Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Monday that his government does not want any confrontation with the governor on the Naga political issue but hopes to work together to find an early solution to the problem.
Speaking to reporters at the Civil Secretariat in Kohima, the chief minister broke his silence on the Raj Bhavan’s letter seeking details of the relatives of government employees involved with Naga underground groups.
“The first letter was issued on February 14 and was to be filled up in the self-declaration format and be submitted by April 4, but the state government did not do,” he said.
“But when the reminder letter came on June 24, we did not have an option, but to carry out the direction, because he (governor) had also given the letter on the collapse of law and order on June 16,” Rio said.
The chief minister was referring to the state government’s July 7 directions to all its employees to self-declare by August 7 whether they have family members or relatives with links to any Naga underground organisation.
“We don’t want to confront or disagree — we don’t know what he (governor) is thinking but the Cabinet and me…we have no difference and we need to work together to bring settlement (on the Naga issue) because this is the desire of the people,” Rio said.
In a damning indictment of Rio’s government, Governor R N Ravi had in a letter on June 16 said that armed gangs were brazenly running their own governments in the state challenging the legitimacy of its elected authority and creating a “crisis of confidence” in the system.
Ravi, a retired IPS officer who was a special director in the Intelligence Bureau and the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, had warned that he would promulgate Article 371A(1)(b) of the Constitution, which gives the Nagaland governor special responsibility with respect to law and order, if things did not improve.
Ravi had also given enough indication of his intention to have a greater say in administration, as he proposed to periodically review the law and order situation and issue directions.
Stating that his government was the representative of the people, the chief minister said the treasury benches do not have a difference with the opposition on the Naga political issue.