dilip Nunisa told TOI on Friday.

In 2009, the group had submitted its charter of demands to the Centre and continues to put pressure on the government to realize its objective. The DHD(N) wants amalgamation of the Dimasa-inhabited areas of Karbi Anglong, North Cachar Hills, Cachar and Nagaon districts in Assam and the Dhansiri tract of Nagaland for the creation of Dimaraji as a "full-fledged state".

The statehood demand marks a departure from the group's earlier demand of an autonomous state in accordance with the Section 244(A) of the Constitution "for safeguarding and ensuring development of Dimasa areas".

Replying to a query on the recent change in nomenclature of NC Hills, Nunisa said: "We are not demanding change in the nomenclature of NC Hills. All we want is a separate Dimaraji state. The Centre is trying to dive the Dimasas and rule them. New Delhi cannot fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the Dimasas by only changing the name of NC Hills."

In April 2010, the Assam government had renamed the North Cachar Hills as Dima Haso with its headquarters in Haflong. Nunisa added, "Dimapur should also be a part of Dimaraji. Dimapur belongs to the Dimasas and nobody can deny it. It is our historical and constitutional right." He, however, added that Dimaraji could be achieved through talks with the government.

In October 2009, the DHD leaders had met Central leaders with their separate statehood demand and warned New Delhi of dire consequences if it was not met. Besides statehood, DHD's other demands are inner-line permit system for non-tribals visiting the proposed Dimaraji state, ear-marking of a Lok Sabha and a Rajya Sabha seat for the tribal residents of Dimaraji, safeguarding the historical monuments of the Dimasa kingdom, setting up of a central university and the establishment of an airport at Hakela Hading, 16km from Haflong, the district headquarters of North Cachar Hills.

On the other hand, a similar movement is getting stronger in the Bodo heartland of Assam. And this demand is for Bodoland, a separate state for the Bodos.

Last year, various Bodo organizations met in Kokrajhar and unveiled a map of the proposed Bodoland which, it wants, should comprise almost all areas along the northern banks of the Brahmaputra.

"Initially there were some differences among various Bodo organizations about the demand for a separate state. But after the Bodo National Convention in November, the (Bodo) groups formed the Bodo National Conference for a unified approach to the Bodo causes. This rejuvenated the demand for a separate Bodoland," NDFB general secretary Gobinda Basumatary. At present, he is at Doyapur to attend the Bihu festival of the Dimasas.

When pointed out that the NDFB (Progressive), which is currently in talks with the Centre and enjoys autonomy, Basumatary said: "This status does not give political freedom, but only redresses social and development issues."
READ MORE - Separate statehood cry gets louder in region

More Naga villages join community-led conservation network

Kohima, Jan 31 (PTI) Aiming to expand and consolidateactive community participation in eco conservation campaign ineastern part of Nagaland, 14 more villages have joined aconservation network to protect a contiguous green canopy thatfalls under their jurisdictions.

Chingmei village under Tuensang hosted a meeting ofthe elders from 14 villages yesterday which resolved to joinEastern Nagaland Conservation Area Network (ENCAN) afterdeliberating on the need for sustained use of forest cover andother bio-resources.

With these 14 villages joining the network, the totalnumber of villages under the ENCAN now reaches 72 villageswith more villages are likely to join the people-led campaign,ENCAN office bearers said.

They said the participants in the meeting agreed thatit was not only the need for conservation of rich naturalheritage of the border area but it was also an urgent need toregenerate the fallow lands (abandoned jhum land) contiguousto the existing community reserved forests.

The 14 villages are the custodians of one of thelargest pristine forest covers in Nagaland with many flora andfauna.

The ENCAN was formed on December 9 last year atTuensang in a gathering of 45 villages stretching across theeastern belt from Aboi area in Mon district south ward toSaramati range.
READ MORE - More Naga villages join community-led conservation network

Frontier Nagaland cry affects Naga unity: Cong

DIMAPUR: The Congress Legislative Party in Nagaland has said the demand for a separate " Frontier Nagaland" by six Naga tribes living in four districts of the state was adversely affecting the Naga

The Konyaks, Changs, Sangtams, Khiamnuingans, Yimchungrus and Phoms want amalgamation of Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire and Mon districts for the creation of "Frontier Nagaland".

Expressing concern over the issue and others confronting the Nagas, the CLP held a meeting on late Friday evening. It also discussed growing disenchantment among the general public regarding misgovernance, corruption and irregularities committed by the Democratic Alliance Government of Nagaland in many fronts.

The opposition Congress asserted that the tribes' demand should not be shifted to the bureaucrats alone but should be handled politically by the state government as it is delicate and involves the aspiration of a large section of the Naga people.

The legislators said a political panel instead of an administrative committee is imperative to instill the confidence among the eastern Nagas.

Considering intricacies of the issue, the party asked the state government to take bold political decisions to resolve the problem. The CLP pointed out that the common perception was that the presence of substantial political leadership (in eastern part of Nagaland) had not made any difference in equitable presence of bureaucracy in key positions and proportionate employees in the government establishments.

A release issued on behalf of the CLP by parliamentary secretary (to CLP) C Apok Jamir pointed out that when the Konyak Union met chief minister Neiphiu Rio on April 6 last year during Aolin-cum-Road Show in Mon and told him the Eastern Naga People's Organization (ENPO) would seek a separate state, "the CM's reply was I will neither oppose nor recommend your demand'."

Later, Enpo, representing Mon, Tuensang, Longleng and Kiphire district inhabited by Konyak, Chang, Sangtam, Khiamnuingan, Yimchungru and Phom tribes, met the Union home minister and home secretary and submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister with the statehood demand.

On the other hand, Rajya Sabha MP Khekiho Zhimomi said the demand for a separate state was a slight setback to the Naga political struggle for unity and integration but the grievances of the eastern Nagas could be resolved by the DAN government under Rio's leadership.
READ MORE - Frontier Nagaland cry affects Naga unity: Cong

As Muivah holds talks, outfit says pact must realise Naga ‘historical realities’

Samudra Gupta Kashyap

Even as top National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM) leaders — chairman Issak Chisi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah — arrived in New Delhi on January 21 from Bangkok, and have been holding informal parleys with the government, the outfit on Sunday said that resolving the Naga issue without due recognition to Naga political and historical realities would only lead to a failure. “Solution reached at the expense of the Naga political and historical realities will lead both the parties (the government and the NSCN) back to square one,” a press release e-mailed to The Indian Express by the “ministry of information and publicity” of the “Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim” said.

The organisation accused the Central government of pursuing a “carrot and stick policy” and said that while Muivah and Swu were being accorded a warm welcome by New Delhi, several other leaders were “deliberately” branded as criminals. The reference was to the arrest of Koningam, a deputy minister, and “Major General” Ningkhan Shimray, a top functionary of the NSCN’s armed wing, who were arrested on their way to Delhi.

“The Naga people express their high appreciation and gratitude to the government of India for taking all the necessary troubles in making his (Muivah’s) trip safe and sound in spite of hurdles here and there. At the same time, our people express their unhappiness over their carrot and stick policy,” the statement said.

It added, “We are afraid that indecisiveness in the talks will create more commotion, turmoil and breach of trust between the two parties. ... in spite of all these apprehensions, the Naga people hope and trust that the government of India will take positive steps with utmost sincerity and strong political will in the coming round of talks.”

The NSCN(IM) has been in a ceasefire with the government since 1997.
READ MORE - As Muivah holds talks, outfit says pact must realise Naga ‘historical realities’

Arunachal civil society meets FNR to stop NSCN infighting

Kohima, Jan 31 (PTI) Members of Arunachal Pradesh civilsociety has met leaders of ''Forum for Naga Re-conciliation''(FNR) with a request to persuade the two factions of NSCN tostop in-fighting inside the Himalayan state.

A seven-member delegation representing ArunachalCitizens'' Rights, NEFA Indigenous Human Rights Organisation,among other groups sought FNR''s immediate intervention intothe on-going armed clashes between two NSCN groups in Tirapand Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh yesterday.

The members told newsmen that tension has been mounting inthe two districts due to in-fighting between NSCN (IM) andNSCN (K) since November last year.

"The villagers even could not celebrate Christmas and NewYear properly due to the prevailing situation. Some villagesare completely under the control of the factions and they arenot being allowed to move out of the village. Their mobileswere also taken away," he said.

Moreover, due to the latest spurt in armed clashes, thevillagers were unable to carry out jhum cultivation, the mainlivelihood of the tribal people there, the delegates said.

FNR convener Rev Wati Aier said the delegates from theneighbouring state had expressed concern over the spiralingviolence.

The FNR also facilitated meetings between the delegatesand leaders of both groups of NSCN at their respectivedesignated camps where the civil society members apprised theunderground leaders of the gravity of the situation.

