Tuensang fiasco forgiven, not forgotten: ENPO on govt apology

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JUL 10 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/10/2020 12:47:04 PM IST

Will not remain passive in future if injustice is meted out the people of Eastern Nagaland

Two days after Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) minister S Pangnyu Phom tendered an apology on behalf of the State government and the H&FW department for the May 26 Tuensang incident, Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) accepted the apology but said that the incident might be forgiven but “cannot be forgotten in any manner”.

A joint consultative meeting of ENPO with six tribal bodies and frontal organisations here on July 7 unanimously resolved to forgive the government over Tuensang fiasco, but provided the public apology was tendered through the media within three days.

Addressing the media after a meeting at the residence of ENPO treasurer PFK Tochu here on Friday, organisation’s president T Kekongchim said ENPO took the decision to forgive as the Christians always talked and preached about forgiveness, adding they chose to practice what they preached. “Rest of the Nagas call ENPO members as backward, but backwardness does not mean that we are uncivilized. We may be economically and socially backward, but we are not uncivilized,” he asserted. 

“There was discrimination on the people of Eastern Nagaland right from the day of attainment of statehood. We have been watching and speaking on behalf of the people of Eastern Nagaland. We don’t get our rightful share. We need to get them through confrontation only, and this has been continuing till date,” he lamented.

Reacting to comments from certain quarters that ENPO choosing to forgive the government was a sign of weakness, Kekongchim asked “If we are to continue fighting among ourselves without the sense of forgiveness, where do you expect humanity to exist?”

The ENPO president, however, warned the government not to expect forgiveness in the future, saying things would be different then.

“After the incident, we visited every district headquarters but were not satisfied after seeing the condition of the hospitals and management. So even before the Tuensang incident occurred, we apprised the government to send adequate medical equipment and manpower, to which they assured of looking into the matter,” he claimed.

Asserting that ENPO would be watching the government’s response to complaints regarding shortage of manpower and other medical facilities, Kekongchim said if facilities and services were not made available in the ENPO area, it would pursue them.

“A written application was given before the incident on the installation of BSL-2 lab, but there was no positive response from the government. 

However, after the Tuensang incident, the government surprisingly came up with an idea to install the lab in Tuensang,” he said, adding that its construction was currently underway.

Meanwhile, one ENPO office-bearer remarked that the decision to forgive and putting the issue to rest was not taken up by organisation alone, but was unanimously decided by the six tribal bodies and frontal organisations based on the repeated appeals made by the government, besides the government’s apology that appeared in local dailies on July 9 and chief minister Neiphiu Rio’s appeal for forgiveness.

Other ENPO leaders present at the press briefing included its vice-president, general secretary, finance secretary, secretaries, information secretary, assistant information secretary and treasurer. 

Later, in a joint statement, ENPO president  Kekongchim and general secretary Manlang Phom said that “ENPO will not remain passive in the future if such occurrences of irresponsibility that is discriminatory in nature and injustice is meted out to the people of Eastern Nagaland.”

ENPO  reminded the government that it will leave no stone unturned to safeguard the rights of the people. “The ENPO has always advocated peaceful co-operation with the State Government and would continue to do so for the larger interest of the people,” they added.


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