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Wed, 20 Feb 2019

Northeast Today

2015: Nagaland Witnessed a Tortuous Year Mired with Political Upheaval

2015: Nagaland Witnessed a Tortuous Year Mired with Political Upheaval
December 31
15:10 2015

Nagaland witnessed a tortuous year mired with political upheaval; a horrific crime that the whole world took note of, widespread protest against nonpayment of salaries, backdoor appointments, ceasefire abrogation and the signing of a Framework Agreement which may change the course of the Naga political history. Here are the highlights of some of the important events that unfolded.

THE NPF CONUNDRUM: Right after New Year’s Eve, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) kicked up a political storm after the TR Zeliang ministry faced open upheaval with 22 NPF MLAs demanding change of leadership on January 5. This led to sacking of four cabinet ministers and nine parliamentary secretaries.

The dissent also forced Zeliang to move for trust vote in the assembly on February 5 wherein all the elected members, including the BJP and the opposition Congress, voted in favour of his leadership. Months later, with the 8 legislatures of Congress joining the NPF in November, Nagaland assembly formally became an opposition-less government.

This may not necessarily be good news as demonstrated by the 30 minute winter session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly held on December 14-despite a number of urgent and pressing issues waiting to be tabled, discussed or resolved.

MARCH 5 MOB LYNCHING: In one of the most horrific incident to haunt Dimapur, on March 5, one Syed Farid Khan detained at Dimapur Central Jail under suspicion of rape was dragged out, paraded naked and lynched by a mob of thousands in a case of vigilante justice.

Disturbing images of the incident were widely circulated in the social media which was quickly picked up by the print and visual media. The incident brought widespread censure and put Dimapur under the radar of the whole world. Following the incident, Nagaland government, in damage control mode, restricted telecom services in the region. Internet was blocked for 48 hours in the state. SMS and MMS services were also blocked. Three government officials were suspended and Nagaland government recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry. Several issues were also highlighted in the process – crime against women, issues of illegal migrants, need for effective judiciary and preserving the interest of the local community.

NONPAYMENT OF SALARIES: Year 2015 will also be remembered as a year of agitation against the Nagaland State government for nonpayment of salaries. Those in the teaching profession suffered the most. Protest began with the All Nagaland Aggrieved Hindi Teachers Association (ANAHTA) launching agitation on February by boycotting classes in protest against non-payment of their salary for more than six months.

The apathy of the State government was harshly apparent as the aggrieved Hindi teachers were still demanding salary even in November. Throughout the year, employees under a number of State government departments and centrally sponsored programmes namely the Nagaland RMSA teachers, Nagaland SSA teachers, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA), etc voiced protest against the State government for leaving them on the lurch by depriving them of their salaries.

MOVEMENT AGAINST BACKDOOR APPOINTMENTS: In its relentless fight against corruption and backdoor appointment- endemic in Nagaland State government departments, Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on corruption on public employment at Guahati High Court.

ACAUT said the PIL was necessitated as the Government of Nagaland failed to take appropriate action despite the series of backdoor appointment exposés starting with RD department in the month of June 2015. Seven departments – Rural Development, State Council of Educational Research &Training (SCERT), Health & Family Welfare, Higher Education, Social Welfare, Roads & Bridges (NPWD) and Home – have been made respondents. Also, the Department of Law and Justice and NPSC have been made respondents too. Besides ACAUT, other organizations also alleged backdoors appointments in the Nagaland Public Service Commission, Office of Commissioner of Taxes, Agriculture Department and the Home Department.

20 PIL AGAINST HEALTH DEPARTMENT: The pitiable health-care services in Nagaland manifested with the filing of 20 PIL by Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Nagaland Chapter on issues relating to the status of women’s reproductive health in Nagaland, registrations on births and deaths, Nagaland government’s failure to provide basic health facilities in districts and villages, misappropriation of over Rs 62 crores in the health sector under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP: All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) launched protest demanding the release of pending scholarship for 3615 students under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Post Matric Scholarship for ST Students (PMSSTS) and 7217 eligible students under State Merit Scholarship & Research Scholarship for the year 2014-15.

The fate of some 150 Naga students studying at Diva Jyoti Group of Institutions (DIGI), Modinagar, UP were put in serious jeopardy after the institute refused to allow the students to continue their studies due to non payment of fees. Eastern Naga Students’ Union Dimapur (ENSUD), who initiated the free education scheme for the students, said the fees were to be paid by the Nagaland State government in scholarship format. The Nagaland State government shifted blame to the ENSUD. A committee has been constituted to inquire unto the issue.

NSF PROTEST AGAINST DAA, AFSPA: Naga Students Federation on July 23 protested the imposition of Disturbed Area Act (DAA), Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the state and the killing of two children at Wuzu village by security forces. The protest was attended by thousands and supported by various other civil societies. But the act is still in force.

ABROGATION OF CEASEFIRE: In a setback to the Naga peace process, the NSCN (K) abrogated a 14-year old ceasefire with the Government of India on March 27. Following the abrogation, eight Assam Rifles troopers were killed in Mon district of Nagaland, and another 20 soldiers of the Dogra regiment unit in Chandel, Manipur. It also led to the birth of a new faction NSCN-Reformation by expelled senior NSCN-K leaders P Tikhak and Wangtin Naga. The GoI announced a bounty on information leading to the capture of SS Khaplang and its military commander Niki Sumi.

FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: After almost 18 years of political negotiations a Framework Agreement was signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on August 3, 2015. The NSCN (IM) said the framework agreement would work as a preamble based on which a solution to the uniqueness of the Naga history and political rights would be reached.

NSCN (IM) general secretary Th Muivah said the framework agreement has been concluded basing on the unique history and position of the Nagas and recognising the universal principle that in a democracy, sovereignty lies with the people. Interlocutor of the Government of India to Naga peace talks RN Ravi and the NSCN (IM) held several round of talks with the Naga civil society organizations after the signing of the framework agreement.

With the contents of agreement not made available, the Naga civil society groups has asked for their disclosure for further deliberation before any final settlement is arrived at. There were also protest registered from the Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam government fearing the agreement would affect the boundary of their states. Question on the inclusiveness of all the Naga political groups also emerged as a point of deliberation for the Framework Agreement to see reality.

JAPAN-NAGALAND RECONCILE AFTER 70 YEARS: Reconciliation between Japanese and Naga Christians for the atrocities caused to one another during the World War II marked the 11th month in the state capital. Seventy-one years on, the two communities came together to seek forgiveness from one another in a true Christian spirit, closing the wounds of the War in the hope to bring healing to the people of both the countries and to develop friendship through evangelism.

-Morung Express


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