The delegation particularly pointed out that while the FNRwas in the process of bringing top leaders to meet under itsre-conciliation initiative, the Nagas must be vigilant against"external and internal forces" that might attempt to derailthe hard earned peace and re-conciliation process.
READ MORE - Arunachal civil society meets FNR to stop NSCN infighting

‘Assam NGOs shouldn’t always blame Nagas’

Dimapur, Jan 31 : A furious Tizit Area Students’ Union has lashed out at Assam non-governmental organizations for always blaming the Nagas for every incident that happens at the border. The TASU today issued a vehement statement disparaging Assamese organizations for accusing the Nagas behind the murder of an opium dealer, one Beli Rai, a Nepali, by her husband on January 17, 2011.
“We are fed up with their false allegations and propaganda initiated headlong at the advantage that the Nagas are dependent on the transit route of Assam which any essential commodities enters Nagaland… strike just to harass the Nagas on these and that issues” the union stated in a note received here today. The TASU questioned why “side-corner NGOs” in the border areas who aren’t even ‘Ahoms’ always blame the Naga people at each and every incident that takes place and these NGOs, non-Ahom, even take the name of “All Assam” in their nomenclature, the union said.
Referring to the murder on January 17, the TASU reminded that currently a joint enquiry and spot verifications by NGOs from both the sides have found that the deceased and her husband, Devan Rai runs an opium business; they had a bitter ‘feud’ as the deceased was often away from home. On one occasion, the deceased was cut in the hand by her husband, the union said taking into account the family background, accounts and the ‘fishy utterances’ of the victim’s husband. At this point of time, the TASU advised the Assam organizations, it would be wrong to blame anyone without evidence or witnesses when joint investigations are on by the police and administration.
The TASU condemned the murder and demanded to the authorities to book the real culprits in the interest of peoples of both the states. “We extend our fullest support and cooperation to the authorities in finding the real culprits,” the TASU said in its note.
On the statement that the Nagas “frequently attack Assamese people,” in the border areas, the Tizit students’ organization said that statement rather should have been made by the Nagas themselves. The TASU stated: “They (non-Ahoms) have gone beyond much limits taking undue advantage of the so-called economic blockade to the Nagas, harassing and abusing even kids and women. We have been bearing these brunt and insults meted out to us by the outside settlers of Assam keeping in mind of being Christian now and believing in the peaceful co-existence with the neighbors.” The union has cautioned people against breaking the Naga-Ahom relations.
READ MORE - ‘Assam NGOs shouldn’t always blame Nagas’

Rio urged to deal with “Frontier State” demand

KOHIMA, Jan 30 – Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in Nagaland has urged the Neiphiu Rio Government to address the sensitive issue of separate State demand by Eastern Nagaland Public Organisation (ENPO) without further delay.

The CLP issued a statement expressing grave concern over the demand for creation of “Frontier Nagaland” comprising four border districts of the State after its meeting in Dimapur yesterday.

The opposition Congress asserted that the matter should not be shifted to the bureaucrats alone but should be handled politically by the State Government as it is delicate and involves the aspiration of a large section of the Naga people.

The opposition legislators said a political panel instead of an administrative committee is imperative to instil the confidence among the Eastern Nagas.

Considering intricacies of the issue, the party asked the State Government to take bold political decisions to resolve the problem. The CLP pointed out that the common perception was that the presence of substantial political leadership (in eastern part of Nagaland) had not made any difference in equitable presence of bureaucracy in key positions and proportionate employees in the government establishments.

Maintaining that elected members have the constitutional obligation to protect and preserve the integrity of the State, the Congress said the DAN Government should have taken concrete political steps to address the issue.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP, Khekiho Zhimomi said the demand for a separate State is a slight setback to the Naga political struggle for unity and integration but the grievances of the Eastern Nagas could be resolved by the DAN Government under the leadership of Rio.

He told newsmen at the sidelines of a function near Dimapur that the development and employment need of the border tribes could be redressed to the level of their maximum satisfaction.
READ MORE - Rio urged to deal with “Frontier State” demand

Swu-Khaplang meeting soon

DIMAPUR: The proposed meeting between NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chishi Swu and his NSCN(K) counterpart, S S Khaplang, is likely to be held soon.

Though the two groups have not yet finalized the date of the meeting, there are indications that the dialogue may take place after the NSCN(IM) holds another round of talks with the Centre.

"At present, Swu and NSCN(IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah are in New Delhi to hold the next round of talks with the government of India in a bid to resolve the vexed Naga political issue. However, the dates of the talks are yet to be finalized," special emissary to the outfit's collective leadership V S Atem told TOI here on Friday.

"After the meeting with the Centre, Swu and Muivah will both visit Nagaland and hold a meeting with Khaplang. This is going to happen very soon, but the schedule is not final," he added.

On January 23, the NSCN(IM) chairman reached New Delhi with an Indian passport. This was the first time that Swu, along with Muivah, has accepted Indian passports from the Union government.

According to sources, Swu is expected to attend the highest level meeting convened by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation.

Swu and Muivah have already agreed to work out a "mutually acceptable" settlement with the Central Government to resolve their differences.

"We acknowledge the positive attitude and the effort of the Indian government for creating such a conducive atmosphere. On our part, true to our commitment given to the Indian leaders, we are prepared to work out what is an honourable and mutually acceptable to both sides for a just and lasting solution," Swu said in New Delhi recently.
READ MORE - Swu-Khaplang meeting soon

Naga youth held for murder

JORHAT: Police have arrested a Naga youth in connection with the murder of an Assamese women in the Namtola area of Sivasagar district. He has been sent to judicial custody after being produced in court in Nagaland's Mon district.

The youth, identified as Ajen Konyak of the Tizit area in Nagaland, was arrested from the Naginimora area located on the Assam-Nagaland boundary of Sivasagar district on Thursday. OC (Namtola) Apurba Kumar Bora said, "We have got a letter from Tizit police station in Nagaland that the prime accused of the woman murder case has been arrested yesterday. The accused was now in judicial custody and Nagaland Police have asked us to take him in remand for investigation." He added, "We will file a petition to the chief judicial magistrate, Mon, to take the accused in police remand on Saturday. As the arrested Naga youth is suspected to be the prime accused in the brutal killing, a clear picture would emerge only after grilling him in police remand."

The officer said Naga miscreants hacked Beli Rai to death at her residence on January 17 and police had registered a case under Section 302 (Murder) of the IPC at Namtola police station.

As many as seven organizations led by the the Gorkha Students' Union imposed an indefinite economic in Sivasagar district from January 22 in protest against the incident. Later, the district administration of Mon assured the agitated Assam-based organizations of arresting the culprit by January 31.
READ MORE - Naga youth held for murder

Highest-level meet of top Naga rebel leaders by next month

Kohima, Jan 28 : The proposed highest-level meeting of the rival factions of the Naga underground outfits to discuss reconciliation among themselves is likely to be held in the middle of February.

The Forum for the Naga Reconciliation, which is successfully taking initiative for bringing reconciliation among all the Naga underground factions, had proposed for the highest-level meet of the top leaders of the underground factions, will attend the meeting.

According to sources, NSCN-IM Chairman Isak Chishi Swu and the Chairman of the NSCN (K) S S Khaplang, along with the top leaders of the Naga National Council (NNC) and the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN), are likely to attend the meeting to give impetus on the future course of action on the issue of reconciliation among all Naga underground groups.

Meanwhile, Mr Swu has already arrived in New Delhi on January 20 to take part in the discussions on Naga political problem with the representatives of the Union Government.

During a civic reception in New Delhi on January 23, Mr Swu said he had come to India on the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take part in the negotiation on Naga political issue to find out a solution.
READ MORE - Highest-level meet of top Naga rebel leaders by next month

Desire of Naga people for peace nearing: Governor

Kohima, Jan 27: Nagaland Governor Nikhil Kumar today said the Nagas have expressed an overwhelming desire for peace and expressed confidence that the united effort of the people will bring a final solution to the Naga political problem.

Unfurling the national tricolour on the 62nd Republic Day at the Secretariat Plaza, Mr Kumar congratulated all the NGOs, church organisations, members of the civil societies and specially Forum for Naga Reconciliation, whose tireless endeavour to bring about peace had shown an end to senseless killings and fratricides.

He lamented that the demand for a separate statehood had come at a time when the Naga political issue was delicately poised. He appealed to the leaders of four eastern districts of Nagaland to reconsider their stand and join hands with the government in its endeavour to bring the fruits of all round development to the less developed areas.

He said the government had initiated proactive steps towards ensuring the success of this noble venture and will continue to do so. He further said a climate of peace and harmony was a prerequisite for sustained development and growth.

There was need to abjure violence of all kinds, need to forge mutual understanding and goodwill for all round development, he said.

