Legislators Confined as Eastern Nagaland’s Statehood Movement Escalates

Eastern Nagaland Peoples' Organisation

The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) has escalated its long-standing campaign for the creation of a separate state, “Frontier Nagaland.” In a bold move, the ENPO has instructed the region’s 20 legislators to remain indoors, a symbolic gesture highlighting the region’s quest for autonomy and recognition.

Since 2010, the ENPO has been the voice of six districts—Mon, Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak, and Shamator—home to tribes such as the Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Tikhir, and Yimkhiung. These communities have long felt neglected, with development lagging behind the rest of the state, fuelling their demand for a separate statehood.

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The recent directive to MLAs comes as a response to perceived inaction by the central government, despite promises made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah before the Nagaland State Assembly elections in February 2023. Disappointed by the lack of progress, the ENPO has declared a “public emergency” in Eastern Nagaland, signalling the urgency of their plight.

The central government’s counterproposal of an autonomous council with a ten-year review period has failed to satisfy the ENPO. The organisation has resolved to abstain from participating in central and state elections until their statehood demand is met.

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This stance has culminated in the call for an indefinite total shutdown in Eastern Nagaland, starting from April 18, 2024, on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections. The shutdown, which exempts essential services, demonstrates the ENPO’s determination to be heard.

The implications of the ENPO’s actions extend beyond Nagaland’s borders, reflecting the complexities of identity, governance, and development characteristic of the Northeastern region.

The demand for “Frontier Nagaland” is not just about changing political boundaries; it represents the aspiration for self-governance, equitable development, and the preservation of cultural heritage.

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The ENPO’s call for MLAs to stay indoors is a silent yet powerful protest, highlighting the deep-seated issues faced by the region. It is a movement that seeks to redefine the state’s contours, both geographically and in the collective consciousness of its people. The quest for “Frontier Nagaland” is a journey towards self-determination, shaping the political landscape of Nagaland and the Northeast.

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