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ENPO says shutdown was aimed at maintaining law & order situation

Nagaland News

CEO Nagaland cautions not to repeat such action henceforth

KOHIMA, APRIL 19: While the abstention of over 4 lakh voters from Eastern Nagaland has brought down the overall voting percentage of Nagaland to just 56%, ENPO justified it as ‘maintaining law & order situation while election office cautioned it to ensure that no action is taken that interferes with the free exercise of electoral rights of any person.
Nagaland has been recording a voting percentage of more than 80%. In 2014 parliamentary polls, Nagaland topped the country with 87.82% of the electorates exercising their franchise while in 2019 83% vote was casted.
Responding to the show cause notice of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nagaland Vyasan R on its indefinite total shutdown called from 6 p.m. yesterday, Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) president R Tsapikiu Sangtam today said the shutdown was to reduce the possibility of disturbances and the risk linked with gatherings of anti-social elements.
“The main goal of the public notice was to reduce the possibility of disturbances in the Eastern Nagaland region, which is under our jurisdiction, and the risk linked with gatherings of anti-social elements”, he said.
Stating that the Eastern Nagaland region is presently under Public Emergency, he said the shutdown was a voluntary initiative taken by the people of the region.
Prior to the issuance of the public notice, consultations were held with the Eastern Nagaland people, represented through the office of the ENPO, he said.
Sangtam reminded the CEO that in its letter to Election Commission of India on April 1, ENPO had already communicated the intentions of the Eastern Nagaland people to abstain from participating in the Lok Sabha elections 2024.
This decision was made in light of the prevailing circumstances and sentiments of the people, he said.
The notice issued yesterday was aimed at maintaining the law-and-order situation in the Eastern Nagaland region, ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents, he said.
Sangtam also highlighted that Subsection (1) of Section 171 (c) of the IPC 1860 is not applicable in this context as no offence related to undue influence has been committed by ENPO or the Eastern Nagaland people.
The notice was issued to deter anti-social elements from creating law and order situation in the region, and as a means of expressing their collective will (demand for Frontier Nagaland Territory).
He therefore said that the shutdown was a voluntary initiative by the people and there was no question of coercion or enforcement by the ENPO or any other authority.
ENPO does not possess any mechanism to enforce its resolutions or orders but it operates solely on the basis of voluntary participation and consensus among the Eastern Nagaland people, he said.
“If there has been any misunderstanding or misinterpretation of our actions, we regret and assure you of our full cooperation”, Sangtam said while also assuring that ENPO is open to dialogue and collaboration to ensure the smooth functioning of law and order in the Eastern Nagaland region.
Meanwhile, in an order issued later today, Vyasan said a reply was received from Sangtam.
Quoting the response given by Sangtam, the CEO reiterated that the public notice issued by the Eastern Nagaland Public Emergency Control Room with its Headquarters in Tuensang, Nagaland, could be interpreted as trying to use undue influence at elections by interfering with the free exercise of those residing in Eastern Nagaland areas to vote at the General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2024.
He also affirmed that the notice is liable to be interpreted as attracting the provisions of Sub-Section (1) of Section 171 C of the Indian Penal Code 1860 related to undue influence at elections.
Remarking that the President of ENPO has superintendence over the Eastern Nagaland Public Emergency Control Room, the CEO therefore cautioned Sangtam that henceforth adequate care be taken by him “to ensure that no action is taken by the Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organisation that maybe interpreted as interfering or attempting to interfere with the free exercise of electoral rights of any person”.
(Page News Service)