Protests against Covid SOPs, vaccination etc. a damp squib

Protests against Covid SOPs, vaccination etc. a damp squib
(L) Participants carrying placards during the rally in Kohima and (R) one of the organizing member addressing the rally in Ch├╝moukedima on Saturday.
Correspondent/Staff Reporter KOHIMA/DIMAPUR, JUL 24 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/24/2021 1:28:33 PM IST

Hundreds of people mostly members of some independent local church and social activists at Kohima and Dimapur, Saturday joined people across the world and India on world “Freedom Rally” against Covid restrictions, mandatory vaccination, mask mandate and Covid testing.

The ‘Freedom Rally” was called by Awaken India Movement (AIM), for protests in multiple cities across India in solidarity with those around the world.

In Kohima, around 200 people took part at the rally. Although the protestors were unable to complete the planned rally, leaders leading the rally expressed satisfaction that their mission was accomplished. Initially, the rally in Kohima was proposed to start from Kohima town to Billy Graham road. However, the participants were stopped short by the district administration at TCP gate. Earlier, in response to written request for permission to hold the rally from AIM representatives in Kohima, the deputy commissioner had turned it down.

A memorandum was submitted to the chief secretary through DC Kohima, by Rev. Azahto Naga of New Life church, Rev. Kevisede Kire of Soul Harvest Church of the Living God and 133 others listing their demands. (Memo on p-6)

DIMAPUR: Meanwhile, a planned protest rally by leaders of some church and social activists was cut short by the district administration when organisers made a bid to hold it at Chümoukedima Second Gate. The administration dispersed those who had gathered for the rally as no permission was granted and also flouting SOPs.

 A member of the organising committee told this Reporter that a letter requesting permission was sent to the office of the EAC Chümoukedima. However, EAC Chümoukedima, Seyiekhrietuo Solo informed that the applicants were asked to meet DC Dimapur first. He said they did not reply and so permission could not be granted for holding the rally. 

 At the venue, administration officials however allowed the protestors to hold mass prayer, after which officials several times, requested them to disperse. 

While Solo admitted that peaceful and democratic protest was a fundamental right of every citizen, this also came with reasonable restrictions. “One needs prior permission from the concerned authority to hold any protest,” Solo added. 

One of the organisers told this Reporter that the rally was to protest against mandatory lockdown and restrictions, mandatory vaccination, wearing of masks and covid testing and discrimination based on vaccination. 

However, another member’s take was different. He said that the purpose of the peace rally was not to protest against anything, but to gather and pray for the state and for the authority.

Some of the placards that rallyists held read “High court directed ramping up of covid testing and not ramp up mandatory vaccination”; “Mandatory vaccination is tyranny”; “No more lockdowns. It has brought poverty and hunger”; “Vaccinating cannot guarantee safety of one’s life” and “WHO says masks are not for healthy people” etc.


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