Nagaland celebrated its Statehood Day on Wednesday. The insurgency-hit northeastern state had emerged as a full-fledged and the 16th state of the Union on Dec 1, 1963.
State Governor Jagdish Mukhi on Wednesday exuded confidence that a formal peace Accord with Naga rebel groups would be inked soon.
Addressing a programme to mark the inauguration of the annual tourism bonanza Hornbill Festival at state capital Kohima, Mr. Mukhi said: “The day is not very far for signing the much-awaited peace agreement with Naga rebel groups”.
Urging for the need to build up a consensus, he said: “We all, as beneficiaries should make up our minds and create a conducive atmosphere for welcoming the new dawn of a peaceful and progressive Nagaland”.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s forthcoming Delhi visit to meet among others Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Enhanced investment, tax holidays, and taking up of confidence-building measures including relaxation in enforcement of the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act are likely to get priorities in the matters pertaining to the final stage of the Naga Peace talks.
Various pros and cons pertaining to Naga peace talks and general law and order situation in the state may figure in talks between the Chief Minister and the Home Minister.
Mr. Neiphiu Rio’s visit to the national capital would also see political discussions at the top level
as the Rio-led NDPP and its pre-poll alliance BJP have entered into an understanding with the opposition NPF.
Nagaland now has an ‘opposition-less’ dispensation and former Leader of the Opposition T R Zeliang,
now recognised as floor leader for his party, has been given cabinet rank.
The NPF has been BJP’s original ally in Nagaland and the regional party had split in 2017 December just on the eve of elections.
Elections are due in February 2023.
There were still hurdles in peace talks and a possible agreement as the NSCN(IM) has still not given up on its demand for a Flag and a separate Naga Constitution.
According to sources, there could be a ‘tax holiday moratorium’ maximum of 10 years to encourage higher corporate investments in infrastructure and industrial sectors.
The NNPGs led by its convenor N Kitovi Zhimomi have reportedly mooted the proposal for a Council of Naga Cultural and Historical Research and a ‘permanent dispensation’ of funds could be granted from New Delhi to set up and maintain the CNCHR.
The Naga militant groups had also demanded that once the peace accord is signed, army and paramilitary forces deployed in civilian and thickly populated areas should be also withdrawn gradually.