Recently, various civic organizations and concerned citizens in Kohima and Dimapur have expressed grave concerns over the government’s handling of returnees who were placed in overcrowding quarantine facilities in its jurisdictions deprived of organized testing and mandatory mitigation measures. It attracted swift testy responses in return, some were simply divisive along the tribal lines. To categorically attack a section of people or a tribe or a district should be resented by all. However, given the situation, this is an extremely emotional time for many and such reactions can’t be ruled out entirely though uncalled for.
Meanwhile, citizens of Dimapur and Kohima do have every right to be concern over the said issue and therefore take necessary steps within their power to take stock of the situation before it transpires into a disastrous health crisis as their lives matter too as all lives are. This is not to deny our age-old Naga hospitality toward our own in a time such as this. In fact, Dimapur is the commercial hub (the gateway city) and Kohima the capital city (the mirror of Nagaland), they are homes to all Naga communities in Nagaland where there are more health facilities and health professionals than anywhere else in the state. So, from this line of thought, it makes perfect sense for the two districts to bear the lion’s share of the responsibility by providing all possible assistance such as testing, quarantine facilities, and healthy food, etc. to all returnees before they could be sent to their respective districts. Not to mention how overwhelming an ordeal it could become to practically carry out a task of this magnitude though. The government is required to lead with vigor and positivity- implement clear effective planning and strategies in coordination with health professionals and the stake holders.
The ill-advised decision taken to send the returnees from Kohima to Tuensang on that fateful night before test results were out is seen as the epitome of government discrimination and negligence by the general public at this point. That should have never happened in the first place. The barrage of grievances from various corners being meted out against the government for the decision is justifiable and befitting. While the motive behind this decision is still obscure, it has let the people down. They are angry, hurting, and they deserve answers.
We cannot allow any form of discrimination based on tribalistic bigotry now or in the future to further divide the Naga brotherhood. And to remain silent in the face of injustice and oppression or to allow such misconducts to getaway unchecked would do a great disservice to ourselves and could adversely affect the outcome of the fight against the contagion.
As citizens, though we owe our allegiance to the state, it is still incumbent on each of us to exercise our rights and liberty to express themselves, to stand up to the establishment, and hold them to the highest moral and ethical standards. They are themselves obliged to be the essence of good deportment and exemplary characters.
According to William J. Bennet, the yardstick used to measure a man’s maturity is responsibility. Being responsible is to be answerable or to be accountable which is indicative of maturity. The party responsible for this condemnable act would look better to own up without further ado, apply appropriate actions to resolve the issue, and refocus their efforts on the task at hand.
With that said, the time is here for all of us to act responsibly for ourselves, for our families, and for our Nagaland. The truth is that the government can only do so much to keep the populace safe if we fail to share responsibility. Without cooperation from its citizens, the government’s best efforts are doomed to fail. It was an immature Adam in the garden who blamed an immature Eve for his sin who then blamed the beguiling serpent for her sin. The blame game won’t work now, it didn’t then. The situation demands we all become team players by acceptance of responsibility. Wherever we are, or under what circumstances we may be in, mature people take responsibility for themselves; they are answerable, accountable for their actions whereas irresponsible persons are immature people with very weak or no sense of responsibility at all.
As mature citizens, the responsibility rests on each of us to be committed to maintaining the preventive guidelines, the mitigation strategies provided by our health professionals. And those of us in the comfort of our homes, even as we pray for God’s deliverance from the pandemic that continues to cause catastrophic loss of human lives and resources across the world, let us find meaningful and practical ways, in coordination with the authority, to extend our love and support to the vulnerable ones amongst us, the returnees, health professionals and everyone else risking their own lives to keep us safe.
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