He informed that the state government had sincerely followed a policy of balanced regional development and affirmative action to bring the less developed areas at par with the rest of Nagaland.

It had reserved 25 per cent government jobs exclusively for the people of four eastern districts of Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire and Longleng.
READ MORE - Desire of Naga people for peace nearing: Governor

Two Naga women selected as national boxing coach

Kohima, Jan 26 : Aarushi s father Rajesh Talwar attacked outside court

Two women boxing coaches from Nagaland have been empanelled as National Women Boxing Coach for Junior Women. They are among 12 other women coaches of the country selected for the job.

General Secretary of Nagaland Amateur Boxing Association (NABA) T Meren Paul, T Arenla Tzudir and N Akok Tzudir have been empanelled for the coaching. He also informed T Arenla is the first boxing coach from the state to be drafted to coach the National Team.
READ MORE - Two Naga women selected as national boxing coach

Nagaland forests facing destruction

Meluri, Jan 26 : Towards the south-eastern part of Nagaland, a big problem looms. A problem least thought about by most people; nonetheless, is a grave one. Meluri, a subdivision under Phek district, is one of the remotest places in Nagaland. The land inhabited predominantly by the Pochury tribe extends uptill the border of Myanmar. This region’s forests are home to an abundance of flora and fauna, unmatched by any other part of Nagaland. The people here consider the forests a community heritage.

But nature’s bounty is slowly being reduced to patches of bare land. Deforestation has become the biggest threat to the people of this region. Random deforestation in this region started in the eighties, when the Forest (Conservation) Act was already in force. According to local sources, Nepalese woodcutters came from different parts of the state, and beyond, in search for work. Most of them settled as professional woodcutters. Initially, these woodcutters worked for locals who used the forests’ wood for personal use. They eventually graduate to working for rich timber businessmen in Dimapur.

Over the years, many timber smugglers joined the business and the forests’ of Meluri became the ultimate target. Deforestation accelerated. Wood like Pine, Redwood and Bonsun were in great demand in the domestic and international markets, so they were cut down rapidly. Many other rare species of trees measuring more than 100 feet tall and five meters circumference were randomly felled. The locals, unaware that deforestation could someday become a threat to them, gave easy access to these smugglers. Today, the forest has lost nearly 80 per cent of its seasoned trees; some of them hundreds of years old. Pine forest, the region’s asset is almost completely wiped out.

Deforestation may have come with economic benefits for locals, but despite that, the negatives greatly outweigh the positives. Even today, with less than 20 per cent of seasoned trees left in the forest, deforestation continues unabated. With little options for locals to earn money, they also indulge in the trade. As for the woodcutters, as long as there is work, they will continue. Generations of Nepalese woodcutters have worked in these forests.

The locals here hardly get any benefit from the wood they sell to rich timber barons, but the trade must go on for them. While the timber barons have become millionaires, the locals remain largely ignorant about the drain of their wealth. There is also still very little awareness on conservation here; owing to which the region is slowly losing its green covers.

The ultimate result of deforestation has been a major decrease in biodiversity. Deforestation has slowly destroyed natural habitats for animals in this region. Many animals found in the forest have disappeared. One Pochury hunter said earlier a variety of animals and birds like elephants, chimpanzees and peacocks could be spotted in the forest. They are no longer visible. Several water sources have also dried up, he said.

Deforestation is being discussed among many people but there is very little solution being offered. The region, which could have well become a hotspot for nature lovers, is slowly becoming a reflection of the rest of Nagaland, a State that has lost nearly 70 per cent of its forest cover. (The figures given are based on rough estimates made by locals of the region) (Agencies)
READ MORE - Nagaland forests facing destruction

Cold wave sweeps Nagaland

Kohima, Jan. 25 : A cold wave has been sweeping Nagaland for the past two weeks, bringing the mercury down to one degree Celsius.

The meteorological office here said Nagaland was experiencing such a cold wave across the state after a long time.

The cold wave is expected to continue for a few more days, it added.

Though no death has been reported from any part of the state so far, the extreme cold has hampered daily chores across the state.

In Kohima, attendance in offices has been thin with people preferring to stay indoors. Vehicles have also kept off the streets for the past few days because of the extreme weather conditions.

Mount Saramati, the highest peak in Nagaland, on the Indo-Myanmar border and Mount Japfu, 20km from here, are covered with snow.

The Dzukou valley, which is tucked behind the Japfu range and is located about 30km south of Kohima, is also swathed in snow.

A nature lover’s delight, the valley is so thickly covered with snow now that tourists are finding it difficult to visit the place. Come June, however, this white wonder will give way to a carpet of flowers and the frozen streams will start meandering again.

Sources from Aghunato town in Zunheboto district said the tap water was frozen because of the extreme cold and there has been snowfall in and around the town.

Snowfall was also reported from Atoizu town and its surrounding areas under Zunheboto district and Pfutsero subdivision under Phek district.

Environment department here said this was a clear sign of global warming, which should be taken seriously.
READ MORE - Cold wave sweeps Nagaland

After Telangana comes Frontier Nagaland

Once again there is a separate statehood demand and this time it’s in Nagaland. The Frontier Nagaland demand has not come out of nowhere, but does it have the potential to create roadblock for NSCN (IM)’s Greater Nagaland agenda? Ratnadip Choudhury tries to find out
The Telengana movement in the south has ignited a similar spirit in the hills of Nagaland. Inspired by the statehood stir in Andhra Pradesh, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) has come forward with a demand of carving out a new state — Frontier Nagaland. This demand comes after six Naga tribes, including the Chang, Konyak, Sangtam, Khiamniungan, Yimchungru, Phom. Along with the ENPO, they want the new state to be carved out of Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng districts of eastern Nagaland as well as Tirap and Changlang districts of adjoining Arunachal Pradesh, which have a dominant Naga population.
This demand, although only a resurgence of an old claim, comes at a time when the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) is involved in a 13-year-long peace process with the Centre and its idea of creation of a Greater Nagaland that seeks to bring, besides Nagaland, all Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur under one administrative set-up. This idea has been vehemently opposed by neighbouring states. In 2010, violence escalated when the Manipur government did not allow NSCN (IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to enter the state to visit his native village.
The ENPO has its own reasons to rack up the demand. It feels that successive governments in Nagaland have failed to ensure development and create jobs for the people of these areas and they feel oppressed and alienated in their own land. “This is a mass movement. Our demand of Frontier Nagaland is based on historical facts. For decades, Eastern Nagaland has been left underdeveloped. Our people don’t get jobs,” says ENPO General Secretary Toshi Wungpung. To this end, they have already sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh explaining why eastern Nagas feel the need for a new state. The ENPO delegation has also met Home Minister P Chidambaram to make it very clear to New Delhi that they are not going to turn back.
A trip to Eastern Nagaland and a graze of the Nagaland government’s own records show the sorry picture of development in the areas. Successive governments have overlooked the issues concerning the upliftment of these Naga tribes that constitute nearly half of Nagaland’s total population. Not more then five percent of them have government jobs, and there are no other job avenues. Their economic condition has gone from bad to worse.
“The issue of underdevelopment and neglect of the eastern part of Nagaland has been an issue doing the rounds for sometime. The demand of job reservation for these underdeveloped areas has been gaining momentum, so this demand of creation of a separate state is something very expected in the present geo-political scenario,” explains John Sema, a teacher of political Science at Nagaland University. The ENPO is taking the movement to the masses by organising rallies in the area. “You have to look back in history. It is only after India got independence that the present land (eastern belt of Nagaland) came under the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) whereby the state of Nagaland was created. It is our legitimate right to have a separate state. Even the Constitution of India has enshrined a special provision for this region. However, this provision is denied by the state government… because of which we are backward both politically and economically,” thundered ENPO Vice-President Yonglam Konyak at a recently held public rally in Kiphire.
“Media should not mix this demand with the process of reconciliation or the peace initiative. Those are involving underground outfits. This is not a new demand. This is rather an economic movement for fulfilment of economic aspirations of these people because no one can deny the fact that successive state governments in Nagaland have failed to ensure development in the eastern belt,” opines Geoffrey Yaden, editor of Nagaland Post.
A peep into Nagaland’s socio-economic fabric perhaps gives us a clearer picture. Nagas from communities like Sümi, Ao, Angami or Lotha have benefited the most from whatever economic development the state has seen in decades of deadlock and insurgency. Ministers and MLAs from the eastern part of Nagaland only remained busy securing the future of their kin. If the demand gains ground, it certainly runs the risk of undermining the idea of Greater Nagaland that NSCN (IM) wants to bargain out of New Delhi, although it is pretty clear that the Centre is in no mood to re-draw boundaries to meet such aspirations.
This situation perhaps helps New Delhi the best. “We have taken note of the ENPO’s demand that it has become impossible for them to continue as part of Nagaland because of the gross neglect,” says a highly placed MHA official on condition on anonymity. The game plan is clear. India first tried to settle with the main Naga tribes through the Shillong Accord but when it failed, it waited for the NSCN to split under its own contradictions. Going by the trend of the peace initiatives that have been floated by the home ministry, the Centre might try to play on the contradictions of the marginal and frontier Naga tribes. “Having failed to get Muivah to agree to a settlement without Greater Nagaland, now New Delhi might take advantage of this new development. This effort, if successful, will only rupture the generic Naga identity and weaken the movement to create a nationality out of somewhat disparate tribes,” explains Subir Bhaumik, expert on Naga-India conflict. The Shillong Accord is seen as the genesis of the political disintegration of the Nagas and if New Delhi plays its political cards on the Frontier Nagaland demand, it is going to lead to even more chaos.
READ MORE - After Telangana comes Frontier Nagaland

Naga leaders agree for 'mutually acceptable' settlement with Centre

New Delhi, Jan 24: Leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) Isak Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah have agreed to work out a 'mutually acceptable' settlement with the Central Government to resolve their differences.

