We Nagas are famous for ignoring the obvious and making mountains out of issues which are nothing but molehills. It is as if we have taken a collective decision to ignore the elephant of corruption that has pervaded every aspect of our lives and which is the root of all that is wrong in Nagaland.
Our studied disingenuity with regard to institutionalized corruption has emboldened the debasers of Nagaland to commit more depraved and perverted acts, to the detriment of the lives and welfare of the people of Nagaland. This elephant of corruption that we so assiduously ignore, breeds more elephants of wrongdoing and misgovernance on every major issue; but we keep turning a Nelson’s eye to them.
The killing of our Konyak brothers in Oting Village and Mon Town are the latest major tragedies which we have chosen to trivialize by roughshodding over the very real question of investigating the cause of the tragedy and granting justice to the families of the slain, by raising the Utopian (for the present) dream of repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
History should not be forgotten, but more importantly, it should not be rewritten nor twisted so that those who create the dung and wallow in it, come out smelling of roses. To this end, I would like to point out a few glaringly obvious elephants that we seemed determined to ignore.
Elephant 1: Who gave what particular information to the army that they set up an ambush? I can understand the Security Forces (hereinafter SF) setting up random mobile check points, but I refuse to believe that they would set up an ambush just on the off chance that they could kill some insurgents. Someone gave them information of such a nature that hyped them up to a degree, that they fired at the first vehicle that came by.
Elephant 2: By all accounts the ambush occurred between 4 and 4:30 p.m., on December 4th, wherein 6 people were killed and 2 injured. Then the Oting villagers arrived on the scene/chased down the SF (depending on varying sources) sometime around 8 p.m. The subsequent confrontation between the Security Forces and the Oting Villagers led to the deaths of a further 7 civilians and 1 soldier.
There is no doubt that some attempts were made to conceal the identity of the innocent civilians killed in the first encounter by the SF, by dressing them in camouflage trousers and hiding them under plastic sheets; but only the most gullible idiot will believe that it took them around 4 hours to do so. And that raises the question of why did the SF take the trouble to drop off/dump the two injured civilians at a hospital if their intent was to hide their misdeed? If I were in their place, and wanted to cover up my mistake, I would have killed any wounded and just left the corpses for people to wonder who killed them.
Elephant 3: The tense situation having been created and public anger simmering, what steps were taken by the Government and District Administration to prevent any outburst of public anger against the SF on the next day, i.e. December 5th? Why was a mob allowed to gather and assault the Assam Rifles HQ at Mon Town? Any person with an iota of common sense would know that unarmed people attacking armed people is a virtual death sentence for the unarmed. So, who took the decision to sit back and let more people die by allowing them to attack the AR HQ? I am of the opinion that the AR did not shoot to kill or else many more than the one person would have died.
According to sources, in the aftermath of the ambush, the SF realised their blunder, took the injured to hospital and contacted the Superintendent of Police, Mon and informed him/his Office of what had occurred. The SF waited for 4 hours for the police to turn up, and when they did not, the SF made hurried attempts to conceal their bodies and that is when the villagers turned up and confronted the SF. This confrontation turned deadly with 7 villagers and a soldier dying. This is the version that is most reasonable, logical and believable.
I will not dwell on any speculation of a conspiracy being hatched by any individual or organisation; but I will point out what should be so glaringly obvious to everyone.
Someone gave false information to the SF for reasons unknown.
Officials of the Government of Nagaland refused to take any steps on the night of the 4th of December, leading to the deaths of 8 people (7 civilians and a soldier) and on the 5th of December, leading to the death of one person and injuries to unknown numbers of civilians.
In any crime, motive is the most important factor. A person who hires an assassin to kill someone is no less guilty of the murder than the hired gun who pulls the trigger. The way I see it, some unknown person or entity used the SF as hired guns to kill 6 innocent people, then the Government of Nagaland used the Security Forces to kill an additional 7 innocent people on the night of the 4th of December and one more on the 5th of December.
Unless the Army reveals the identity of the person who gave them information, it bears sole responsibility for the deaths of our 6 Konyak brothers. The Government of Nagaland is not a nameless or faceless entity, but one run by the people that occupy its offices. In a Parliamentary Democracy, unless an individual can be identified as the culprit, the Principle of Collective Responsibility applies. So, unless our Home Minister or our Chief Minister can clarify whether the army informed the civilian authorities at Mon after the ambush and why apparently nothing was done to prevent the mob from attacking the AR Camp at Mon, either one of them must accept responsibility and demit office or the entire Cabinet of the Government of Nagaland and all MLAs of this “Oppositionless Government”, along with the Army, are guilty of the deaths of 8 of our Konyak brothers.
Kahuto Chishi Sumi,
Hevishe Village, Khaghaboto Range,