Kohima, Aug 15 (IANS) Thousands of people across Nagaland on Wednesday celebrated the nation’s 72nd Independence Day amidst tight security, as Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio called for lasting peace to bolster the state’s economy.
Rio unfurled the tricolour at the Secretariat Plaza and took the salute from marching contingents including paramilitary forces, Nagaland Police, National Cadet Corps, Scouts and Guides besides school students.
Noting that a lot needs to be done at the infrastructural level in the state, Rio said: “We need to build roads and maintain them, create employment opportunities for our youth to enable them to live their dreams and reach their potential.
“We are proud of our history and cultural heritage. We need lasting peace in our land as a conducive environment for investors that allows them to do business without compromising on our history, customs and culture.
“This will help create jobs and bolster our economy into the league of developed states. This is an achievable goal and today with the booming Indian economy we have a great opportunity to be an equal and proud partner in the Indian growth story.
“Let us join hands and work towards transforming Nagaland by inculcating consistency in work ethics for the overall development and progress of Nagaland in every aspect,” the Chief Minister added.
On the state’s insurgency issue, Rio said the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance government is committed to play the role of an active facilitator in the ongoing political negotiations between the Centre and the Naga insurgent groups.
“Several measures that include setting up of a Political Affairs Committee, conducting consultative meets with tribal Hohos and civil society groups and calling on the representatives of the Indian government regularly in order to create a conducive atmosphere for an early solution of the vexed Naga insurgency issues,” he said.
“In our meeting with the tribal Hohos .. it was unanimously resolved to urge all Naga political groups including NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang) to renew the ceasefire with Indian government and to join the peace talks in order to realise a solution that is inclusive.”
Moreover, he said a significant resolution was a request to the Honourable Speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to reconstitute the erstwhile Joint Legislators Forum for pursuing an early solution of the Naga political issue.
On the integration of all contiguous Naga inhabited areas, the Chief Minister said: “This is legitimate and democratic right of the people consistently. We appeal to our neighbouring states (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur) to appreciate the history and democratic rights of the Nagas under a spirit of mutual respect so that we can live together as good neighbours under an environment of harmonious coexistence and brotherhood.”
He also appealed to the negotiating parties, specially the Centre to expedite the peace process and respond to the voice of the people by bringing a political solution at the earliest.
“On our (state government) part, we reiterate our commitment to pave the way for an alternative arrangement that may arise from the political agreement.
“We urge all sections of Naga society to come together under a spirit of unity and oneness, so that together we strengthen the peace process and create an environment that is congenial for successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations,” Rio added.