TR Zeliang

Eastern Mirror Desk

Bhandari, May 10: Leader of opposition, TR Zeliang on Friday said that the ‘undue delay’ in striking a final Indo-Naga deal, despite several rounds of negotiation after the ceasefire agreement in 1997, was ‘disheartening.’

Zeliang was speaking as the special guest at the ongoing 28th NSF general conference on May 10. He pointed out that the “issue has not come to a conclusion” even after the signing of the framework agreement.

While appreciating the NSF’s role in keeping ‘our people emotionally and socially integrated’, he hoped that the federation would not shy away from Naga political issue ‘because this alone will decide our destination.’

Zeliang said that the NSF should take the lead in fighting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

“Having said this, I must also say that there is high possibility of dragging the student community into turmoil situation which are politically stage-managed. As such, being the apex student body, the Naga Students’ Federation should crosscheck a given situation so as to refrain the student community from getting involved in any kind of conspiracy game-plans (sic).

“I strongly feel that it is high time to streamline the areas where student participations are necessary and where it should be avoided. In order to do this, a clear direction should be circulated from NSF office stating that student participations in any kind of agitation will be allowed only with the consent of NSF office,” he suggested.

According to Zeliang, “one fails to understand” why the turnout of students and church leaders “is very poor” in every election.  “At a time when electioneering process is underway, should the media alone be given the sole power to create awareness on voting with consciousness? I fear that such independent power to the media alone may not have the desired impact. As such, it will do a lot of good if the NSF takes up new measures and direct students to cast their vote in their respective places wherever their names are enrolled.”

The first step towards eradicating corruption, he said, was for every student and church member to vote “instead of allowing someone to purchase your votes for proxy-voting.”

To combat unemployment, Zeliang said that there is a need to create awareness on the importance of skill development. “This is because all qualified students with merit cannot be accommodated in government white-colour (sic) jobs alone. One should learn and develop skills while in school/colleges and be mentally prepared to work under any corporate or in any field of work.”

He said that addressing the problem of ‘illegal immigrants’ in the state involves the issue of skill development. “We talk a lot about improving the ILP regulations to safeguard the rights of our indigenous people from illegal immigrants infiltrating the state. However, this mission cannot be successful unless our youths are trained in skill development. We ourselves welcome workers from outside for construction of houses, roads, for electrification and plumbing works etc., and even up to the extent of working in our fields.”

~EMN

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