Coming as a landmark breakthrough in the ongoing peace talks, the NSCN-IM leadership also accepted the Indian passports for the first time from the Central Government.

Addressing a massive gathering of Naga activists, students and leaders here, Isak Swu publicly appreciated the central government's efforts to formulate a just settlement of the simmering issue.

"We acknowledge the positive attitude and the effort of the Indian government for creating such a conducive atmosphere. On our part, true to our commitment given to the Indian leaders, we are prepared to work out what is an honourable and mutually acceptable to both sides for a just and lasting solution," said Swu.

Swu also urged the Naga people to unite and rise above the shackles of social divides to promote progress and peace in Nagaland.

"The forces to destroy and divide the Nagas will always be there. But if the people understand the issue and love their land, we can always prevail upon these destructive forces. It is my firm conviction that despite our differences and past mistakes, we should be truthful to God and sincere in our approach for a genuine reconciliation," said Swu.

Asserting that both Naga leaders and the Central Government were genuinely interested in restoring normalcy in ties, Muivah, general secretary of NSCN-IM, said that progress had indeed been made.

"Now, I believe that progress has been made. Because the government of India has understood us. So, something positive can be expected, there is no doubt about it. I think every sensible person will agree with me. We have made our position very clear to the government of India," said Muivah.

The NSCN-IM has been demanding the creation of a separate state called 'Greater Nagaland,' comprising Naga-dominated areas of northeastern states.

However, the Indian government had always rejected this demand, saying that other ethnic groups living in the adjacent provinces are not ready to part any with territory.
READ MORE - Naga leaders agree for 'mutually acceptable' settlement with Centre

Fresh modalities for oil production in Nagaland

KOHIMA, Jan 24 – A Nagaland Government Cabinet sub-committee on exploration and mining of petroleum and natural gas would soon submit its report to the State Government recommending fresh modalities for production of oil in the State, an official release said here.

The release quoting Member Secretary of Cabinet sub-committee and Agriculture Production Commissioner H K Khulu, said the oil spill issue in Champang area in Wokha district would be addressed by the State Government. He asked the land owners and Department of Geology and Mining not to take any initiative on their own to deal with it, it added.

The committee members recently visited proven oil fields of Wokha district and inspected some of the abandoned oil rigs where oil was spilled causing environmental concern.

ONGC, which had earlier undertaken exploration and production in Champang and other areas in the district, had to leave the oil fields in May 1994 following violent protest by undergrounds and student activists.

Since then the State Government has been attempting to resume oil production in the area with a fresh set of modalities to be executed with the production companies.

The government set up a Cabinet sub-committee headed by Planning Minister T R Zeliang to study and recommend pros and cons of resumption of oil production in the State.

Khulu said the sub-committee members while visiting the area explained to the villagers about the government’s intention where maximum possible benefits are accrued to the State and to the local stakeholders.

So, at this stage when the sub-committee is about to submit its report to the government, the land owners should not complicate the matter by inviting ONGC to clean up those spilled rigs, he said.

The panel learnt the Department of Geology and Mining had invited ONGC for a joint verification of the oil spillage in Changpang without any consultation with the Cabinet sub-committee, and asked the department not to take any initiative on its own in this regard.
READ MORE - Fresh modalities for oil production in Nagaland

Top Naga leaders in Delhi

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) Two top Naga rebel leaders today hinted at some progress in the ongoing talks on the vexed Naga issue, saying they acknowledged Government's "positive" attitude in finding a lasting solution.

NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chisi Swu said the rebel leadership was in the country at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for peace dialogue and hoped that the Centre would keep its promise that any agreement with the outfit would reflect the "unique history" of the Nagas.

"We are committed to an honourable, just and lasting solution," Swu said addressing a function here organized to welcome his visit. Swu arrived in New Delhi yesterday after a gap of more than a year and also accepted Indian passport for the first time.

So far, he was reportedly carrying the passport of a neighbouring nation.

The Naga leader said he welcomed the Indian government's positive attitude towards the ongoing talks between the group and the interlocutor R S Pandey.

"I thank the Government of India for this initiative and hope that they would not miss the opportunity, he said adding "we acknowledge the positive attitude and effort of the government for creating such a conducive atmosphere".

Admitting that there were differences among Nagas, he said reconciliation among them was the need of the hour.

Addressing the gathering, NSCN(IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah too said the discussions held so far were "positive" and hoped the Centre would do the needful by recognising the Naga identity and in bringing a lasting solution to the six decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland.

The Naga group has been holding parleys with interlocutor Pandey to iron out differences on several vexed issues including integration of Naga-inhabited areas.

In the last meeting, the NSCN-IM has proposed a federal relationship with the Indian Union with additional financial and legislative powers while the Central government offered financial package for socio-cultural development of Naga people.

A ceasefire was agreed on with NSCN-IM in August, 1997.In May, 1998, the union government had appointed Swaraj Kaushal as the first negotiator. He continued in his post till July 1999.

After him, former Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah took charge as the Centre's pointsman and continued till last year. Pandey, a former Petroleum secretary and a 1972 batch Nagaland cadre IAS officer was appointed as a new interlocutor on February 11, 2010.
READ MORE - Top Naga leaders in Delhi

State demand may break peace in Nagaland

DIMAPUR, Jan 23 – Naga People’s Front (NPF) President and Minister for Urban Development & Higher Education Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu, while stating that he has ‘nothing to comment’ on the demand of the Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO) for a separate State, however, expressed apprehension that the development may dismantle the hard won peace which has paved the way for a final solution to the Naga political issue.

Touching on the ‘Frontier Nagaland’ demand issue for the first time during the inaugural function of the 63rd meet of the United Sangtam Students Conference at Kiphire, Shürhozelie said, “I have nothing to comment on the ENPO demand for a separate State.”

The veteran politician, however, voiced fear that the demand may dismantle the hard earned steps won by peace makers towards a final solution to the Naga political problem.

Expressing the hope that good sense will prevail at the right time in the larger interest of the Nagas as a whole, he said, “We do not want Nagaland to be disintegrated further”.
READ MORE - State demand may break peace in Nagaland

Swu push to reconciliation

Kohima/New Delhi, Jan. 22: The chairman of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN), Isak Chishi Swu, and his wife Avuli will land in New Delhi from Bangkok late tonight.

Swu is expected to reach Nagaland soon to meet leaders of other groups and push forward the ongoing reconciliation process, spearheaded by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) and supported by several organisations and churches.

Swu, who was scheduled to reach New Delhi earlier, was delayed because of a technical problem with his travel documents.

The NSCN chief has now been issued an Indian passport.

According to a source, he had been travelling the world with a Bangladeshi passport.

The Centre wanted him to surrender the passport to the Bangladesh authorities.

Sources said the Centre had inked certain restrictions in Swu’s Indian passport, to which the outfit was objecting.

The sources said six of their senior kilonsers (ministers) are currently camping in Delhi to receive their chairman.

The Naga community in New Delhi will organise a civic reception for Swu on January 23 at 5.30pm at 61, Lodhi Estate.

Before leaving for Nagaland, Swu will meet Thuingaleng Muivah, the outfit’s general secretary, who is in the national capital.

Swu and Muivah will live in New Delhi for nearly a month before a trip to Nagaland, sources said, unless there are “more important” meetings.

Interlocutor for the Naga talks, R.S. Pandey, will hold parleys with the militant leaders.

Hours before Swu’s arrival, top government officials said the Naga political problem was nearing its conclusion.

“The parties may arrive at a broad agreement by the end of the year,” a senior home ministry official said.

S.S. Khaplang, the chairman of the NSCN (Khaplang), is also expected to reach Nagaland soon, according to sources.

