On August 26, the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation, a pressure group representing the state’s backward, hilly regions, passed a resolution calling for a boycott of all elections. Their demand: the creation of a separate state of “Frontier Nagaland” comprising six backward districts of the state.
This isn’t the first time this demand is being made but the issue has got a fresh lease of life ahead of Assembly elections next year. Eastern Nagas complain that their region, already economically backward, is further being ignored by the state government.
While it enjoys popular support in eastern Nagaland, the demand has seen little traction with the Centre, the authority responsible for the creation of new states. As a result, experts see little chance of it succeeding. Even then, however, the demand could be a bargaining chip for greater power and financial devolution to these regions.
Why is a separate state being demanded?
Eastern Nagaland comprises six districts – Tuensang, Mon, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak and Shamator – which are inhabited by seven Naga tribes: Konyak, Khiamniungan, Chang, Sangtam, Tikhir, Phom and Yimkhiung. The six districts have 20 of the 60 Assembly seats in the state.
Much of the demand for a new state arises because this region is significantly more backward than the…