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Normal life hit in eastern Nagaland as apex body calls shutdown for separate state

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Kohima, March 11:  Normal life was badly hit in six districts of eastern Nagaland on Monday as the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation called an indefinite shutdown in the region to press for its demand for a separate state, officials said.

According to police, shops, business establishments, and government and non-government offices, including educational institutions, remained closed and most vehicles were off the roads due to the shutdown called by the ENPO, the apex body of seven Naga tribes in the six districts.

Emergency services, including electric supply, and medical, besides media as well as weddings, were, however, exempted from the purview of the shutdown.

The ENPO has been demanding that a separate ‘Frontier Naga Territory’ state be carved out of the most backward six eastern districts of Mon, Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak, and Shamator, where seven backward tribes — Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung — are spread across.

The Naga body has also resolved on March 5 not to allow any political party to undertake any campaign in the six districts for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls till the settlement of their demand. It enforced a “public emergency” on March 8 in support of their demand.

The ENPO and its associated organisations, in support of its separate state demand, gave a call to boycott last year’s Assembly polls but subsequently withdrew the boycott call following the assurance from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Responding to the ENPO’s demand, the Union Home Ministry last year formed a three-member committee, headed by Adviser, Northeast, A.K. Mishra, and the panel visited Nagaland several times and talked with all concerned, including the ENPO leaders.

Regarding the demand for a separate state, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio recently said that the state government has already recommended, to the Centre, that an autonomous region be set up for the people belonging to the eastern region.

Governor La Ganesan, while addressing a government function recently, said that due to historical and geographical factors, some parts of the state, especially eastern Nagaland areas are still lagging in terms of infrastructure and socio-economic parameters. The state and the Central governments are seized of this issue and both are firmly committed to suitably address them with the urgency it deserves, he had said.

IANS

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