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Rio speaks out on Gaindinliu-Heraka issue

DIMAPUR: Drawing attention over the recent controversy surrounding Gaindinliu and Heraka religious movement, Nagaland’s Lok Sabha MP, Neiphiu Rio on Monday said he was compelled to express his stand, saying “my name has also been mentioned and dragged in from time to time”.

Rio in a press release highlighted various instances (with clippings made available to the media) to clear the air over the controversy, stating that “the real truth needs to unfold in the greater interest of our society”. 

Rio said that though he was a Christian and a believer of Jesus Christ, as the then chief minister of the State he was duty bound to uphold the Constitution of India and to reach out to all sections of society
Rio further made known that he had never compromised with his faith whatsoever despite attending various programmes and visits to several institutions of various religions and faith including Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs etc. in the past several years during his tenure as chief minister and also as an MP at present.

On October 12, 2009, he said: “at the request of my colleague T.R. Zeliang, who was then Planning Minister, and other public leaders of Peren district, I attended the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Zeliangrong Heraka School Tening, as the chief guest and he as the guest of honour”. The programme was purely a school function and had nothing to do with religion and likewise assistance to the educational institution was also considered, he said. During the function, Rio said that a memorandum requesting for construction of a Gaidinliu Memorial Museum and library was submitted to him. 

Rio however said that the he suggested the project be taken up by Centre since the State government had no funds and resources at that time. Later, the project was conceptualized by the Art & Culture department and processed and pursued by the Planning Department with the Central ministry and Government of India.

On the issue of renaming Dimapur airport after Gaidinliu, Rio said the National Committee for Birth Centenary Celebrations of Rani Ma Gaidinliu had written to Prime Minister of India demanding renaming of Dimapur Airport. This organization had written letters to the Prime minister and chief minister of Manipur saying that Rani Gaidinliu was born in Lungkao Village in Manipur on January 26, 1915, he said. 

The letter also demanded installation of her portrait in the Manipur Legislative Assembly, installing her statues in Imphal and other districts of Manipur, preserving her house in Lungkao as a museum and to support her establishment of Rani Gaidinliu Central University, he said. “Until then I was not aware that Gaidinliu had fought against the NNC, the then undivided Naga nationalist group though I am aware that she fought against the British and was imprisoned,” Rio stated.

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