The NSCN, which was formed on January 30, 1980, split in 1988 after a bloody clash between the supporters of Swu, Muivah and Khaplang in the jungles of Burma.

Over 200 supporters of Swu and Muivah have been killed in fratricidal clashes. Since then, fratricidal killings have claimed hundreds of lives.

According to the mandate of the Naga people and also the resolutions of the Joint Working Group of Naga groups, a meeting of the highest level is imminent.

The FNR and the Joint Working Group have requested the Naga people to pray for the reconciliation process.

They have also asked the churches and prayer centres to arrange special programmes, the convenor of the forum, Rev. Wati Aier, said.
READ MORE - Swu push to reconciliation

Deputy Commissioner bans crossing of international border

Kohima, Jan 21 : The Deputy Commissioner of Mon district of Nagaland Dinesh Kumar has imposed a ban on crossing the international boundary with Myanmar without any valid documents as per the laws of the Union Government.

According to official sources here today, this was done in connection with the amended 1968 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India issued on July 21, 2010, which came into force from August, 2010.

The Deputy Commissioner has informed all concerned that, as per the notification, every member of the hills' tribe, who is either an Indian citizen or a citizen of Myanmar and who is ordinarily resident of any area within sixteen kilometers on either side of India-Myanmar Border, entering India across the said boarder, shall be in possession of a valid permit issued by the authority of Government of India or the Myanmar government.
READ MORE - Deputy Commissioner bans crossing of international border

Students urge Nagas to focus on unity

Kohima, Jan. 21 : The Naga Students’ Federation has urged the Nagas to focus on surviving as a nation and not to succumb to divisive forces.

Reacting to the Eastern Nagas’ demand for a separate state, the NSF said, “The foundation and the history is clear to us. We only need to expand our horizon by focusing our thoughts and activities on our common dream of surviving as a people and as a nation rather than succumbing to the various devices of our adversaries who are exploring every means to further divide our people and our land.”

NSF president Mutsikhoyo Yhobu and its general secretary O. Wati Jamir issued a statement asking the Nagas to realise that they have a moral onus to address the need and concerns of the Nagas living outside Nagaland.

“Our ancestors had struggled so hard to promote and strengthen the spirit of brotherhood and oneness within the family despite many forces against them,” the statement said.

Six tribes from the four eastern districts of Nagaland — Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng — under the aegis of Eastern Naga Peoples’ Organisation (EPNO) are demanding a separate state, Frontier Nagaland, on the ground that they are being discriminated against by the Nagaland government.

The statement said the responsibility that had been bestowed on the younger generations by their far-sighted ancestors, who had dreamt of an independent Naga homeland and had fought till the last to make it happen, could not be washed away to accommodate short-term interests.

“Times are changing and we can no longer live in isolation. We have to march ahead with the rest of the world …we need to consolidate our people and our homeland. Separation from each other is not the answer for development of our society. What is needed is a concerted effort to bring our people and our land under one administrative roof,” the statement said.

The NSF urged the state government to pay special attention to the economically and educationally backward areas and urged the ENPO to take up their grievances with the legislators of the four districts.

It also urged the ENPO not to push their demand for statehood or any other separate arrangement as it would be detrimental to the growth of the Naga society in the long run.

The NSF cautioned individuals and agencies against implanting seeds of discord and hatred in the Naga family.
READ MORE - Students urge Nagas to focus on unity

High level meeting of Naga groups : FNR

Kohima, Jan 21 (PTI) The Forum for NagaRe-conciliation (FNR) has been working for a meeting of theleadership of top Naga underground groups for unity on theprotracted Naga political conflict.

"This (meeting) is the mandate of the Naga people andalso the resolve of the Joint Working Group (JSW) of threeNaga political groups which had signed the Covenant ofRe-conciliation," the FNR said in a statement here today.

The meeting will take place if ''some criticalquestions'' are resolved soon, the FNR

It said leaders of the Covenant of Re-conciliationshould be prepared to meet.

The historic Covenant of Reconciliation (COR) wassigned on June 13, 2009 in Chiang Mai in Thailand by NSCN(I-M)chairman Issac Swu, NSCN(K) chief S S Khaplang and S Singnya.

The FNR also described the meeting of September 18 lastyear at Dimapur as ''historic'' where NSCN(I-M) generalsecretary Th. Muivah, NSCN(K) general secretary Kitovi Zhimomiand NNC/FGN president S Singnya committed to pursue Nagare-conciliation.

Recalling that ''Naga Reconciliation: A Journey ofCommon Hope'' had gradually travelled for 35 months with somesignificant accomplishments, the statement said during theperiod nine meetings of Naga groups were held outside thecountry and 51 in Nagaland aimed at strengthening the peaceand re-conciliation process.
READ MORE - High level meeting of Naga groups : FNR

Suspected Naga militant involved in killing of an MP arrested

Imphal, Jan 21 (PTI) A suspected Naga militant allegedlyinvolved in the killing of a former MP in ArunachalPradesh was arrested in Manipur, official sources said today.

The activist of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isac Muivah (NSCN-IM) identified as Kaping Luikham was nabbedfrom Imphal area last evening by a team of Central Bureau ofInvestiation (CBI) special crime branch from Kolkata, thesources said.

Luikham was allegedly involved in the killing of theformer MP from Arunachal Pradesh Wangcha in 2007 December andinjuring his friend L Kanglom while the two were playingbadminton, the sources said.

Luikham was produced before a local court which sent himto CBI custody seven days yesterday, the sources said.

The CBI team immediately took him to ArunachalPradesh.

Wangcha had supported the imposition of thecontroversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act in some parts ofArunachal Pradesh where NSCN-IM was actively operating in thearea, the sources said.
READ MORE - Suspected Naga militant involved in killing of an MP arrested

Nagaland government constitutes Human Right Committees

Kohima, Jan 19 : The Nagaland Government has constituted state and district level Human Rights Committee.

According to official notification issued by Chief Secretary Lalthara here today the State Level Human Rights Committee was constituted with the Home Commissioner as its Chairman, Special Secretary (Home) as the Member Secretary and Secretary of Law and Justice and Joint Secretary of the Personal and Administrative Reform as the members.

In the District level Human Rights Committees the District Deputy Commissioners as chairman, Additional Deputy Commissioners (Planning) as the Member Secretary, Chief District Project Officer of Social Welfare and the Superintendent of Police as the member.
READ MORE - Nagaland government constitutes Human Right Committees

No prior deliberation on unity: NNC

DIMAPUR: Three regional units of the Naga National Council (NNC) on Monday claimed there was no prior deliberation on the "unconditional unity" agreement reportedly reached between NSCN (K), FGN and NNC.

Questioning the integrity of the process of framing the agreement, Chumbemo Khenchung, the president of Lotha Regional Council, Chosel Angami, the president Angami Regional Council and I Teka Soyah, the president of Ao Regional Council stated that the Nagas are engaged in a complicated process of restoring their unity.

"We have no doubt all Nagas respect and love the NNC which launched their struggle. Like all fellow Nagas, we are aware that the NNC has become fragmented and weak for the task for which it was create," said a statement.
READ MORE - No prior deliberation on unity: NNC

Factional clashes leave Tirap locals worried

ITANAGAR: A number of social organizations in Arunachal Pradesh have expressed concern over reports of clashes between the two factions of NSCN in Tirap district.

In a joint statement issued here on Sunday, the Nefa Indigenous Human Rights Organization, the Human Rights Law Network and the Arunachal Citizens Rights quoted Tirap locals as saying that "armed groups are moving around in villages with weapons, triggering panic and fear among the common masses".

It added, "It's because of this fear psychosis that the villagers could not celebrate Christmas and New Year this time."

On January 13, a group of NSCN (K) militants reportedly ambushed some NSCN(IM) rebels in Khonsa town, killing a guerrilla on the spot.

The incident triggered a series of encounters between militants of both the factions, in which a civilian was killed on January 14.

The district headquarters is reportedly in turmoil with the warring factions of the Naga outfit trying their best to gain supremacy.

The locals fear that more gunbattles may occur between the two sides.

"We are also scared to hear reports that Assam Rifles personnel deployed in the area are not taking adequate measures to bring the situation under control," a local alleged.

Following all this, the social organizations have appealed to the NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K) to refrain from further confrontations in the interests of humanity, besides urging all Naga groups, particularly the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, to intervene and restore peace.

