Provoked by govt order, NSCN-IM asks Arunachal lawmakers to withdraw support to CM Khandu


Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) has asked all 11 legislators, including three ministers, of eastern Arunachal Pradesh to withdraw their support to Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy CM Chowna Mein.

The call from the outfit comes in the wake of a constitutional amendment in Parliament followed by an Arunachal administrative decision to remove the Naga tag on at least four tribes living in Tirap, Changlang, and Longding districts.

On August 5, a bill unanimously passed by the Rajya Sabha resulted in the removal of the reference “any other Naga tribes” from the ST list of Arunachal and replaced it with the specific names of Nocte, Tangsa, Tutsa, and Wancho tribes.

For the NSCN-IM, this has a huge political significance. The removal of the Naga tag would mean that technically there are no Nagas in Arunachal. By extension, this would also mean that NSCN-IM’s envisaged “Greater Nagalim” cannot claim – at least technically – the three Arunachal districts, seen in the NSCN-IM’s Greater Nagalim map.

The immediate provocation for the NSCN-IM was the order by the Longding District Magistrate. On August 24, the DM had issued a circular which removed the phrase “any other Naga tribes” and inserted the Wancho tribe.

The NSCN-IM said the DM’s order was clearly intended to erase the word “Naga”.

“It has blatantly insulted and humiliated the sentiments and rights of the Nagas of Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in particular and Nagas in general, which is unacceptable,” the outfit said in a statement.

It added: “It was done willfully to undermine and distort the rights and identity of the Naga people. Nagas were never a threat to human existent anywhere”.

Stating that it will never accept such a “derogatory” order, the NSCN-IM pointed out that the Government of India during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s tenure as the Prime Minister had recognised the uniqueness of Naga history.

The rebel group said if the Naga MLAs of Arunachal failed to uphold the right of the Nagas in Arunachal, they would be considered as anti-Naga.

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