DIMAPUR, Aug 11:The Naga Hoho and the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) took serious note of Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio’s “unpalatable statements” denouncing the existence of the two organisatons. In a joint release on Sunday, the Hoho and the NMA pointed to a recent statement of the chief minister during the meeting of the Joint Legislators’ Forum and ex-parliamentarians in Kohima on August 7. Quoting Rio, the joint release said, “There is no more Naga Hoho and NMA to represent the voice of the people and also Forum for Naga Reconciliation is no more active and the people have lost confidence. So there is no apex organisation to work for Naga peace process.”
Both the organisations held a joint meeting in Kohima on Saturday to deliberate on various issues confronting the Naga society. The meeting reminded the chief minister that inspite of all odds, the Naga Hoho and NMA had stood firm in protecting the basic principles and common interest of the Naga people till today. “At this crucial moment, when many of the state-centric people have been trying to destroy the apex organisations in the state and create disunity among the Nagas, it is unfortunate and surprising for a peoples’ leader to castigate and nullify the age-old social institutions in such a high level gathering,” the release said.
Admitting that most of the Naga tribe Hohos and woman organisations from Nagaland had dissociated from Naga Hoho and NMA for various reasons, the meeting said that does not qualify the chief minister to denounce the very existence of the two organisations. It said the Naga people are well aware that the Naga civil societies are sharply divided at the moment owing to various issues introduced by the state government like the Rongmei tribe recognition in 2012, enactment of Article 243T for 33 per cent reservation of seats for women in local urban bodies in the state in 2006, which “compounded to the most unfortunate and unforgettable urban local body election fiasco” in February 2017.
The NMA and the Naga Hoho said they had landed up in this present position because of the division among the menfolk and womenfolk on these issues. The two organisations said they expect the chief minister, who is a seasoned politician and a respectable leader, to talk with maturity and work hard towards bringing unity and rebuild the ‘fractured Naga society’ with balances views and objectives. The meeting called upon all the Naga people to stand united and face various challenges during this defining moment to be able to reach their ‘destiny’.