The groups in Arunachal Pradesh also questioned the alleged silence of the Centre and the state governments on the prevailing situation in Tirap and urged them to take immediate steps to protect the lives and property of the bonafide citizens (of Arunachal).
READ MORE - Factional clashes leave Tirap locals worried

NSF says NE youth fest not appropriate

IMPHAL, Jan 17 : Naga Students and women Organisations have long before come out with public statement that the North East Youth Festival 2011 at Tahamzam (Senapati) of the Youth Initiative Foundation, a vague organization led by one Dominic Chawang, at this point of time will not be proper and had advised the organizers not to go ahead with it.
The reason being the declaration of severance of all political ties with the Government of Manipur(GoM) in the 1st of July, 2010 Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC) convened at Tahamzam. This declaration was based on the unmistakable fact that it was impossible to protect their right to life, land, time-honored institutions, customary practice and values under the administration of the dominant and communal GoM, because the history of the Nagas has clearly confirmed that the GoM has never recognized and respected the identity and dignity of the Naga people according to a release of Publicity Wing NYF.
The release further mentioned that, however the organizers, defying the advice, have roped in the Indian Army for the preparation and presumably to counter the voice of the people against the ill timed programme, although they are not co-organiser of the programme. The Youth Initiative Foundation has challenged the very spirit of the NPC with this seemingly innocuous invasion that is detrimental to the interest and the future of the Nagas in Manipur. While the Nagas have taken up the movement against suppression, deprivation and discrimination and threat to their identity and culture, the Youth Initiative Foundation proposes to celebrate Peace through Culture and Identity of the entire north east region at Tahamzam, the very venue of the NPC.
It is also furthe mentioned that, this nefarious design to dilute and distort the real situation obtaining in the State of Manipur and the Naga areas cannot be allowed to be put in place. The sentiments of the Naga people cannot be bought over by superficial publicity stunts of songs, dances and catwalks. The programme is being supported by the dominant GoM to divide the Nagas and the tribals. The Army must therefore explain its interest in associating with this programme which seeks to rub salt on the festering wounds of the Nagas. We are not against festivals of the youth to whom the future belong. But when our space, our identity and culture has been subsumed by the dominant and we have been reduced to chattels, what will we celebrate and uphold in the festival ? Festival such as these will be meaningful and cease to be insulting only when we secure our space and equality, and our identity and culture is safeguarded in the Alternative Arrangement.
The Naga Youth Front therefore has no option but to hold those few individuals who are spearheading this disintegrating initiative, responsible for any consequences arising from this forced event. The Naga Youth Front in all the regions are informed to be in preparedness to respond to the situation in a befitting manner the release added.
READ MORE - NSF says NE youth fest not appropriate

Teen rebel' return to parents

IMPHAL: A 16-year-old tribal boy, who was recently recruited in the underground United Naga People's Council (UNPC), was handed over to his parents "as a goodwill gesture". The personnel 29 Assam Rifles launched an operation along NH-39 and apprehended the boy from a van on Thursday morning at Sita track junction in Chandel district bordering Myanmar, said a statement of the force.

After interrogation, it was found that he was newly recruited in the UNPC and being taken away for training, the statement said, adding that he was handed over to his parents through Tegnoupal police station as a goodwill and humane gesture.

In the meantime, a joint team of 28 and 5 Assam Rifles also detained two cadres belonging to a different outfit during a counter-insurgency operation in Imphal East on Tuesday. Lt-Gen S Ravi Shankar, the director general of Border Roads, inspected NH-53 connecting Imphal and Silchar, which is also known as the alternative lifeline of strife-torn Manipur after NH-39 (Imphal-Dimapur).

He was accompanied by Project Puspak chief engineer and 765 BRTF commander during the visit that began from Silchar early in the morning. The director general took stock of ground reality, an official statement said, adding that on Wednesday he had a meeting with Governor Gurbachan and chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh before he left for New Delhi in the afternoon.
READ MORE - Teen rebel' return to parents

Nagas wield the axe at Assam's Geleki forest

JORHAT: In an apparent encroachment bid, more than 40 armed Nagas razed several trees to ground in vulnerable areas of the Geleki reserve forest earlier this week.

The group reportedly cut down a large number of trees in the forest's Singibeel, Mugapara, Borhola and Charaisagia areas near the Assam Police Battalion camp in the Nazira subdivision of Sivasagar district. They also destroyed some tea garden areas along the Assam-Nagaland boundary and occupied forest lands.

The attack on the forest comes at a time when the Centre is trying to solve the inter-state border disputes of Assam with neghbouring Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

"We have got information that a group of Naga encroachers have occupied a vast area in the Geleki Reserve Forest by cutting down trees this week. They have also been trying to occupy tea gardens located along the border areas," said a Sivasagar forest official.

Divisional forest officer (Sivasagar) Ranjan Kumar Das added, "Forest officials conduct regular patrolling along the border and many encroachment attempts of Nagas have been foiled regularly."

All Assam Small Tea Growers' Association president Cheniram Khanikar said, "The Naga encroachers have been trying to occupy the tea garden areas located along the border by threatening small tea growers there."

He added that more than 1,200 small tea growers are currently engaged in Charaipung, Geleki and Amguri all border areas in the district that they have been bearing the brunt of extortion, and abductions by Naga encroachers for the last few years.

"We have sent a memorandum to Assam chief secretary, urging him to take steps for protection of small tree growers residing along the border areas. But we are yet to see any action so far," he added.

A senior forest officer of the district said, "According to official records, the Geleki reserve forest covers 6,000 hectares. The Naga encroachers have already occupied more than 4,000 hectares by various means."

"Encroachment in Geleki started in 1972 and continued for the last four decades. Recently, the state revenue and forest departments started a survey in the reserve forest," he added.

A two-member mediation team constituted by the Supreme Court visited the disputed areas along the Assam-Nagaland boundary in Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat districts and took stock of the situation in these places on November 17. On August 20, the apex court had directed to resolve the decades-old issue through mediation and a division bench of the court ordered constitution of a panel comprising the two mediators.

On September 9, Assam home commissioner Jishnu Boruah visited the trouble-torn border areas in Sivasagar district. Boruah visited Namtola, Avoyapur, Charaideu, Bihubar and Geleki reserve forest and submitted reports to the government.
READ MORE - Nagas wield the axe at Assam's Geleki forest

Paradigm shift in Swu homecoming today

New Delhi, Jan. 14 : For Naga rebel leader Isak Chishi Swu, 81, it would be a “homecoming” of a different order tomorrow — he is travelling from Bangkok on an Indian passport.

Swu, the chairman of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), will land in the wee hours on Friday at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. He and his 22-year-old daughter will have their passports, bearing the Ashok insignia, stamped at the Indian immigration counter.

For a rebel leader who has fought the Indian government tooth and nail since the sixties and carried Bangladeshi passport for decades, this will be a paradigm shift.

Swu has lived in the Netherlands, the Philippines and Bangkok from time to time.

A few years ago, he had sneaked into India from Bangladesh via Meghalaya and reached Dimapur with state help. It is also a paradigm shift for the NSCN (I-M) whose ageing leaders — general secretary Thuingalang Muivah is also a septuagenarian — are trying to find a final and lasting solution.

Swu will join long-time associate Muivah in the national capital and jointly appear at a massive reception by the Naga community.

The reception, which was earlier slated for tomorrow, is likely to be deferred because of Swu’s delay in arrival.

“The leader will stay in Delhi for about a month,” said an NSCN source. During the period, talks with the Centre will be conducted in the presence of interlocutor R.S. Pandey.

Along with Swu and his daughter, six others of a family have also been given Indian passports. Antony Shimray, the NSCN leader picked up from Nepal and later arrested in Bihar last year had his family living in Thailand. Sources said the family members are returning home on Indian passports. They, too, earlier held Bangladeshi passports.

The Bangladeshi passports have been surrendered, sources said.

Militants from the Northeast, including Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, have used Bangladeshi passports for years, to travel to the Southeast Asian countries and Pakistan.

With India’s security policy evolving, the responses from militants are changing but so have reactions of North Block. “Why should we not allow them to get Indian passports when they are Indians?” argued an official of the home ministry.

In case of Swu, the NSCN has been demanding that he be given his passport, sources said as his Bangladesh passport was due to expire soon. Security agencies are happy that Indian passports will facilitate the authorities to keep a tab on their movements.

The NSCN leader’s willingness to come on an Indian passport indicates his resolve to solve the problem for good. Flag-waving young boys and girls in traditional attire and choirs singing gospel songs will enliven the reception which is expected to be an emotional affair for the NSCN’s supporters.
READ MORE - Paradigm shift in Swu homecoming today

District demand counters Nagalim

New Delhi, Jan. 11 : A fresh demand from the districts of Nagaland is benign for the security establishment, which will use the issue to checkmate Naga rebel leader Thuingalang Muivah’s demand for integration of Naga areas.

Last month, a group of leaders from the Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO) submitted a memorandum to the Union ministry of home affairs on the formation of a new state out of Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng districts in Nagaland. The tribes here — Konyak, Khiamniungan, Sangtam, Phom, Chang and Yimchungru — have felt neglected, as “elite tribes” from the state have been politically powerful since its statehood in 1963.

