Post Mortem

Enough of witch hunt on wedding photo: GPRN/NSCN

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/14/2019 11:22:26 AM IST

 A normal Naga boy gets his first gun, albeit a toy gun, at a tender age of two years. Upon his admission to nursery school, the first artwork is to attempt drawing a gun with his pencil. As the years run their course the boy eventually accumulates an arsenal of toy weapons of all shapes and sizes at home. As a teenager and adult, every single Naga worth his salt dreams of holding a real automatic or semi-automatic weapon even for a photograph. The thrill of holding a gleaming real weapon, although momentarily, in hand for the first time fills one with pride.

The social media in Nagaland, print and electronic media in India have taken the news reporting to a new high or rather low. Here is a curious case of a young groom and his bride. The young man’s father is a respected Naga leader, holding a red category identity card, (meaning entitlement of two weapons for personal safety). The groom, on his wedding day, after all the guests had left, overcame by boyhood emotion and thrill of wanting to hold a real weapon on his most significant day, requested his father’s security guards to let him and his ladylove click photos with permitted weapons. They took photos in a private space with few family members around. Somehow the photo got forwarded to What’s App and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The social media in Nagaland went berserk. The Indian media smelled blood as the viral photo of the newly married couple posing with automatic weapons created a storm. Indian TV channels finally realised there was life in Nagaland! 

 Recently a huge chunk of Dimapur city was devastated by flood and thousands were rendered homeless. Where were social media warriors, mainland print and electronic media? Now a single harmless wedding photo has been abused and criminalised as though the bride and the groom have brought down another World Trade centre or the most elusive dreaded terrorist couple were caught in a wedding dress with assault rifles!

Indian judiciary and legal system seems to have caught up with the young couple. A witch hunt has been set into motion. GPRN/NSCN in the next few days can also produce thousands of pictures of non-national workers Nagas, ranging from ten years to seventy years both men and women, who have proudly posed with exact or more lethal weapons than the ones used by the bride and the groom. Will the authorities go after everyone who have posed with weapons and prosecute them in equal manner, book them and seize the weapons? Hundreds of weapons of various shapes and calibres are hand held, clicked and uploaded onto social media daily in Nagaland and other parts, how many have been arrested thus far? The point is, none of these men and women intended or intend to unleash terror in Nagaland or elsewhere. Toy guns and Naga children, aided by revolutionary movement, have been natural friends and law should not interpret a wedding day photo with guns, admittedly an error of judgement, into a crime against Indian state.

GPRN/NSCN believes that law must exist to protect citizens. It should not demonise and brand spontaneous wedding photos as terrorist acts. 

Yes, guns and Nagas have been synonymous for seven decades. It is exactly for this reason that GOI and Nagas are trying to find a solution to Indo-Naga political problem. Gun culture became necessary because Nagas had to defend their land against forceful occupation. Spear, machete were our early weapons and our culture but Nagas had to upgrade themselves to arms because primitive weapons could not help us defend our land. Gun culture must end, and as the Governor rightly stated, “it is unacceptable” the GPRN/NSCN and the Naga people do agree that  honorable and acceptable political solution to Indo-Naga political problem will certainly end gun culture the moment long awaited solution is arrived.

MIP, GPRN/NSCN

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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