KOHIMA, Sept 5: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday said that the separate statehood issue was between the people of eastern Nagaland and the Centre.
The clamour for a separate state of ‘Frontier Nagaland’, comprising six districts in eastern Nagaland, has gained momentum ahead of the assembly polls due next year with the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO), the apex tribal body in the region, giving a call not to take part in any election until the demand was met. The 20 MLAs from the region have extended support to the ENPO’s call.
“The (statehood) issue is between them and the Centre. We (state government) have already forwarded our portion of recommendations,” the chief minister said, without elaborating on the recommendations.
He said this on the sidelines of an official function here while responding to media queries on the August 26 declaration of ENPO not to participate in any election till the separate statehood demand was met.
ENPO is the region’s apex tribal body of seven Naga tribes – Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Tikhir and Yimkhiung – spread over six districts of Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator and Tuensang.
Replying to another query on the extension of the service of IPS officer T J Longkumer as the director general of police (DGP) of Nagaland for six months, Rio said, “We don’t have any issue as he got an extension from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).”
Longkumer, a 1991-batch IPS officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre, took charge as the DGP of Nagaland on June 28, 2018.
He was supposed to superannuate on August 31 this year.
However, the MHA, on the day of his superannuation, conveyed the approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet for the extension of service as well as inter cadre deputation tenure of Longkumer for a period of six months in the public interest.
With some non-governmental organisations questioning the extension of his service, Rio said, “Those who are criticising, let them explain themselves as it is not a problem with the state government.”
On questions about whether the laid down guidelines were followed in extending Longkumer’s service as the DGP, Rio said that should be asked to the MHA. (PTI)