Dated: 2 July 2018
The Naga People’s Front is constraint to issue the rejoinder in response to the Press release issued by NDPP Media and Communication Committee on 01 July 2018.
The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) courageous statement defending over the indefensible statement of the Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio on the issue of integration of all contiguous Naga areas is well applaudable. But the Nagas cannot be taken a joy-ride or be convinced by such pointless arguments produced by the NDPP.
The NPF would like to remind the NDPP that it is least bothered of Neiphiu Rio as an individual but being the Chief Minister of the State, it is expected of him to make his stand clear on important issues such as Integration of Naga contiguous areas and Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. Terrified to face the moment of truth, once again the NDPP tried to cover up the matter by claiming that the NPF was spreading ‘lies and propaganda’ despite NETV and other national Electronic Media including Print Media disseminating the interaction with Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio on 12 June at New Delhi, both in visual and print form. The report, which went viral across various section of the Media and under public domain is a standing witness to the subject and it is for the Naga people to judge whether the Naga Peoples’ Front is reiterating and asserting the legitimate rights of the Nagas or spreading ‘lies and propaganda’ as alleged.
The not even a one-year old Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), whose very survival as a Political Party has come under scanner of the Election Commission of India (ECI) for committing perjury while trying to get it registered under the ECI has no moral right to talk on the Naga Political Issue vis-à-vis integration of Naga Contiguous areas. Hence, a party which is now under the sword of Damocles have no moral authority whatsoever to defend Neiphiu Rio on any issue that relates to the interest of the citizens of Nagaland in particular and especially on the Naga Political issue.
The NPF would like to highlight the fact and figure that Neiphiu Rio who was the then Home Minister in Congress ministry during 2002 deserted the Congress Party for reasons best known to him. His political career was almost shattered until the ‘Cock Party’ came to his rescue which he later attempted to freeze the ‘Cock symbol’ out of frustration before forming his present day NDPP. Infact, just to accommodate Rio into the party fold, the nomenclature of the party was change from NPC to NPF, therefore calling Rio as the founder of the NPF is not a new joke.
Regarding the Resolution on Integration of Naga contiguous areas on 18 December 2003, it was initiated based on the political stand and policy of the Naga Peoples’ Front and therefore, Neiphiu Rio or his infant Political Party has no moral right to claim credit for the same. The resolution was the fifth resolution adopted by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) while four others were adopted prior to Neiphiu Rio becoming the Chief Minister.
The then Planning Minister, T.R Zeliang was NPF Minister In-Charge of Manipur who selflessly initiated the ground work and upon its completion, Neiphiu Rio as Chief Minister was taken to Senapati to launch the Party. As such, the claim of NDPP that ‘Neiphiu Rio risked his chair, his political career and even his own life’ to launch NPF Unit in Manipur on 28 May, 2011 is a concocted notion.
Moreover, prior to expansion of the Naga Peoples’ Front to Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, Civil Societies like the Naga Hoho, the Naga Students Federation and others had cohesively worked with the Nagas in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and to claim that it was Neiphiu Rio who ignited emotional integration is not only misinterpretation of history but an insult to the tireless efforts and sacrifices of various Naga leaders and Civil Societies alike.
The NPF reiterates time and again that Neiphiu Rio as the Chief Minister of Nagaland should personally make its stand clear before the Nagas as his statement has put a big hurdle on the ongoing peace process. Should the ongoing peace process derailed, Neiphiu Rio and the PDA Government should be solely held responsible.
Naga People’s Front,