Renewed efforts for permanent settlement of Naga issue in 2013
Kohima: The year 2013 was marked by continued efforts by both Nagaland government and civil society groups for a permanent settlement to the decades-old political conflict to enable peace and reconciliation among the Nagas.
The beginning of the year saw elections to the 60-member state Assembly with the ruling Naga People`s Front (NPF)-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) registering a landslide victory and coming to power for a third consecutive term.
However, the Neiphiu Rio government faced financial crisis with the Centre cutting the state plan allocation after stating that all centrally-sponsored schemes would be executed through the Ministry of DoNER.
Rio maintained that being a salaried economy, Nagaland would rather compromise on development projects but not stop the payment of salaries to government employees. Salaries for government staffers consumes almost 60 per cent of the budget allocation.
Continuing with efforts towards peace and reconciliation, the Forum for Naga Re-conciliation (FNR), along with other civil society groups and churches, tried its best to bring the various Naga underground factions closer. The state government and political parties also supported the move.
However, differences prevailed among the various groups and a war of words continued between them as they blamed each other for not being serious about peace and unity in the state. Moreover, factional clashes between NSCN factions also saw an increase.
Irked by unabated taxation by various underground groups and some government departments, a public movement was initiated by the Dimapur Naga Council under the banner of Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) in the first quarter.
It received immense support from the people as well as various Naga civil society groups and the fight to stop illegal taxation is continuing. ACAUT leaders also held rounds of talks with underground leaders and even submitted representations to the state government seeking a streamlining of the taxation pattern.
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