DIMAPUR, June 23 � The demand for �Frontier Nagaland� is here to stay even as the Nagaland Government has been putting maximum effort in persuading the leaders of the Eastern Naga Peoples Organisation (ENPO) to reconsider their demand.
In a meeting today between the State Government representatives headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the ENPO leaders in Kohima the ice could not be broken.
ENPO leaders informed this evening that the meeting was cordial and peaceful. However, the ENPO leaders said their demand for a separate State by carving out four districts of Nagaland in the eastern part of the State remains.
ENPO is demanding that the districts of Mon, Kiphire, Tuensang and Longleng be carved out from Nagaland to form a separate State called Frontier Nagaland.
Meanwhile, sources said that the Chief Minister had assured the ENPO leaders of all round development for the ENPO area. But the leaders of the ENPO had told him and his team that bringing all round development is the bounden duty of the State Government not only for the ENPO area but to all the corners of the State.
The ENPO leaders were said to have told the State Government representatives that whatever was offered will not serve the interest of the tribes of ENPO. �Only Statehood can safeguard the ENPO community,� said the leaders of the ENPO.
It is worth noting that early this year Nagas in four Nagaland districts had carried out massive public rallies demanding the creation of a new State.
The rallies were held simultaneously in the districts of Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire and Longleng on January 7.
The ENPO, which is the apex organisation of six Naga tribes including Konyak, Khiamniungan, Chang, Yimchunger, Sangtam and Phom inhabiting the four districts, had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging him to realise the demand.
�Our demand for the creation of Frontier Nagaland is based on historical facts. This is something like going back to the earlier arrangement when the entire area was under the erstwhile Tuensang Frontier Division of NEFA,� ENPO leader Toshi Wungpung had said.
Prior to Nagaland�s attainment of Statehood in 1963, the entire area was under the Tuensang Frontier Division of NEFA. Mon, Kiphire and Longleng districts were carved out of Tuensang post-Statehood.
�For decades, gross injustice has been done to the people of these four districts by the successive governments, both in the State and at the Centre,� Wungmung also alleged.
�Of the 11 districts in Nagaland, these four backward districts have almost half of the State�s total population. But despite that, they continue to remain extremely under-developed,� the ENPO general secretary said. He added that only three per cent of the total population of the four districts was into government jobs.