Rampant extortion undermining growth of Nagaland, says governor

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Kohima, Jan 26 (PTI) Nagaland Governor R N Ravi on Tuesday said that rampant extortion by 'anti-social elements' has not been retrained fully and it has created a sense of fear among businesses and entrepreneurs, hampering the growth of Nagaland.

Unfurling the national flag in Kohima on the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day, he said that there is no space for politics by gun and those who believe in such a politics shall always remain outliers in a democracy.

Addressing the function, Ravi said, 'The menace of rampant extortions under the guise of illegal taxation by anti social elements has not yet been fully curbed despite best efforts by the police and security forces. It has created a sense of fear among businesses and entrepreneurs which severely undermines the economy and growth of the state.' This has also resulted in the state not doing as well as some other states on several development indicators, he said.

In a letter to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in June last year, the governor had said that armed gangs are brazenly running their own governments in the state challenging the legitimacy of its elected authority and creating a 'crisis of confidence' in the system.

Unrealistic, self-destructive and divisive politics has exhausted the people of Nagaland, the state governor who is also the interlocutor for Naga talks said on the Republic Day function.

'In a democracy, there is ample space for resolution of differences through peaceful dialogue. However, there is no space for politics by gun. Those who believe in such a politics shall always remain outliers in a democracy,' he said.

The primary stakeholders have made their positions abundantly clear that the era of guns must end without further delay, and long-lasting peace must be restored, Ravi said.

They have made it clear that unresolved issues, if any, be pursued through dialogue post-settlement, the governor said.

The NSCN-IM, which has been engaged in peace negotiations with the central government, had signed a Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find a permanent solution of the Naga political problem.

The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's independence in 1947.

However, the talks with the NSCN-IM are currently in deadlock as the group has been insisting for a separate Naga flag and constitution, a demand rejected by the Centre.

The governor said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds the Naga people in high esteem and is committed to restoring an enduring peace in the region with utmost regard as per wishes of the people.

Meanwhile, Nagaland Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer said at a Republic Day function in Dimapur that it is a day to introspect and reflect 'what we have achieved and what more needs to be done, to reach our destination'.

The state has made many visible developmental achievements to show, and there is significant progress in every field, he added. PTI CORR SBN NN NN