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Nagaland Governor threatens to take over Government

R N Ravi 1

Proposes to clip Government’s wings
Kohima, June 25: Nagaland Governor R N Ravi has threatened to evoke Article 371A(1) (b) of the Constitution of India in view of grim scenario in the State.
In letter to Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, the Governor said the scenario in the state is grim and that law and order has collapsed.
“The constitutional established State Government is being challenged on day to day basis by the armed gang who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation while the instruments of law and order remain totally unresponsive. In such a backdrop I can no longer abstain from my constitutional obligations for law and order in the State under Article 371A (1) (b) of the Constitution of India,” he stated in a letter.
He has also proposed that hereafter important law and order decisions like transfer and positing of officials entrusted with maintenance of law and order responsibilities of and above the district level will be after the approval of the Governor.
“I also propose to periodically review the law and order in the State and issue required lawful directions. In order to instill and ensure accountability I also prefer to review the annual performance appraisal reports of all such officers,” the Governor said.
Ravi said he has been closely observing the precarious law and order situation in the state with lots of concern ever since August 2019 since he took over the constitutional chair of the State.
“Day to day unrestrained depredations by over a dozen organized armed gang, brazenly running their respective so called Governments, challenging the legitimacy of the State Government without any resistance from the law and order machinery has created a crisis of confidence in the system,” he added. He said rampant extortions and violence by armed gangs has taken a toll on Naga people.
“The State Government development departments are under duress to give regular ransom to the armed gangs. ‘Town commands’ of these gangs keep the people in towns and its neighbourhood terrorized. Brazen display of fire power by the rival gangs for turf control drive the people to panic,” the letter stated.
The Governor said situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the armed miscreants appoint their own dealers for every commodity coming into the State adding that miscreants run syndicates including contrabands and alcoholic drinks.
“They are operating check gates for this purpose at almost every entry points within the knowledge of the State Government. Transporters have complained to me that there is over 200% cost escalation in transportation the moment a goods laden truck enters Nagaland due to gun point extortions by the armed miscreants,” he said.
He said there have been voices from civil organizations against unlawful activities by armed miscreants.
“Steady downslide in all the parameters of development in Nagaland, e.g. road connectivity, health and education infrastructure and livelihood are attributed to siphoning off a large chunk of government funds meant for development. The report ending March 2018 of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India bears disturbing testimony to massive leakage of funds with impunity across the departments,” Ravi said. He further said a significant reason for such leakage is attributed to institutional systemic ransom to armed gangs.
Ravi disclosed that during periodic monitoring of the progress of construction of National Highways the NHIDCL and the project contractors complained of the armed gangs stopping the work unless 5-7% of the project cost is given to them as ransom. There were also instances of kidnapping and assault on project engineers and managers for defiance or delay in ransom payment.
“In a review meeting on January 11, 2020 I advised the Chief Secretary and DGP to constitute SIT to bring the culprits speedily to book and deter others from such activities. Since I continued receiving complaints of harassment, I asked the SIT in-charge for a briefing which was done on 2nd June 2020. I am hugely disappointed at the sleepy and indifferent attitude of the SIT. Obviously it has no impact whatsoever,” he added.
The Governor also said there are reports of encroachment and deforestation of forest land by armed miscreants, and even evicting forest officials at gun point. “Eviction of inmates and forcible occupation of Mangalmukh forest colony in Dimapur district, encroachment in Intangki National Park and the Reserve forests in Wokha district are illustrations,” he said.
Further, the Government said reports of the DGP on police action against the armed gangs during the last over three years reveal disconcerting facts on the abysmal status of law and order in the State. \
“Whatever actions against the armed miscreants have been occasionally taken are only against the foot soldiers. I did not come across a case in which senior members of gangs have been implicated. In over 98% cases, the accused are at large on bail within a couple of days of arrest,” the Governor resented.
Ravi said he has told the Chief Minister and senior officers to act against miscreants and restore rule of law.
“I have been raising the concerns in almost all our formal and informal meetings with you and the law and order officials. However I regret to say my urgings and advices at the political and bureaucratic levels have gone unheeded,” he said. (Page News Service)