Dimapur, July 9: The Delhi sector of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, (NPMHR) organized its 15th Morung Dialogue through a webinar on ‘Naga peoples’ aspiration and law and order’ on July 8 in the light of the Governor’s letter to the Chief Minister of Nagaland. The panel comprised Advocate Timikha Koza, President, Tenyimia Peoples’ Organization; Prof. Rosemary Dzuvichü, Department of English, Nagaland University, also advisor to Naga Mothers’ Association; and Keviletuo Kiewhuo, former President, Naga Hoho.
Advocate Timikha Koza said, “Nagas are one and we have one aspiration. Nagas believe in freedom and love freedom. Nagas have not compromised our birthright at any point of time. The aspiration of the Nagas cannot be suppressed.”
According to him, the Governor’s letter has created much fear amongst the Naga people in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “The Nagas have suffered enough under military rule in the name of law and order and do not wish to experience another such phase,” he said, adding Nagaland is comparatively more peaceful in relation to its past or to other states. Prof. Rosemary Dzuvichü spoke on the after-effects of the Governor’s letter, the experience of Naga women and the way forward. According to her, the Governor has brought a much bigger ‘pandemic’ to the Nagas in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The people today live in anxiety and tension with a series of arrests of members of NNPGs occurring with no respect for ceasefire ground rules,” she said.
She also expressed worry about how the Governor, who is also the interlocutor of the Naga political negotiation, would regain the trust of the negotiating partners after branding them “armed gangs”.
The trust built over years of talks with different Naga political groups and through the signing of the framework agreement with the main negotiating partner NSCN (IM) and the preamble with the 7 NNPGs, has been thrown to waste due to the letter, she said and was apprehensive as to how the negotiation would continue with mistrust between negotiating partners.
Prof. Dzuvichü was also fearful that the extension of the Disturbed Areas Act with AFSPA in force will ultimately lead to violation of human rights. “There are still many pending cases in the Indian courts where justice has not yet been served to the Nagas in regard to excesses of the military forces. The recent cold-blooded gunning down of an alleged extortionist in Kohima has exhumed such memories,” she added.
Keviletuo Kiewhuo opined that the Governors’ letter deals with the politics, law and order, development and corruption in the state with a lot of ambiguity and much more clarity is needed. He, however, agreed with the governor that there is corruption in Nagaland, stating “Corruption has crept into every aspect of the Naga people. The political class and the notorious bureaucracy are all involved.” He went a step ahead questioning what measures were taken by the governor to correct this.
Kiewhuo also questioned what the definition of “collapse of law and order” meant when everyone in the State is living in peace. He highlighted that there is a ceasefire mechanism in place led by a chairman of the ceasefire monitoring group and ceasefire supervisory board with laid down ground rules. As per this, there are hundreds of card holders amongst the NNPGs who are authorized to carry arms and ammunition. The designated camps are not prisons and the cadres have the freedom to move around accompanied by bodyguards with arms. They cannot be labeled “armed gangs”, he said.
He also delved into the constitutional ambiguity of the role of an interlocutor who is also a Governor. While the interlocutor reports directly to the Prime Minister of the country, the governor reports to the President.
A question and answer session ensued post the address by the speakers. The Morung Dialogue concluded with vote of thanks from the chair, Akhum Longkumer. (Page News Service)