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Centre to spell out its reply to demand for Frontier Nagaland? | India News


GUWAHATI: The Centre is likely to spell out its response to the demand of Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the umbrella body of seven tribes of eastern Nagaland, for creation of a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state, a move that may have a bearing on whether the tribes would participate in the assembly elections due in two months.
“Teams of MHA and ENPO will meet in Guwahati on Thursday as a follow-up to our discussions on our demand for Frontier Nagaland state in New Delhi last month. The MHA team is coming with the blueprint and will lay it out before ENPO. If it’s satisfactory, we will accept it. If the blueprint is not as per our wish, it will not be accepted. We want to be separated from present Nagaland,” ENPO secretary W Manwang Konyak said Wednesday.
ENPO has been demanding a separate state carved out of Nagaland’s six eastern districts — Mon, Kiphire, Longleng, Tuensang, Shamator and Noklak, which are home to seven of the 17 tribes of the state, namely the Konyak, Chang, Yimkhiung, Sangtam, Phom, Khiamniungan and Tikhir.
The organisation had said that voters of these six districts, having 20 of Nagaland assembly’s 60 seats, will not vote in the state elections if their demand is not met.
The Union home ministry team will comprise advisor (Northeast) AK Mishra, Intelligence Bureau joint director Dr Mandeep Singh Tuli and MHA director (Northeast division) AK Dhyani. Union home minister Amit Shah is also scheduled to visit Manipur and Nagaland on January 6, but his official engagements don’t include meeting the representatives of the tribes. “If our demand is not accepted, we have decided that we will not participate in the upcoming assembly elections. This is the will of the grassroots people,” Konyak said. “We are expecting a positive outcome from Thursday’s meeting.”
With one-third of seats falling in the six districts, the stakes are high for the NDA government in the state, which is also struggling to seal the long-awaited peace deal with NSCN (IM).The tribes’ biggest grievance is that while the rest of Nagaland has flourished, the six eastern districts that account for over 45% of the state’s population have been left behind and people there lack access to safe drinking water, electricity and good higher education institutions.
The call for a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland’ has been haunting BJP since its former president Nitin Gadkari promised in 2012 that if the party formed the government at the Centre in 2014, this demand will be fulfilled.
The apex tribal bodies of the seven tribes — Chang Khulie Setshang (CKS), Khiamniungan Tribal Council (KTC), Konyak Union (KU), Phom People’s Council (PPC), United Sangtam Likhum Pumji (USLP), Tikhir Tribal Council (TTC), and Yimkhiung Tribal Council (YTC) — had adopted a resolution on August 26 last year that they won’t take part in “any election process of the state and Centre until and unless Frontier Nagaland” is created.



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