The Telengana movement appears to have eaten into the Greater Nagaland dream of the Isak-Muivah faction of the rebel National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).
Inspired by the statehood stir in Andhra Pradesh, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) on Friday launched its movement for the creation of Frontier Nagaland inhabited by six Naga tribes including Konyak, Chang and Sangtam.
Frontier Nagaland is envisaged to be carved out of Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng districts of eastern Nagaland as well as Tirap and Changlang districts of adjoining Arunachal Pradesh.
This statehood demand undermines the idea of Greater Nagaland, something the NSCN-IM is trying to bargain for since declaring truce in July 1997. Greater Nagaland seeks to bring all Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur besides Nagaland under one administrative set-up.
“We organized simultaneous rallies in four districts today, and this is just the beginning,” said ENPO general secretary Toshi Wungpung from Tuensang, 250 km northeast of Nagaland capital Kohima. “Our demand for the creation of Frontier Nagaland is based on historical facts.”
Wungpung added, this organization has also sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlining the reasons why the ‘eastern Nagas’ need to chart a geo-political course different from other Nagas.
“For decades, gross injustice has been done to eastern Nagaland by successive governments. This part has almost half of Nagaland’s total population but the area continues to remain extremely under-developed. Only 3% of the population in this area has government jobs,” the ENPO general secretary said.
The Neiphiu Rio government in Nagaland has chosen not to react to the ENPO movement. But the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee has appealed to eastern Nagas to reconsider their demand.
“At a time when Nagas have expressed their willingness and taken concrete steps to reconcile with one another and unite for a lasting Indo-Naga political solution, we appeal to you to reconsider your stand,” the NPCC said.
Reconciliation refers to the move to unite the warring factions of the NSCN as well as the Naga National Council, from which the former had evolved.