Naga tribal delegation’s demands to be met: Rijiju

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) The first ever tribal delegation from the Naga-dominated districts of Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday concluded a two-day meeting with Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Naga peace interlocutor R.N. Ravi, with the latter assuring them that their demands would be met.

The districts represented at the talks include Tirap, Changlang and Longding.

The delegation was assured that the creation of Patkai Autonomous Council would be the next step to ensure development in those areas.

The delegation, which was led by chairman of Patkai Autonomous Council demand committee N. Changmi, said the government had accepted their demands and the decision for formation of the autonomous council would be taken soon.

“We at any cost want the formation of the Patkai Autonomous Council. We have been deprived of development for so long. It is possible only if the the three districts get the autonomy. The political organisations are least bothered about development there,” said Nokchai Boham, a member of the delegation, after the meeting.

Boham said: “The government cannot openly speak about the step it is taking for the uplifting of the three districts as there are high chances that the issue might be politicised and be made a factor behind the disturbances in the state.”

This is the first time the committee comprises tribal leaders from Tirap, Changlang and Longding. Earlier, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki had met the home minister over similar demands.

Previously, a delegation of All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) had called on R.N. Ravi and urged him not to compromise the territorial integrity of the state while executing the final draft of the Naga peace accord with National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).

NSCN (I-M) want a greater homeland comprising Nagaland and the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and parts of Upper Myanmar.

Speaking about the AAPSU’s meet with the interlocutor, Boham said: “Tirap, Changlang and Longding are Naga tribe dominated areas and there is no point the issue being raised by non-Nagas as they won’t understand the real problem and rather politicise the developmental issues in the three districts.”

He also alleged that funds for the development of the three districts have been misused and channelised for the development of other tribes and not Nagas.

Confirming the development, Rijiju told IANS: “The government is very well aware of the development required in Tirap, Changlang and Longding, and will take steps accordingly. The government will do everything possible.”

The districts are economically- and socially-deprived inspite of being rich in natural resources. They are also considered to have several camps of extremist groups such as National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang and United Liberation Front of Assam.

This was the reason the Narendra Modi-led central government had extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the three districts a couple of months back without consulting CM Nabam Tuki, who leads the Congress government in the state.

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