A memorandum raising a similar demand but with inclusion of tribal areas in Arunachal Pradesh was also submitted to Vice-President Hamid Ansari, when he visited Nagaland last year.

The demand for a new state and its name, Nagaland Frontier, perhaps has a connection in political historical and social relations besides political engineering.

The Tuensang Frontier Division was a part of the reconstituted North East Frontier Area reconstituted under North-East Frontier Areas (Administration) Regulation of 1954. Comprising the present four districts, the division was later separated in 1957 and merged with Naga Hills.

A rift between the economically and educationally backward “eastern areas” — literacy hovers around 35 per cent in Mon district opposed to 80 per cent in Kohima — and so-called “forward” tribes was reason good enough to offer political opportunities. Delhi will use this opportunity to counter Muivah.

“The new demand of these four districts completely demolishes the demand for an integrated Nagalim by NSCN (I-M),” said a government source. “Every villager from 680 villages in this area and every village chief, has signed the memorandum,” a senior home ministry official said.

The demand has already gained momentum.
READ MORE - District demand counters Nagalim

Nagaland Garo community appeals to stop clashes

Kohima, Jan 10 : The Nagaland Garo Tribal Council (NGTC) and the Garo Students' Union, Nagaland Zone, have appealed to end the ongoing clashes between Garo and Rabha along the Assam-Meghalaya border for the sake of future generation of both the communities
A statement, issued by NGTC President Tarun Chandra A Marak, here today described the clash between the two communities as 'most unfortunate and mutually damaging event'.

The two organisations at a meeting in Dimpaur yesterday also observed that both the Garos and the Rabhas are of same ethnic origin, who can march forward unitedly and with cooperation in every field of development, be it educational, economic and political.

''At this juncture, we should not pay any heed to any instigation against each other from any quarter, as it will be harmful and self-degrading to both the tribes,'' Mr Marak remarked.

The Garo community of Dimapur has also fervently urged all the elders, students' leaders and intellectuals of both the tribes to take prompt steps to bring about normalcy and permanent peace between the two tribes.

The meeting further resolved to make an appeal through the media to the state governments of both Assam and Meghalaya to make all out efforts to contain this 'shameful and self-degrading ethnic clashes' between these two same ethnic tribes immediately, the release added.
READ MORE - Nagaland Garo community appeals to stop clashes

Efforts on for resumption of oil exploration in Nagaland

Kohima, Jan 10 (PTI) Senior Nagaland governmentofficials have visited proven oil fields in Wokha district andinteracted with land owners to resume oil and gas productionfrom the abandoned fields.

A high-level team, lead by convenor of cabinetsub-committee for oil and natural resources exploration andplanning minister T R Zeliang, yesterday visited oil and gasrigs of Changpang and Tssori areas which were abandoned byONGC in May 1994 after protests by various organizations.

The team also took stock of the situation arising outof oil spillage from some of the oil wells abandoned by theONGC and interacted with villagers on the government sdecision to resume oil exploration and production through anew MoU with the exploring companies.

The minister said that there were mistakes earlier bythe state government when oil exploration began in 1973without framing proper modalities and Petroleum ExplorationLicense, leading to the current impasse over production of oiland natural gas in the state despite having huge potential.

He said the task before the cabinet sub-committee wasto set up uniform modalities in Nagaland to rectify the pastmistakes and to plug any lacunae.

It may be mentioned that under the land holding systemin Nagaland, communities or individuals are land owners, notthe government and it could not occupy land without theowner''s consent.
READ MORE - Efforts on for resumption of oil exploration in Nagaland

Eastern Nagas hold rallies for separate State

DIMAPUR, Jan 10 – The Eastern Nagas on Friday held public rallies under the aegis of the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organisation (ENPO) in four border districts to press for their demand for a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland’ State.

The rallies were held at Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng, the headquarter towns of the four eastern districts which are demanded to be included in ‘Frontier Nagaland’ for all-round development of the region, ENPO sources said.

The ENPO had in November submitted a memorandum to the Centre, demanding creation of the separate State for six tribes while alleging that successive governments in Nagaland had failed to bring about socio-economic development in the area. An ENPO delegation had also recently met Home Minister P Chidambaram and Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai and placed their demand for the separate State.

Addressing the rally at Kiphire, ENPO vice president Yonglam Konyak said the area was neither part of India, erstwhile Burma nor China till Independence. After Independence, it was put under the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and was merged into Nagaland when the State was created in the 1960s.

He said the Constitution has special provisions for the area, but successive governments in Nagaland had deprived its people. This made the area backward on all fronts, he stated.

The demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland’ is being supported by students and other tribal organisations of the region, he claimed. Over 10,000 people attended the rally at Tuensang.

In Noklak, according to a DIPR report, all business establishments remained closed and thereafter a copy of the memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India demanding separate Statehood for Eastern Nagaland was submitted to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Noklak.

The memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister in November last year, which was forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner Tuensang yesterday and made available to the press, states that the people of Eastern Nagaland are still comparatively ‘unreached and undelivered’ in terms of real and meaningful socio-economic development and growth and ‘thus a geo-political frontier’ in position from all flanks and aspects.

Outlining the grievances – ‘socio-economic conditions,’ ‘human resources development’ and ‘political deprivation’ – the representation said the scope for the uplift of the Eastern Nagas is very limited and that no matter what offer and redressal may be initiated in response to the demand by both the State and Central Governments, these are already ‘too little, too late’.

It stated that given the condition of the problems and prospects and the experiences of association with other advanced groups of the State for about 50 years even before and after formation of the State of Nagaland, the people of Eastern Nagaland find themselves incompatible to continue to co-exist.

“Therefore, granting and fulfilling the demand and aspirations of a full-fledged State only with special status and provisions to the people of Eastern Nagaland is the only answer,” the memorandum said.

The memo was appended by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organisation, Konyak Union, Phom People’s Council, Yimchunger Tribal Council, United Sangtam Likhum Bumji, Chang Khulie Setshang, Khiamniungan Tribal Council, Eastern Naga Students Federation and Eastern Nagaland Women’s Organisation.
READ MORE - Eastern Nagas hold rallies for separate State

Rally for separate state

ENPO seeks development of backward districts

Kohima, Jan. 8 : Thousands of people today participated in a rally to press for a separate state in the four backward districts of Nagaland — Tuensang, Kiphire, Mon and Longleng.

The rally was sponsored by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organisation.

Tongthan Khiamnungan, adviser to the organisation, said creation of a separate state for the backward tribes would be beneficial to Naga society.

He said the backward tribes received a step-motherly treatment by the state government in that they were discriminated against in development, education and job opportunities.

Now we are getting only one plate but if a separate state is created for us Nagas will get two plates Khiamnungan said.

He alleged step-motherly treatment to backward tribes by the state government.

The tribes from these backward districts say they are discriminated against in development, education and job opportunities.

In all the educational institutions, the state government had alloted reservation and relaxation for the students from backward districts.

While 25 per cent job is reserved for them in government jobs. The population in four districts is around nine lakh. There are 11 districts in Nagaland. Of the 60 MLAs 20 are from these four districts.

Khiamnungan said they would chalk out a further course of action and would continue to talk with the Union government.

He said the organisation was determined to pursue a separate state so that they could also progress ahead with the rest of the communities.

He also said Changland and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh would be included in the new state. “The people from these two districts are willing to join us,” he said.

The organisation is in constant touch with the Naga leaders of Changlang and Tirap. Our brothers and sisters are also in Changlang and Tirap, he said.

People of these two districts have been demanding a separate state for 7 years now. Khiamnungan said Naga people are also scattered in Burma and the efforts were being made to bring them together.

Asked whether their demand for a separate state would sabotage the ongoing Naga peace talks between the Centre and the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) or whether the NSCN supports the demand, Khiamnungan said so far the Naga outfit had not commented on this issue. “I think they morally support our demand,” he said.

The NSCN (I-M)’s demands include greater Nagalim, which will affect Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

The Congress has requested the Nagaland People’s Organisation to think over their demand.

The BJP has blamed the state government for failing to deliver justice to the backward communities.

BJP general secretary, Yambos Murry however pulled up the 20 legislators from four backward districts for not able to meet the needs of the people due to corruption. The democratic alliance of Nagaland government never heeds and stood balance distributions of developmental funds among the tribe is another reason he said. He held the 20 legislators for the demand for the separate state. The 20 legislators have so far remained silent over this issue so also the state government.
READ MORE - Rally for separate state

Attendance still thin in Nagaland govt offices

DIMAPUR, Jan 7 – The Nagaland capital is apparently still suffering from the Christmas and New Year hangover with poor attendance being reported at all government offices, including the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, while the main town too remains uncharacteristically quiet.

Official sources revealed that despite the government -declared holidays of December 23 to 27 for Christmas and December 31 to January 2 for New Year, the attendance has been very less during these days.

