Leaders of a group representing six districts seeking to break away from Nagaland are scheduled to discuss its Statehood demand with Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on December 3.
A spokesperson of the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) said Mr. Shah has invited a team to discuss Statehood for six of Nagaland’s 16 districts. Six major tribes dominating these districts have been demanding the creation of ‘Frontier Nagaland’ to be free from “decades of neglect”.
The ENPO had earlier decided not to participate in the State’s flagship Hornbill Festival that starts on December 1. The annual festival at Kisama near State capital Kohima showcases the culture and tradition of all the ethnic communities of Nagaland.
Nagaland’s Chief Secretary, J. Alam, said the government had requested the ENPO and all the associated tribal leaders to reconsider their decision. The government is awaiting a positive response from them, he added.
Launching its Statehood demand in August, the ENPO threatened to boycott the 2023 Assembly elections in Nagaland if its demand for the bifurcation of Nagaland was not fulfilled.
“If the Centre fails to respond to our appeal, we shall ask all our 20 elected representatives (MLAs) to resign,” the spokesperson said.
Nagaland has a total of 60 Assembly seats and 20 of these are in six districts — Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator and Tuensang. The ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) has 15 of these seats, ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has four, and one MLA is Independent.
The NDPP has 42 MLAs in the State Assembly, the BJP has 12, and the Naga People’s Front has four, while two are Independents.