PM committed to Nagas: Rajnath

Courtesy : Nagaland Post

Correspondent KOHIMA, DEC 8 (NPN): Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was fully committed to fulfil the aspirations of Naga people for a brighter tomorrow, and which they rightfully deserved.

Without mentioning a word about Naga political issue, Singh remarked that Nagaland had an opportunity to lead the North Eastern States to the path of peace, stability, prosperity and growth. He exuded confidence for a peaceful, vibrant, colourful and energetic Nagaland that would set an example for other States to emulate.

Attending the eighth day of Hornbill Festival at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama on Friday, Singh said the enchanting festival marked the onset of festive season and charmed visitors from both India and across the world. He said it was a prominent landmark in the socio-cultural lives of the people of Nagaland and reflected unity in diversity of the State.

Praising the diverse Naga culture, Singh said the festival was truly one-of-its-kind where different tribes of the State assembled in the spirit of brotherly love and affection, adding that 10-day festival would go a long way in bonding the people of Nagaland.

The Minister said the Hornbill Festival showcased the rich culture of the Nagas and their beautiful land replete with dense forests and colourful tribes.

He also thanked the visionary leaders of Nagaland who first conceived of the festival and also those who had not only helped it grow into a remarkable institution but also enriched it with layers of modernity music, art, fashion, beauty pageant, etc.

And as the State marked 54th year of its statehood, it was also an occasion for its people to reminisce on what they had achieved thus far and how to reinvigorate themselves further that will make Nagaland a vibrant and developed State, Singh remarked

He congratulated all participants at the Hornbill Festival for putting together a brilliant display of the best Naga dance and music and said that, with the kind of hospitality he had experienced, he “looked forward to visit again soon”.

And with participation of tribes from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh, the festival also symbolized the strength of the nation and the feeling of unity in diversity in the true spirit of “Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat”.

Singh said Indian economy was among the fastest growing economies of the world and that India commanded a very respectable status in the world and every citizen of this great nation was proud of his nationality.

Lauding Naga youth for excelling in various walks of life, he said “People like you have made the nation proud”.

He said the Central government was initiating many measures to ensure safety of the people and police modernization was one such measure whereby the police were being equipped to handle today’s challenges.

The Minister said 15 Indian Reserve Mahila Battalion had redefined policing in India and that women police stations were set up in Kohima and Dimapur. He hoped other districts too will follow suit to ensure safety and security of women and children.

He also lauded Naga regiment and Indian Reserve Battalion jawans for playing a critical role in combating Left-wing extremists in Naxal-affected areas of West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand.

He said he had directed Delhi Police to ensure that people from Northeast were treated with respect and that a special recruitment drive for people from the region was carried out to serve in the police for better interpersonal relations.

On development sector, the Minister said infrastructure development was the key to help Nagaland catch up with advanced States in terms of economic development and connectivity within the State and with other North-eastern States that would help create opportunities for business and trade.

Singh said on completion of road projects and initiatives taken up by the Centre, Nagaland would be transformed, and direct connectivity with South East Asian countries would provide huge market for its local products.

He stressed on investing in skill development so that the youth get gainful employment.

Singh further announced that, to facilitate easy movement of people across the border and ensure that people living in border areas faced no hardship, the Central government was in the process of finalizing a revamped Free Movement Regime along Indo-Myanmar border.

While doing so, he said steps were also being taken to promote border trade by establishing land custom stations, which would also ensure that illicit drug trafficking and other illegal activities were curbed on the border.

He further highlighted the efforts of New Delhi to ensure that growth was equitable and that all people and regions were taken care of and benefitted.

Earlier, in his welcome address, chief minister, T.R. Zeliang narrated the history of Nagaland and how it was carved out of Assam.

On that historic day, Zeliang said then President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan had sincerely wished Naga people a bright future and had appealed to forget all past rancour and misunderstandings and open a new chapter of progress, prosperity and goodwill.

Zeliang said Nagas had witnessed 20 long years of peace process and another two years after signing of the Framework Agreement. He said the Centre and NSCN (I-M) had been in talks for a very long time and today six NNPGs too had entered the peace process, which was very encouraging.

Complimenting tribal Hohos, apex bodies, church, civil societies, NGOs and NNPGs, the Chief Minister said this was the “most opportune time” for the Nagas and Government of India to resolve the seven-decades-old Naga political issue once and for all.

He asserted that as the 21st century world advanced into the next millennia, the Nagas too would not want to be left behind but be proud partners in the march ahead with times. He, however, stressed that the dream and vision of the Nagas could be fulfilled only if there was permanent peace.

Referring to the memorandum submitted to President of India Ram Nath Kovind during his recent visit to Kohima that appealed for resolving the protracted Naga political issue before the ensuing State Assembly elections, Zeliang reiterated his appeal to the Union Home Minister to carry forward the same message to New-Delhi “on behalf of the Naga people”.

He also took pride that Hornbill Festival had gained popularity and attracted tourists from different parts of the world despite the remoteness of the State and lack of adequate infrastructure.

Adviser in Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr. Hari Krishna Paliwal, host of cabinet ministers, legislators and government officials also attended the event.

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