The Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO), demanding the creation of a separate state of 'Frontier Nagaland' within the boundary of present Nagaland, will wait for "Centre's official response" till August 15 this year before chalking out any agitation plan to achieve their goal.
Disclosing this to the Vision Communications over phone from the Eastern Nagaland's Mon district, ENPO General Secretary Toshi Wungtung said that their central executive committee is scheduled to meet in the third week of this month to decide its future action plan in the wake of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's recent reported statement that "at the moment the Centre is not considering a separate state within Nagaland as demanded by the ENPO as it is not a viable proposition."
In its first official reaction, the ENPO general secretary maintained, "We have seen the statement in the media. Chidambaram is the home minister. He has his own limitations due to the ongoing Telengana movement besides similar demands from other parts of the country. This may be a mere public posture. Our demand has a historical, social and economic background."
Wungtung further disclosed that he along with the ENPO president Pongom Khiamniungan and other members would visit New Delhi soon to "understand the Centre's mind on their charter of demands" before finalising any major movement schedule in support of their main demand for creation of a separate state, 'Frontier Nagaland', within the existing boundaries of Nagaland.
The ENPO general secretary, however, asserted, "We have given a deadline till August 15 to get a favourable response from the Centre. We will wait till the deadline ends. Any decision to launch major movement will be finalised only after the end of August."
Significantly, the ENPO delegation had a meeting with Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his cabinet colleagues in Kohima on the eve of the Rio-led state delegation meeting P Chidambaram on June 4 to discuss ENPO's charter of demands.
Asked what was the agenda for talks between the ENPO and the chief minister, Wungtung clarified, "We were invited to discuss our demands with the Nagaland government. We agreed and discussed in details about our demands. The chief minister neither supported our demands nor did he or his cabinet colleagues reject the demands. The chief minister told us that they were meeting Chidambaram to know Centre's viewpoint about our demands. We did not discuss anything about the autonomous council. We were firm about our demand for creation of a separate state."
Wungtung said that the ENPO demands were finalised after taking views from the 400 village councils covering all the six tribes of Eastern Nagaland. About 100-odd members of the central executive council will meet in the third week of this month and fine tune ENPO's next course of action.
The six tribes of the Eastern Nagaland are Konyak, Chang, Phom, Sangtam, Khiamniungan and Yimchunger. They are located in four districts namely, Mon, Tuensang, Longleng and Khipire and two subdivisions of Noklak and Shamator.
It is pertinent to note here that an ENPO delegation had met the Union home minister on May 8 and demanded a round table conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh within next three months' time to "discuss threadbare and iron out a solution to all the pending issues of Eastern Nagaland."
"If the Centre fails to take any corrective measures with immediate effect, we can't guarantee our participation in the next assembly elections, scheduled for March, 2013," said the newly elected ENPO president. Both the president and the general secretary hold the same view even today.
Image: ENPO president Pongom Khiamniungan (left) with general secretary Toshi Wungtung
Photograph: Vision Communications