As Nagaland goes to polls for the Lok Sabha 2024 elections, a significant twist has unfolded with over 5 lakh voters from Eastern Nagaland poised to abstain from participating. This decision, spearheaded by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization (ENPO) and echoed by various stakeholders, underscores deeper grievances and demands for recognition that have long simmered in this region.

Eastern Nagaland, often overshadowed in the broader discourse, is now demanding attention. The call for a Frontier Nagaland Territory and the subsequent call for abstaining from both state and national elections are not merely acts of dissent but manifestations of a prolonged sense of neglect and isolation felt by the people of this region.

It is indeed unfortunate that the demands which were raised as early as 2010 were not earnestly addressed by the state government. The lack of inclusivity in addressing the concerns of Eastern Nagaland is disheartening and indicative of a systemic failure to engage in meaningful dialogue and address grievances promptly.

What exacerbates the situation is the dismissive stance taken by some state government leaders, downplaying the impact of Eastern Nagaland’s abstention from the elections. Such remarks only deepen the wounds of neglect felt by the Eastern Nagas, further widening the chasm between the region and the rest of the state.

Further, the absence of support to the Eastern Nagas from fellow Naga tribes also reveals the challenges in fostering unity and collective action within the Naga community. While the demands of Eastern Nagaland are legitimate and deserving of attention, it is essential to approach the situation with a spirit of inclusivity and brotherhood. Rather than viewing the issue as a threat to the unity of Nagaland, it should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen the state’s democratic fabric by addressing the concerns of all its citizens.

It is imperative for the state government, tribal hohos, and civil society to engage in constructive dialogue and collaborative efforts to address the grievances of Eastern Nagaland. Only through genuine efforts towards inclusivity and solidarity can Nagaland truly realize its potential as a united and prosperous state.

The abstention from participating in the elections by Eastern Nagaland is a dark stain in the history of Nagaland state and a matter of shame for the present state government. As such, it is now more important than ever before for Naga civil society to work together. It is time for all stakeholders to come together, listen to the voices of the marginalized, and work towards a more equitable and inclusive future for Nagaland as a whole.

7 thoughts on “Urgency for Unity and Solidarity”
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