Rio fears peace process may go haywire

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Kohima, Jan 5 (UNI) Outgoing Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has asserted that the imposition of President's rule in the state was against the aspirations of the Naga people and expressed apprehensions that the ongoing Naga peace process may go haywire in the absence of a popular and mandated government.

Addressing a press conference at his official residence here last night, a day after President's rule was imposed inthe state, Mr Rio said, ''The ongoing peace process in the state is a very sensitive issue and it may be jeopardised if a single wrong step is taken.'' He asserted that Nagas did not want ''martial law'' as the people of the state had already suffered enough under martial law.

He alleged that the Congress was wholly responsible for imposition of the President's rule in Nagaland and was ''neither concerned nor did it understand the wishes and aspirations of the Naga people.'' Describing the imposition of the President's rule as ''murder of democracy and against the aspirations of the people who supported a mandated government,'' he demanded that the Congress leaders give an explanation to the people.

Mr Rio alleged that the Congress had engineered the political crisis, leading to imposition of ''martial law'' in the state.

''The Nagaland unit of the Congress has been using all means, including threats and lures, in mastering the political crisis in the state,'' he alleged.

He said the imposition of the President's rule did not come as a surprise, adding it had come only 20 days after the no confidence motion was defeated in the House on December 13.

He, however, expressed confidence that the imposition of President's rule would make no difference to the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) as the people had realised the ''game of the Congress and were firmly in support of the DAN''.

He also disclosed that he had met Nagaland Governor K Sankaranarayanan last evening.

He said the Governor was a ''seasoned politician, who would not let the development work in the state suffer as a result of the latest political developments.'' The outgoing Chief Minister said he and the Governor had a ''good and healthy discussion'' during which he assured his full support and cooperation towards bringing about development and peace among the people of Nagaland.

UNI AS DPM YA GC1139

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