President arrives in Nagaland for Hornbill Festival

President arrives in Nagaland for Hornbill Festival
President Ram Nath Kovind arrives in Kohima on his first visit to Nagaland as President of India. This is 12th state of the country that the President is visiting in month of November ( (Photo: President of India, @rashtrapatibhvn/Twitter)


Our Correspondent
Kohima | November 30


President of India, Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Nagaland today to grace the Hornbill Festival, which is scheduled to be held in the state capital Kohima starting December 1.


A cultural progamme was organized this evening at Raj Bhavan, Kohima in honour of the President’s maiden visit to the state.


Earlier, the Nagaland Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues called on the President and held a meeting at Raj Bhavan, Kohima.


The President also met with various NGOs, including the Naga Hoho, Naga Students Federation, Eastern Naga Students Union, Naga Mothers Association and CNTC, and had short interactions with them.


The Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University, Professor Pardeshi Lal and the State BJP led by its President, Visasolie Lhongou also called on the President. Kovind will grace the inaugural function of the Hornbill Festival at 11:00am at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama. Governor PB Acharya will be the chief host while Chief Minister, TR Zeliang is host for the inaugural function.


The President will also pay a visit to the Morungs and exhibition stalls after the inaugural function.


NMA calls for inclusive peace process
The Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) submitted a representation to the President calling for inclusion of all into the peace process and for efforts towards bringing the NSCN (K) under ceasefire at the earliest.


The NMA said that the ongoing peace talks with both the NSCN (IM) and now the six NNPGs must culminate in an inclusive, ‘Just Peace.’


It also reiterated the long standing demand for removal of the AFSPA and lifting of the Disturbed Areas Act from the state of Nagaland. “Imposition of AFSPA on Nagaland in the midst of the peace process has witnessed excessive army atrocities and violations of human rights. Such records continue as recent as the last few years,” it added.


Meanwhile the NMA expressed concern at the arrests made by the NIA on state government officials “who have been victims of duress for collection of taxes by NPGs over the years.” “Like many other situations of conflict, most employees have no choice in such situations,” the NMA pointed out and urged the Government of India to be more sensitive in the present ongoing peace process and avoid any kind of harassment by the agency or create situations by which “unwanted labels of calling legitimate government employees as terrorists.”


It asked for withdrawal of the NIA during the peace talks if the Government of India is serious in finding a final solution to the Naga issue.


NSF apprises Prez on Naga issue & scholarship delay
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) meanwhile submitted its own representation to the President, apprising the latter on the need for an early solution to the Indo-Naga issue and for early release of post matric scholarships.


The NSF expressed concern that despite the lapse of more than 20 years of negotiation and even with the signing of the Framework Agreement, “we are yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”


“Now, with the elections to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly due early next year, skepticism runs deep given a retrospective look when elections create havoc negating the spirit and concerted efforts of the people, more particularly by the political parties. Besides, it is envisaged that once the process is prolonged and the matter procrastinates to a certain time, the present day Indian leadership may be bogged down by other issues—for instance like the coming of the parliamentary elections,” it added.


It therefore urged the President to ensure that a solution is brought at the earliest and before the elections takes place, or that the election process be kept in abeyance “so that our younger generation can keep their dreams alive and hope to achieve goals as per their geniuses.”


Regarding the release of post matric scholarship, the NSF informed the President that for the current academic session 2016-2017, the State has been facing serious delay in disbursement of the said scholarship due to non-release of funds from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.


As per the Nagaland Department of Higher Education, the amount of the 1st Installment Utilization Certificate has been furnished to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, however the matter is kept in a standstill, the NSF informed. It therefore sought the President’s action in impressing upon the concerned ministry to release the remaining amount at the earliest.