The NSCN (IM) has said that no exploration of oil and natural gas in any form in Naga territories will be allowed until an honourable political settlement between the Nagas and the government of India is reached.
“This is the resolute stand of the NSCN,” the information and publicity ministry of the outfit said in a statement on Wednesday.
The NSCN reminded that it had issued a standing order more than two decades back that no mineral wealth in Naga areas will be allowed for exploration and extraction until a political settlement is arrived at.
“This order still stands valid today,” it affirmed. The outfit added that no amount of justification in the name of mobilizing financial resources for development will stand to ride roughshod over the inalienable Naga people's rights over their land and resources.
According to the NSCN, the government of India has been casting covetous eyes on the mineral wealth of the Nagas ever since the Nagaland state was created in 1963 as the state is endowed with a variety of mineral deposits, particularly petroleum.
“But the sticking point is the unresolved political issue that is still hanging fire in the negotiating table for more than 25 years,” it added.
The statement said the oil issue has come at a time when the government of India is showing no 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.
It further added the centre is pulling the Indo-Naga political talks for more than 25 years on the flimsy ground of negotiating on the non-negotiable issue of the Naga national flag and constitution.
“The 600 million tonnes of oil and natural gas reserves is a blessed wealth of Nagas and no authority will be given the liberty to exploit so long as the government of India continues to handle the Naga political issue with flattering and betraying fashion,” it said.
“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,” the NSCN stressed.
It said the 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.
“Thus, what belongs to the Naga people will not be allowed to be subjugated as we find during the era of colonialism. Priority has to be set in the correct perspective,” the NSCN added.
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