Though the peons open the offices during the morning office hours, the chairs remain empty with barely an employee turning up at the office.

A government employee, who did not want to be named, said absenting oneself from office without applying for leave during this period has become a trend, almost like an extra Christmas bonus, as even the heads of departments start attending office only in the second week of January.

Another senior officer of a department informed that doors of his office have opened but the employees are not attending because of which no files are being moved and official works remain at a standstill.

However, Mokokchung appears to be leading the way in adopting a better work culture among government servants. According to a DPRO Mokokchung report, with celebrations over, normal work in all offices in Mokokchung town has ensued again. And in a move to ensure normal functioning of the offices, officers from the district administration are reportedly conducting surprise checking in all government offices.

EAC Establishment, Mokokchung, Arikumba said office attendance is satisfactory and normal office work has gradually picked up in the town.

Meanwhile, Kohima being the home for a sizeable number of denizens from elsewhere, including students, businessmen and employees, has been witnessing fewer people around the town and normal life in the State capital is yet to kick start. The streets, usually teeming with people and vehicles, are almost empty. Coupled with the chilling weather, business establishments, barring a few, are also opening late in the mornings and closing down early between 3-4 pm.
READ MORE - Attendance still thin in Nagaland govt offices

Nagas of Myanmar for unity

Kohima, Jan. 4: The Nagas of Myanmar today said they would launch an agitation against discrimination and bifurcation of Nagas’ lands in Myanmar.

The assertion comes close on the heels of the decisions of the Nagas of eastern Nagaland and Manipur to intensify their agitations for a separate state and a separate administrative unit.

The president of the Naga National League for Democracy, Myanmar, Sosa, said in a release that any arbitrary decision imposed on the Nagas would never be accepted. “This is the era of democracy and self-determination is its essence. Therefore, the Naga people will decide their own future,” he said.

Sosa said the Nagas had lived on their ancestral land since time immemorial. This was interrupted when British imperial forces intruded into their country and tried to colonise the Nagas with their divide-and-rule policy.

The British bifurcated the Naga territory and placed them under India and Burma, but failed in their attempt. On the eve of departure of the British in 1947, General Aung San convened a meeting of all the heads of the tribal councils at Penlong in Burma to form a union of Burma but the Nagas were not a party to it.

Sosa said after Burmese Independence was declared on January 4, 1948, the Naga areas of Namyung, Tanai, Lahe, Hkamti, Thamanti, Leishi, Homalin, Phombian, Mawliek and Tamu townships were annexed to form Sagaing division.

However, under the military rule, their territory was sliced and the Nagas were deprived of basic rights and facilities, Sosa said.

He said the Naga people would never be silent spectators to the destruction of their homeland.
READ MORE - Nagas of Myanmar for unity

Naga rebels for peace, unity

Adinno Phizo calls for revival of age-old traditions

Kohima, Jan. 4 : Naga militant groups have sent out messages of hope, peace and unity among Nagas in the New Year.

“I hope 2011 is the year of salvation for the Nagas. Let us rise and move forward together towards our common future and never look back,” Rh. Raising, kilo kilonser (home minister) of the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) said in a New Year message to the people.

S. Singnya, the president of the Federal Government of Nagaland (FGN-S), called for a collective effort towards Naga reconciliation.

“After several rounds of reconciliation meets and the declaration of unconditional unity, I strongly believe that the present peaceful Naga society will never again be called a fratricidal society, regardless of the past. The Naga society is now genuinely and swiftly moving in the right direction,” he said.

“I appeal to all sections of the Naga society to pray for oneness and fulfilment. Let 2011 be a year of important events in our history,” he added.

Singnya said society moves forward when the mindset of the people is regenerated and revived through revolution. “Our political compass tells us to look forward, for our future lies there. All free people are forward-looking people and all great men of the world are forward-looking people,” he said.

Adinno Phizo, the president of the Naga National Council, Adinno faction (NNC-A), said in a message, “Together let us look forward to a happy New Year in 2011.”

Without mentioning any group, she said the Naga society, which was peaceful and harmonious not too far in the past because of the unspoken tradition of trust and respect between people, had recently been maligned and destabilised by “self-appointed sectarian groups under the cover of fatuous pretensions”. The NNC (A) and NSCN (I-M) have a history of bad blood.

The NNC (A) does not want the Nagas of Manipur to interfere in the political issues of Nagaland even though it was her father, A.Z. Phizo, who had sowed the seed of Naga nationalism among the Nagas in Manipur. The NNC (A) also has few Naga members from Manipur.
READ MORE - Naga rebels for peace, unity

Muivah made news in Nagaland in 2010

KOHIMA, Jan 2 – Consistent efforts towards consolidating peace and reconciliation process among Nagas by the State and civil societies marked the year as Nagaland witnessed a stalemate with Manipur over NSCN-IM leader T Muivah’s visit to his native village in the neighbouring State.

The year also witnessed some concrete measures taken by the Government to push forward development activities, generate employment and curb corruption.

Continuing its efforts towards peace and reconciliation, Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) along with other civil society groups and churches tried to bring various Naga underground factions closer to have an unified voice, and got the support of the State Government and political parties.

The Forum successfully arranged the first ever face-to-face meeting of top leaders of two NSCN groups at Dimapur on September 18 giving a new hope to the ongoing process of Naga reconciliation.

However, by end of the year, what reflected in local media, were differences among the groups still prevailing and war of words blaming each other for lack of seriousness to peace and unity continued.

In the meantime, three groups – NSCN(K) and two groups of NNC/FGN came closer through a declaration in November, but NSCN(I-M) was critical of what it termed “a backdoor unity move”.

The people saw hope and optimism at the beginning of the year when the Centre appointed a new Interlocutor and resumed peace dialogues with NSCN(I-M) after almost a year.

Building on this renewed trust, the Centre okayed Muivah’s visit to his native village in Manipur in April but the Manipur Government denied permission arguing that the rebel leader’s proposed visit might lead to “communal tension” in the State.

An uneasy stalemate continued for over a month with both Manipur Government and NSCN-IM sticking to their positions. However, Muivah visited various parts of Nagaland in May-June to reach out to the people ahead of leaving for New Delhi to resume the peace dialogue. But there were no reports of any progress in the peace talks in the past three months.

On economic and development fronts, the Neiphiu Rio Government took certain important decisions during 2010 but Opposition Congress flayed the ruling alliance for its inaction on corruption in many departments and failure in checking crime in the State, particularly in Dimapur town.

Despite the resource crunch, the State Government fulfilled its promise to implement the 6th Pay Commission recommendations for its employees reconciling the State Plan size for fiscal 2010.

At the State Government’s request, the Centre allotted Rs 700 crore special grant to meet the additional salary burden but the State had to keep the annual plan size at last year’s level of Rs 1,500 crore.

The Government in April declared the year 2010-11 as “Year of Entrepreneurs” and made special budget provisions to implement this ambitious programme through training, capacity-building and financial incentives to potential entrepreneurs.

This was followed by unveiling of a vision statement for agriculture and allied sectors by which the Government envisaged to turn Nagaland into a surplus State in food production.

Started in 2009 as an attempt to build an interface between the government departments and the rural people, the government held road shows throughout the year across the State.

The government appointed a special investigation team (SIT) and unearthed major irregularities in appointments of schoolteachers, and accordingly quashed many unauthorised appointments. The SIT unearthed that such irregular appointments drained out Rs 2 crore a month from the exchequer.

On the political front, divisions in Opposition Congress surfaced when the party failed to select a consensus candidate for party leadership in the State. In a bitterly-fought party election, SI Jamir was elected the new State Congress president defeating incumbent I Imkong.

The year ended with a happy note when the government successfully organised the annual Hornbill festival at Kisama with a large number of foreign tourists visiting Nagaland. But the core concern of peaceful settlement of the vexed Naga political conflict still eludes the Nagas.
READ MORE - Muivah made news in Nagaland in 2010

Now, only Pak & China nationals need special permits to visit NE

NEW DELHI: Foreigners, excluding Pakistani and Chinese, visiting India on valid visa will not have to take special permit to travel to Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland from January 1 as government has scrapped the provision to boost tourism in these northeastern states, beginning New Year. The relief, however, won't be applicable to foreigners who would like to go to Arunachal Pradesh. Even in the three exempted states, the relief will initially be for one year.

"The government has decided to exclude Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland from the Protected Area regime notified under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958, initially for a period of one year," a MHA statement said. However, all foreigners visiting these states will have to register themselves with Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival.

The restriction was in force since pre-independence days. Now, Arunachal Pradesh is the only state left in the north-east where foreigners are required to take prior permission before any visit. Citizens of some specified countries, including Pakistan and China, would, however, continue to require prior approval of the MHA before their visit to these three states.
READ MORE - Now, only Pak & China nationals need special permits to visit NE