|Major Events Vol. 2 Issue No. 12||October 1 - 15, 2005|
War of words
BJP has accused that UPA Govt. is ‘insensitive towards the Naga problem’ and the Congress has termed the allegation irresponsible.
Ignoring the fact that the ongoing Naga peace process is at a crucial stage and any loose remark at this juncture may considerably damage the process, two major political parties of the country the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have joined in an unfortunate war of words. While the BJP has accused the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre is ‘insensitive towards the Naga problem’, the Congress found the allegation as ‘irresponsible and misleading’.
It all started when BJP general secretary and former Union minister Pramod Mahajan attacked the Congress at a recent press conference in Dimapur. Charging the UPA Government of not being sensitive to the problems of the North-East, Mr. Mahajan said that the Congress led regime’s behaviour towards the region was ‘discriminatory in nature’ and accused the Central government of having a ‘step-motherly’ treatment towards the seven sister states.
Accusing the Congress-led government for derailing the Naga peace process, he said that had the people of India elected the BJP to power for another term, permanent peace could have already become a reality in Nagaland. For the last 15 months, the peace process has been lagging behind and is unsatisfactory, Mr. Mahajan remarked. While stating that the UPA was not serious in its approach to the problem in Nagaland, he asked the Center to expedite the peace process. The BJP leader was however non-committal on the issue of integration of all Naga inhabited areas. Mr. Mahajan simply stuck to the stand that a consensus had to be taken up with leaders of all the states which have Naga populations if the map of the region was to be redrawn. He also asked all segments of Naga society, whether over ground or underground to take earnest initiative towards the peace process.
Mr. Mahajan also enquired of Manmohan Singh’s government as to where the special package initiated by the BJP had disappeared after the UPA came to power. Mr. Mahajan reaffirmed BJP’s support to the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government and claimed that his party was fully committed to the Common Minimum Programme of the NPF led government. He was optimistic that the DAN would complete its five-year term and by bringing progress to the State would renew its mandate.
On the issue of illegal immigration Mr. Mahajan said that Nagaland had become a victim to illegal influx of Bangladeshis. He said that effective steps had to be taken to contain this menace. Mahajan said that to root out this problem, the Central government had to accept that the problem existed. He further stated that illegal immigrants should be disenfranchised to stop them from exercising political powers. He said that this could be a first step towards eradicating the problem as deporting 20 million illegal immigrants was too huge a task. On the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act enforced in Nagaland, he said that the army and the police were not the only answers in the North-East as the region was facing multi-dimensional problems.
The Congress, on its part, came down heavily on BJP and Mr. Mahajan. Without wasting any time, NPCC spokesman Taka Masa Ao in a statement said, “It was due to the sincerity of the Congress, that the peace talks were upgraded from bureaucratic level to political level and a tribal from the region was given charge of the Department of North Eastern Region (DONER). He also blamed the previous NDA government for illegal migrant issue.
The question here is can we afford to indulge in such debates at this
crucial juncture? Where was the need to initiate such a debate? Being a
senior politician of this country Mr. Mahajan is fully aware about the
complexity of the Naga problem. Before commenting on this issue, the BJP
leader should do well if he kept it in his mind that the ongoing peace
process is continuing for the last eight years and in the mean time several
changes of guards took place in Delhi. But that did not hamper the
peace process as both sides showed tremendous maturity, while dealing the
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