Post Mortem

GNF writes to CM on Gov’s order

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/10/2021 12:29:28 PM IST

 We are writing with reference to the news report of February 6: “Naga gov orders action against ‘seditious’ babus” (Manoj Anand, Guwahati).

Because of your pre-eminent position as current and longtime Chief Minister of Nagaland, as well as MP, you know better than any Naga the extra ordinary historical moment we are at in the Naga people’s relations with India. We are all concerned about the fate of the ongoing peace negotiation between the GoI and NPGs. And we are equally concerned that while the peace negotiations have been in progress for more than two decades, one of the parties of the negotiations, Naga people, have lived and are still living under Indian military law (AFSPA) since 1958. No government or people on earth in the 21st century can make light of this strange fact. 

We know, Sir, that you are in a position to know the nuances and undercurrents of the fraught politics better than we do. But we hope you will welcome hearing from the Naga public. From our perspective, the Indo-Naga relationship has reached a dangerously volatile point specifically because of Governor R. N. Ravi’s extremely divisive and provocative manner of running the office of the Governor of Nagaland State, not to talk of his role as Interlocutor of the peace talks. We are referring especially to Governor Ravi’s two recent orders against Naga Govt employees which violate their rights to personal privacy and freedom of speech: a) Order requiring state government employees to provide the list of their relatives who may be connected to NPGs; b) Order to initiate action against state government employees for “sedition” against India for asserting the right of the Naga people to political self-determination. 

As a Naga group whose members are drawn from a diverse range of professions and age groups living in the Naga homelands, India, and around the world, the Global Naga Forum would like to draw your kind attention to and remedy for employees of your government on these counts. We see the present scenario of the Indo-Naga relations and Governor Ravi’s autocratic role in it this way. A country takes over control of a free people, and having created a political system where the people have hardly any other way to make a living except by working for the government, turns around to punish and prosecute its employees for “sedition” against the Indian government for saying that Nagas have a right to self-determination, while the same government imposes military laws on the people with whom it engages in peace negotiations. In addition, the Interlocutor between the government and the Nagas, who is also the Governor of Nagaland State, orders the prosecution of the employees for sedition against India, and has made dividing the Nagas his main role as governor, because he is a functionary of the Government of India. 

One has to ask in all fairness: Who is supposed to run the state government? Elected Representatives or the titular head of state, the governor?  And if the Governor goes steroids on Art 371 (A), as he clearly has, we wonder if the same Article cannot be used to remedy the problem, since Nagas too can invoke it in favor of customary laws? It should be possible for the local tribe on which the governor’s residence stands to enforce its traditional customs on the offending governor. 

In short, we appeal to your good offices to put an end to the governor’s undemocratic, extremely authoritarian orders against Naga employees who are not committing any punishable crime for exercising their right to speak truth to power, without advocating any violence, by asserting the Naga people’s basic right of political self-determination. It will be instructive for the governor to be reminded that the Indo-Naga political problem is yet to be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides, and he, R.N. Ravi, is still the interlocutor and therefore the facilitator of the negotiations. In this context, for the Interlocutor and Governor to charge state employees with sedition for expressing their views in democratic avenues, peacefully, is a public provocation on his part. He is adding insult to injury, and thereby inciting discord and societal breakdown in the state. Who would want President’s Rule in Nagaland at this time? Over and above, we are amazed as to why the Governor should mark Dr Inato Jimomi alone among thousands of Govt employees who are equally vocal towards Nagas inherent political rights? We fervently appeal your competent authority and the state cabinet not to initiate disciplinary actions on Govt employees on the basis of Governor’s version of sedition, whilst we are in this crucial stage of finding a final solution for peace.    

We thank you for your time and work for the common good of our people. You have our best wishes.

Dr Visier Sanyu, K. Elu Ndang, T N Manen,Vichutuolie Mere, Abeiu Meru, Rev G. Khing, Prof Rosemary Dzuvichu, Rev Azahto, Khesheli Chishi, Chuba Ozukum and Ninoto Awomi

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