“The 600 tonnes of oil and natural gas reserves is a blessed wealth of the Nagas and no authority will be given the liberty to exploit so as long as the government of India continues to handle the Naga political issue with flattering and betraying fashion”, says NSCN (I-M).
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
National Socialist Council of Nagalim or the NSCN (I-M) on Wednesday has said that there should be no exploitation of oil and natural gas in Naga territories till an honourable “political settlement” is arrived at with the government of India (GoI).
MIP, NSCN/GPRN, while concerned about the “exploration” in a press statement said that ever since Nagaland got its statehood in the year 1963, the government of India has been casting “covetous eyes” on Naga wealth as the state is endowed with variety of mineral deposits, particularly petroleum.
However, the the “sticking point” was the unresolved political issue that is still “hanging in fire” in the negotiating table for almost two decades (25 years), said NSCN (I-M).
In this regard, the outfit stated that over two decades back, it had issued a standing order that no mineral wealth in Naga areas would be allowed for exploration and extraction till the political settlement is arrived at.
For this, the NSCN (I-M) said same order is still “valid” and therefore “no amount of justification in the name of mobilizing financial resources for development would stand “ride roughshod” over the “inalienable” Naga People’s right over their land resources.
Ironically, the NSCN (I-M) that the oil issue has come at the time when the government of India was showing its “sincerity and commitment” to respect the historical and political rights of the Naga people as enshrined in the “historic” framework agreement of August 3, 2015, and pulling the ” Indo-Naga” political talks for more than 25 years on “filmsy” ground of negotiating on the “non-negotiable” issue of the Naga National Flag and Constitution.
While affirming that for over 70 years,the Nagas have stood the test of time to defend the God given rights, the NSCN (I-M) also mentioned that “no wonder the huge mineral wealth is a reflection of God’s gift for the Naga nation”, and the 600 tonnes of oil and natural gas reserves is a blessed wealth of the Nagas and no authority will be given the liberty to exploit so as long as the government of India continues to handle the Naga political issue with flattering and betraying fashion.
It also went on to add that as much as the government of India attached huge economic significance to the mineral wealth particularly oil and natural gas of Nagaland, the same degree of political commitment should be demonstrated in a meaningful and credible manner as demanded by the ongoing “Indo-Naga” political talks.
“Nagas would not like to stand out as a laughing stock before the world when the Naga political issue after signing the Framework agreement in 2015 is still made to look like a strange shambling figure” added the NSCN (I-M).
It also further said that what belongs to the Naga people would not be allowed to be subjugated like one finds it during era of colonialism.
Mentioning that “priority” has to be set in correct perspective, the NSCN (I-M) further said that until an honourable political settlement between the Nagas and the government of India is reached, no exploration of oil and natural gas in Naga territories in any form shall be allowed.