Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio is scheduled to meet Union home minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday to find a solution to the problem of the growing demand for a bifurcation of the state.
Nagaland has been in turmoil ever since the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (Enpo) revived its demand for the creation of “Frontier Nagaland” earlier this year.
Enpo wants four of Nagaland’s 11 districts to be made the ninth state in the Northeast.
The Naga People’s Front government, which Rio heads, had taken a Cabinet decision last month to grant autonomy to the four “backward” districts. But Enpo won’t settle for anything less than statehood, and have cited “historical facts”, besides “perennial neglect”, to justify their demand.
“The CM will meet the home minister (Chidambaram) on Tuesday and brief him about the overall situation. Our government is strongly against the bifurcation of the state,” Rio’s office told HT from Kohima.
Enpo is the apex organisation of six Naga tribes inhabiting Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng districts, bordering Myanmar. It believes the creation of Frontier Nagaland would help improve the overall condition of the people in these districts.
“Our demand is based on historical facts,” said Enpo general secretary Toshi Wungpung. Before Nagaland attained statehood in 1963, the area was under the Tuensang Frontier Division of the erstwhile North Eastern Frontier Agency. Mon, Kiphire and Longleng districts were carved out of Tuensang after statehood.
“The four districts have almost half of Nagaland’s population but they continue to remain extremely underdeveloped,” Wungpung added.
Frontier Nagaland is seen in some quarters as New Delhi’s “design” to counter the Greater Nagaland goal of the Isak-Muivah faction of the extremist National Socialist Council of Nagaland. The Greater Nagaland map includes all Naga-inhabited area of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur, besides Nagaland.