The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) on Tuesday reiterated its decision to abstain from the forthcoming elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in continuation of its protest against the delay in fulfilling its Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT) demand.

This decision was reaffirmed during a coordination meeting of the executives of the ENPO and all eight tribal bodies under ENPO on Tuesday, 14 May, at Tourist Lodge in Dimapur.

The meeting was convened to discuss and reaffirm the ENPO’s decision to abstain from participating in the upcoming ULB elections. The house reaffirmed their commitment to the “Chenmoho Resolution” adopted at Chenmoho village on 23 February this year.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, the President of ENPO, R Taspikiu Sangtam, said that they have reaffirmed their commitment to the ‘Chenmoho Resolution’, whereby the ENPO had resolved not to participate in any Central and State elections in protest of the MHA’s failure to settle the creation of FNT before the announcement of Model Code of Conduct to Lok Sabha 2024 elections.

Sangtam said ENPO was not “boycotting” the ULB elections but have decided “not to participate” in the ULB elections. He added that the ENPO will write a letter to the ECI informing the same.

Sangtam clarified that the abstention from participation in ULB polls does not extend to persons belonging to members of the ENPO communities living in urban centres outside the ENPO areas.

Sangtam also reiterated the ENPO’s position that the delay in settling the FNT issue was due to Nagaland Government’s inaction over the draft submitted to it by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Stating that the Centre has done its part, he said it was now for the State Government to respond, adding that ENPO would wait for the State Government to respond, while also saying that the Centre has not officially handed the draft on FNT to ENPO.

It may be noted that the demand for FNT has been moderated from its original plea for a separate state. The option for a Union Territory has also been dismissed. Furthermore, while the Nagaland state government proposed the establishment of an Autonomous Council, this suggestion was subsequently rejected by the ENPO.

According to Sangtam, the ENPO and the Centre have reached a ‘unique arrangement under Article 371(A).’ Under this arrangement, he explained that the FNT will neither function as an Autonomous Council nor be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

He clarified that the FNT will occupy a position ‘lesser than a Union Territory but slightly higher than an Autonomous Council.’ Sangtam emphasized that this proposed arrangement, which they agreed upon after recognizing the challenges associated with achieving their original demand for statehood or Union Territory status, was offered by the Union government.

Mokokchung Times

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