KOHIMA: The central government of India has put forward a proposal to grant autonomous territorial powers to six eastern districts of Nagaland in order to address the long-standing demand for a separate state. This move aims to resolve the ongoing issue raised by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organization (ENPO), an association representing seven Naga tribes residing in the districts of Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire, Longleng, Noklak, and Shamator.
According to reliable sources, the proposed plan involves the creation of a territorial council known as the Frontier Naga Territory. This council would consist of 49 constituencies, with 40 members elected by the people and nine nominees. While the ENPO office bearers disclosed this information anonymously, they indicated that the central government's intention is to grant legislative, executive, and financial powers to the autonomous body.
The demand for a separate Frontier Nagaland state has been a growing concern since 2010, with the ENPO citing alleged discrimination and developmental disparities as the primary reasons behind their claim. The organization had previously threatened to boycott electoral processes if their demand was not addressed. In response, the government proposed the establishment of an autonomous body as a compromise.
Negotiations between the ENPO and the central government have made significant progress, leading to the ENPO retracting its decision to boycott the assembly polls held in February. Prominent figures, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, assured the resolution of the matter after the elections.
With a potential solution on the horizon, the state government, led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, has organized a consultative meeting scheduled for June 30. This meeting aims to gather input from various stakeholders, such as different Naga tribal bodies, government officials, and legislators, to discuss the central government's proposal and determine the next steps forward.
In conclusion, the central government's proposal for autonomous territorial powers in the six eastern districts of Nagaland represents a potential resolution to the demand for a separate state put forth by the ENPO. The upcoming consultative meeting will serve as a platform for stakeholders to discuss and deliberate on the proposal, potentially paving the way for a resolution to this long-standing issue.