10-hour Nagaland bandh total and peaceful

10-hour Nagaland bandh total and peaceful
(L-R) An aerial view of Dimapur’s Clock Tower area during the bandh. (Zuchanthung Ezung) and Razhu point, Kohima wears a deserted look on Monday. (NP)
Staff Reporter/Correspondents DIMAPUR/KOHIMA/MOKOKCHUNG/MON/LONGLENG/KIPHIRE, FEB 11 (NPN) | Publish Date: 2/11/2019 11:26:43 AM IST

The 10-hour bandh, called by Naga civil society organizations (CSOs) under the banner of Nagaland GBs Federation (NGBF) to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 and demand early solution to Naga political issue, threw normal life out of gear across Nagaland Monday as educational institutions were closed down, business activities came to a standstill, vehicles remained off the roads and people stayed indoors during the bandh that began at 6am and ended at 4pm. In ENPO areas bandh was imposed from 6 a.m. to 12 noon.

The bandh, however, went off peacefully with no untoward incidents reported from any parts of the state. The bandh particularly in Dimapur and Kohima was voluntarily observed by the general public as there were no volunteers seen enforcing the bandh. 

In Dimapur, there was some movement of traffic as commuters were given more leeway unlike in the past. Also, GBs wearing their trademark waistcoat manned several strategic locations to monitor peaceful passage of the bandh.

NGBF president, Shahlem Konyak, told Nagaland Post that the primary purpose of the bandh was to provide civil society groups a platform where they could unite and demand for an early solution to the protracted Naga political issue while also opposing the CAB. 

He said that while the bandh was called to oppose the contentious Bill, solution to the Naga issue was of paramount importance.  Konyak said NGBF in cohort and in one accord with several civil societies in the state have opposed the CAB. 

NGBF general secretary, Shikuto Zalipu also reiterated NGBF’s stand on early solution to the “Indo-Naga” political issue. On CAB that has sparked agitations throughout the Northeast, he said, “The CAB cannot be applied to the Nagas under any condition. After the unanimous opposition against the Bill, the ball is now in the court of the central government.”

Dimapur District GB Association (DDGBA) president, Khehovi told Nagaland Post that NGBF and its district units have made a concerted effort to ensure that the bandh was peaceful.  

Calling for ‘Solution before Election,’ Khehovi stated that in the past the idea for ‘Solution for Election’ had not yielded the desired result and therefore the NGBF has emphasized on solution before election this time around. 

Further, DDGBA president urged the Government of India to expedite the peace process with the eight NNPGs that it was currently negotiating with, in the interest of Nagas. 

He told Nagaland Post that NGBF and civil society groups will await the response from the Government of India, and in case of a delay or unsatisfactory response, the NGBF with all civil society organizations would convene a consultative meeting where they would chalk out future course of action. 

Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) president, T Bangerloba, who also spoke to Nagaland Post, stated that the council was pleased with the initiative taken up by NGBF and extended full support to the bandh. 

Expressing strong resentment to the Bill, he said NCD has reached out various hohos and organizations to unitedly oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Bangerloba also revealed that the NCD has formed a committee to check influx of illegal immigrants and also deliberated on CAB.  

Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) general secretary, Imtiyapang Imsong, also informed this reporter that its president, Christopher Ltu with a delegation representing Nagaland, has left for New Delhi along with Northeast Students’ Organization (NESO) on Sunday to meet the central leadership and to lobby against the Bill. Imsong said the NSF extends its solidarity to NGBF and hoped that the bill will not be cleared in the Rajya Sabha. He, however, cautioned that the federation would continue to raise objection in case the government did not listen to them.

Nagaland Post also visited various places to take stock of the bandh. It was almost business as usual at the railway station with long distance trains arriving or moving out of the station at regular intervals. However, as in the past, travellers to Kohima had to bid their time at the station to wait for taxis.  Two such traveller who arrived on the Shatabdi Express from Guwahati and were stranded due to the bandh, told Nagaland Post that they had to patiently wait for the bandh to be called off by 4 p.m. before they find a cab to Kohima.  It was also business as usual at the airport as travellers arrived to the airport waiting for their flight. 

Kohima: Citizens in Kohima wholeheartedly responded to the bandh as entire town and road wore deserted look with citizens choosing to remain indoors throughout the 10 hour bandh.

Speaking to Nagaland Post, NTC member Theja Therieh said the bandh was one of its kind which was observed without volunteers enforcing the bandh. He said the response received from all the districts was massive. Therieh said the successful bandh across the state was an indication that Nagas understood the two issues, adding that both central government and state government should get the clear picture of the people’s sentiments.

Therieh said wider consultations and opinion of all the organizations involved would be held for further action. 

Kohima district GB Association Vineipra Pienyü, said other north eastern states launched massive protest quite early and were still continuing and therefore Nagaland should also work along with the other NE states keeping in mind the negative impact once the bill was passed in Rajya Sabha.

Mokokchung: The bandh call spearheaded by NGBF and other civil society groups was also observed in Mokokchung without any untoward incident being reported. 

All government offices, educational institutions and business establishments remained closed during the bandh while pedestrian and vehicular movements were restricted. 

The town wore a deserted look as shops downed their shutters and citizens preferred to stay indoors. Volunteers and bandh enforcers were stationed at various important junctions of the town like Sewak Gate, Indian Oil junction, Town Square (police point) and at BOC Sungkomen ward to enforce the bandh. The bandh was enforced and supported by all the civil societies of Mokokchung. 

Meanwhile, the NPF Mokokchung division also joined in enforcing the bandh as volunteers as per the directives issued by NPF central. The divisional office bearers led by its president Moasangba Jamir and his colleagues volunteered supporting the bandh. Also in presence was Apong Pongener, working president NPF Central.  

MON: In Mon district headquarters, the called by the ENPO and NGBF against the CAB affected the normal life. The otherwise busy daily bazaar wore deserted look. Very few people were seen crossing the road in some parts of the town. Vehicles remained off the road while all shops, institutions and offices were closed.

Though the bandh called by the ENPO lasted till 12 noon, the bandh called by the NGBF continued and lasted till 4pm. No untoward incident was reported till the time of filing this report.

LONGLENG: A total bandh against the proposed CAB was successfully observed in Longleng district today. Spearheaded by Longleng District GB Association (LDGBA) and Phom People’s Council (PPC), the bandh was observed from 6am to 12 noon following ENPO directive to observe bandh for only six hours in all ENPO jurisdiction in view of the ensuing HSLC & HSSLC examinations.

During the six-hour bandh, all the government offices, bank and educational institution were closed and commercial activities remained suspended. 

Pedestrian and vehicular movement were also totally restricted besides those exempted form the purview of the bandh. Several GBs and other bandh volunteers were deployed at various locations of the town.

Police, IRB and officials from District administration were deployed at various places of the town to thwart any untoward incidents during the bandh.

KIPHIRE: Along with the rest of the state, Kiphire observed six-hour bandh from 6 am to 12 noon opposing the CAB 2016. As per ENPO directive, the bandh was initiated by United Sangtam Likhum Pumji (USLP) and GBs in Kiphire. All educational institutions and business establishments were closed. Roads in Kiphire town also wore deserted look with no vehicular movement.

In Pungro, the bandh was observed under the aegis of Pungro Sub-Division GB’s Union. Bandh enforced from 6:00am-12:00noon. 

In a press release, Pungro GB union president T Musumong Yimchungrü said the union opposed any move that put future of Nagas at stake. 

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