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NSF ultimatum on NPSC scam

NSF takes out a silent protest march in Kohima, Wednesday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUN 10 (NPN):
Published on 11 Jun. 2009 12:47 AM IST
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The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) on Wednesday held a silent protest march in Kohima expressing dismay over the investigation process into the NPSC answer script swapping case and submitted an ultimatum to the state government even as the latter described it as “unfortunate” saying that the procession was carried out despite appeal and explanation already given in response to their demands. The state government also temporarily turned down some demands of the NSF as conceding to the same would tantamount to setting aside the investigation agency and infringe the constitutional rights of those accused in the scam. Around 5000 students gathered outside the NSF office and marched to the state chief minister’s official residence holding banners some of which read, “We demand total implementation of the High Powered Committee recommendation on NPSC”, “We demand just and fair conduct in NPSC” and “We invoke the conscience of those parents whose children were involved to own moral responsibility.” The NSF said it was compelled to serve the ultimatum addressed to the state chief minister as enough time had been given to the government to address the current NPSC scandal in a befitting manner. It was however learnt that the chief minister was out of station and the ultimatum was handed over to commissioner and secretary to CM, L. Kire. The NSF set June 30 midnight as the deadline to fulfill its charter of demands earlier served and threatened to resort to agitation if their demands were not met within the stipulated time. The students said they would not be held responsible for any eventuality that might arise out of the non-fulfillment of their demands. The NSF ultimatum signed by its president, Mutsikhoyo Yhobu and general secretary, O. Wati Jamir reminded of the Exigency Representation submitted to the chief minister on May 25 that only 10 days would be given to the government for prompt action against those NPSC officials who were involved in tampering the answer script. The Federation pointed out that no prompt initiation and actions were forthcoming from the government even after lapse of four months since the answer script swapping case surfaced. It stated that the official response from the state chief secretary on June 3 was “only an eye wash and apparently vague which does not fulfill the demands of the federation in any manner.” The apex Naga students’ body said that the competent authority seemed to be dealing with the matter “lackadaisically” given the fact that the nature of the case of such magnitude required speedy investigation and disposal. The NSF said it was discouraging to see that the whole process of investigation appeared to have been stuck somewhere without any further progress. The students’ body said it “senses some fishy things happening in this process as some of the sons and daughters of influential public leaders who are at the helm of affairs and high ranking government officials are also involved in the present scandal.” The NSF was pessimistic about any outcome out of the present initiative and said the tempo of inquiry would remain static unless an independent judicial inquiry commission was constituted to look into the matter. Stroking the conscience of the parents of the culprits who it said were none other than the “so called entire Naga social status,” the NSF appealed them to own moral responsibility for the actions of their sons and daughters. The NSF especially impelled those responsible leaders at the helms of affairs to voluntarily relinquish from their government assignments so as to ensure judicious dispensation of the scandal. The NSF expressed sincere gratitude to all federating units, subordinate units, principals of schools and colleges and the students for their participation in the silent protest march. Government replies Responding to the NSF, the state government said it could not undertake necessary replies in respect of the three issues raised by them as it did not receive their representation. Commissioner & secretary, Temjen Toy in a statement said the government received the representation only on Tuesday during a meeting with the NSF where the points raised were elaborately explained to them. As per the explanation given to the NSF during the meeting, the state government reiterated that instituting an independent judicial committee to probe into the answer script swapping case and also the lecturers recruitment examinations, 2008 would not be conducive at the moment as investigation into the case has already been initiated by the Police and would tantamount to setting aside the investigation already. Toy said the same was elaborately explained in the chief secretary’s letter to the NSF. He however said that the issue of a judicial inquiry could be considered if, at a later stage, it is felt that the police investigation was not able to establish the facts of the case. The commissioner & secretary also said that the issue of termination from service of the two NPSC officials involved in the case could be decided only after the final verdict was pronounced by the Court or by a departmental inquiry which would be conducted by the Commission after the seized questioned documents were being released to the Commission by the investigating agency. It said any punitive actions taken against the two officials without awaiting the conclusion of the mentioned exercises would be prejudiced, infringing their constitutional rights which would not stand legal scrutiny and be to their (two officials) advantage. With regard to the revamping of the NPSC as demanded by the NSF, the state government said that has been carried out to a considerable extent as per the recommendation of the High Power Committee: (a) The NPSC (Chairman, Members & Staff) Regulations, 2008 dt. 28-02-2008. (b) The NPSC (State Civil & Other Services), Recruitment Rules, 2008 dt. 28-02-2008. The commissioner and secretary said that the government had also sanctioned the creation of one post each of programmer and computer operator to strengthen the examination section of the NPSC. Lamenting the NSF’s action in carrying out the silent protest march despite the explanation given, the state government has appealed the students to desist from any course of action which might vitiate the atmosphere or create difficulties in the functioning of the NPSC. It said the government instead sought the co-operation of the NSF in order to speedily and effectively dispose the case at hand.

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