The call for state-wide shutdown drew flak from several Naga organisations and NPAC consequently had to defer the same
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
Nagaland People’s Action Committee’s (NPAC) proposed six-hour state-wide bandh on January 14 has been called off after drawing flak from several tribal organisations in the state.
The decision to call off the shutdown was taken at an emergency meeting of the NPAC on Friday night held at Hotel Saramati, Dimapur.
A statement issued by NPAC however said that in the absence of a regular common platform for the communities and tribes in Nagaland, it always remained a setback when common interests are to be pursued collectively and the same predicament was faced when the people of Nagaland had to actively pursue and facilitate the political negotiation between the government of India (GoI) and the Nagas.
In view of the inordinate delay of the political solution, the tribal bodies and civil society organisations (CSOs) numbering 72 organizations under the initiative of Nagaland Gaon Buras Federation (NGBF) converged on June 21 last year at Hotel Saramati, Dimapur, and resolved to form the Nagaland People’s Action Committee (NPAC), stated NPAC.
The committee comprised of limited members headed by Theja Therieh as convener and it was empowered to take collective decision to urge the negotiating parties to expedite its logical conclusion, said NPCA adding that the “life of NPAC” is co-terminus with the closer of political negotiations whether “success or failure”.
NPAC said during the last 25 years of continuous negotiations between the two entities, the NGOs, CSOs, and the tribal bodies submitted several representations and memorandums particularly to the Prime Minister of India, urging to resolve the Naga political issue without further delay. The public in Nagaland had also observed bandhs and public rallies against the delay of the decision but the political solution remains elusive even in its 26 years of political talks, asserted NPAC.
The committee went on to add that in the light of the background, the decision to call for a state-wide shutdown was taken. It also recalled that the press statement of the 14 tribes published on January 11 reiterating and reaffirming their existing resolution of urging the government of India (GoI) to settle the Naga political issue without delay confirmed the public opinion for the negotiators to understand the sentiments of the Nagas to not further resort to any other alternative.
NPAC also added that it received an official written note from the CNTC, jointly issued by president T Lanu Imchen and secretary general C Onen Walling, appealing to defer the proposed January 14 bandh stating that a meeting of eight Naga tribes is being convened on January 17 to deliberate on the same issue.
NPAC stated that since the CNTC has been the backbone, the committee needed to give credence to its advice and confidently shifted the given challenges to the tribal bodies including members of the CNTC as NPAC does not doubt about the “sincerity and commitment of its tribal leaders toward solution before election.
NPAC further said that in the hope that the tribal bodies would not fail the citizens of Nagaland, the committee has decided to defer the proposed January 14 state-wide shutdown while assuring the people that it would continue to give its “unreserved cooperation to anyone whoever is for political solution first before election”.
ECI team arrives
Meanwhile, Election Commission of India (ECI) team led by Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar, and Election Commissioners, Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel arrived in Nagaland on Friday. Later, ECI team had separate meetings with the various political parties of the state, enforcement agencies at Hotel de Oriental Grand in Kohima. The Chief Electoral Officer of Nagaland, V.Shashank Shekhar, and Nagaland police nodal officers also gave a presentation on poll preparedness during the occasion. Later, the ECI also had an interaction with the first time voters. Earlier, the Election Commission of India team was warmly welcomed by the CEO and host of senior government officials.
Tribal bodies oppose shutdown
In line with the directive issued from the office of Angami Youth Organization (AYO) and Chakhroma Youth Organization (CYO), the Sovima Village Youth Organisation (SVYO) has affirmed its stand to abstain from the proposed bandh called by the NPAC on January 14 under its village jurisdiction.
In this regard, SVYO, in a press statement has instructed all shops under its jurisdiction to remain open and informed that all business activities would function as normal times.
SVYO members have also been directed to ensure that no unwanted situation is aggravated while maintaining a peaceful atmosphere within the village jurisdiction.
Following its decision not the observe the 6-hour total shutdown called by the NPAC on January 14, and the Angami People’s Organization (APO) decision not observe the Bandh within its jurisdiction, Angami Youth Organization (AYO) on Friday has directed its ranges and constituent unit/villages to see oversee to it that sufficient volunteers are deployed in all strategic areas and to prevent untoward and violent incidents.
AYO has also informed that all business establishments and activities are allowed to operate normally and to apprehend any individuals or groups who threaten to disturb the peaceful atmosphere.
Constrained to issue the press statement against the backdrop of NPAC’s called state-wide bandh on January 14, Tenyimi Union Dimapur (TUD), through its media cell said that while welcoming any positive steps taken by any organization towards an honourable settlement of the protracted Naga political struggle, it is sceptical of the actions of some individuals and organizations.
TUD said it reaffirmed its decision taken at the consultative meeting held on June 28, 2022, to stand on the political principle of “One People, One Nation” based on the ideals of the 1951 Plebiscite, which is acceptable, honourable and inclusive of all Nagas and groups.
“Nagas are at a critical juncture now with enemies both within and outside trying to destroy the very fabric of our Naga nationhood for which our forefathers had sacrificed much”, the TUD media cell said and appealed to every right thinking Nagas to be wary of such elements.
Also mentioning that it is unbecoming of any organization (s) to call for bandh every now and then according to their “whims and fancies” which inevitably harass the common public, TUD hoped that the administration would take action and thwart such activities.
In this regard, the TUD has resolved not to participate in the said bandh and directed its members to refrain from participating in the same.
Disturbed by the decision of the Nagaland People’s Action Committee (NPAC) on calling total shutdown in the state on January 14, the Chakhesang Public Organization (CPO) on Friday has made its stand clear that it has not endorsed or authorized the NPAC for their propose 6-hours statewide bandh.
According to a press statement issued jointly by CPO’s president, Vezuhu Reyho, and general secretary, Chepetso Koza, NPAC’s decision do not have any bearing on CPO and thus the participation of CPO in the proposed bandh does not arise.
Stating that NPAC as such cannot give any directions to the apex tribal body of the Chakhesangs in any matter, the signatories also said that the celebration of the premier festival of its community-Sukhrunye is underway and in the light of it, it would neither participate nor enforce the bandh on the day within its jurisdiction.
Rengma Hoho (RH) has also said that the NPAC proposed state-wide total shutdown on January 14 shall not be imposed under Tseminyu district.
Rengma Hoho general secretary, Sinhilo Thong Seb in a press release, stated that while reiterating its stand for early settlement of the Naga political talks termed that the proposed statewide bandh without proper consultation is uncalled for.
The hoho later said that it has communicated to all its frontal organizations that the hoho has not officially endorsed any of its members to the NPAC meeting and therefore it would not participate nor impose any such bandh within its jurisdiction under Rengma area.