Archive for the ‘Nagaland’ Category

‘Corruption Almost Legalised in Nagaland’

November 15, 2010

corruptionDimapur, Nov 15 : Former Nagaland Chief Minister Dr SC Jamir has rued that corruption has become so legitimate in Nagaland that it has become an almost essential part of governance and administration.

Jamir, who also served as Governor of Goa and Maharashtra, stated this at the inaugural session of the first ever technical festival ‘Techaura 2010’ organized at the School of Engineering & Technology and Management (SETAM), Nagaland University, which concluded here recently.

Referring to the recent remark made by the State Vigilance Commissioner that ‘corruption in the State has become institutionalized’, he said the statement couldn’t be truer as corruption has indeed become a legalized institution in Nagaland.

He further voiced apprehension that if the trend of corruption which is being witnessed in almost all the functions of the State mechanism is to continue, the moral foundation which is the very basis of our societal structure will soon disintegrate.

The veteran leader reminded of the fate that society would fall into if its moral foundation decays away while citing instance of the history of the Roman Empire which collapsed because of moral degradation eventually leading to disintegration of its political, economic, religious and other social institutions.


‘Financial Package Will Not Solve The Nagaland Problem’

November 13, 2010

‘Financial package will not solve the Nagaland problem’

A decade-long ceasefire hasn’t solved anything. NSCN(K) members tell AVALOK LANGER that the Indian government has failed to broker peace because it is yet to understand the aspirations of the people

In 1980, disputes over the Shillong Accord saw Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and SS Khaplang break away from the Naga National Council, which was fighting for Naga sovereignty, to form the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN). However, the unity among the trio didn’t last for long and eight years later, the outfit spilt into two. With the real reasons for the split known only to the big three, Nagaland was divided between the factions. With neither group ready to change its name, the media dubbed them NSCN (Isak Muivah) and NSCN (Khaplang) to put an end to the confusion. Though the debate as to who is the real deal rages on, the media-assigned suffix will have to do for now.

In a frank chat at a police guesthouse on the outskirts of Dimapur, Ceasefire Supervising Board (CFSB) supervisor Wangtin Naga, secretary Kideon V Zhimomi, and Kilonsers (ministers of the NSCN(K) parallel government) C Singsong Kuki and Jack Jimomi explained the ambitions of the organisation. Excerpts from the interview:

What motivates you? Is it Naga sovereignty?
KUKI The situation in Nagaland is a case of invasion. Like the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, we were invaded by India. We are fighting for our historical sovereignty. We are fighting to bring all Nagas under one administrative umbrella. On one front, we want to consolidate all Naga-dominated areas of India (Nagaland and the Naga majority districts of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) and simultaneously, we are trying to bring the Nagas of Myanmar under this umbrella (Northern Myanmar is Naga dominated) to create a Naga homeland.

Why do you have a socialist tag in your outfit’s name? Does it have anything to do with Chinese support or communism?
The socialism we are talking about refers to the role played by the people in a traditional Naga society. Historically, the Nagas have followed a form of direct democracy where all decisions are taken collectively through a vote; the power is with the people. The ‘socialist’ in our name has nothing to do with communism; it is based on the collective decision-making of the Nagas. (Even today, decisions are taken through organisations such as the Naga Hohos and village councils).

How does your organisation generate funds?
NAGA As a government of the people, we collect taxes. We collect house tax, we tax government employees (15-25 percent of their salaries), we generally collect 2-3 percent from contractors per project, but never more than 5 percent, and of course, we receive donations. Everyone identifies with the cause. They know what we are fighting for and they have no qualms about making voluntary contributions.

I have heard many stories of extortion. Does that happen?
KUKI In a family, there is always some black sheep. Our government has not issued any such directive that allows extortion. It is done at an individual level.

Do you undertake any developmental work?
NAGA The international border with Myanmar has been arbitrarily created. It divides the Nagas and therefore the situation on either side of the border is drastically different. The Burmese Nagas are very backward; they have no water, no electricity, no government machinery to look after them. It is the NSCN(K) that looks after their welfare, their education, the church and their medical treatment. It is our soldiers who interact with them directly and look after their basic needs.

Civilian lives (From left): Jack Jimomi, Kideon Zhimomi, Wangtin Naga and Singsong Kuki

Civilian lives (From left): Jack Jimomi, Kideon Zhimomi, Wangtin Naga and Singsong Kuki


Are you able to cross into Myanmar easily?
It is an open border and we are able to move across freely (Rumour has it that the NSCN(K) controls the Naga section of Myanmar and not the Burmese government).

Many say that reconciliation between the factions is imperative. The ceasefire with India has been there for 13 years but the people are caught between warring factions.
NAGA When a husband and wife are not on good terms, it is always the children who suffer. Though the atmosphere of the 18 September meeting of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation was positive, reconciliation is only possible if the groups understand the meaning of it and realise that no one group represents the people. The Nagas have changed a lot. Today, we are aware and educated, and the people can no longer be taken for granted. Leaders need to be sincere and stop using reconciliation as a tool to gain political mileage. Reconciliation is about leaders coming together and giving up their authority to the will of the people. No one is superior or inferior. The process has to be inclusive. Otherwise, we won’t be able to move forward.

‘Factional leaders need to be sincere and stop using reconciliation as a tool to gain political mileage. No one leader is inferior or superior’

What is the best solution for the Naga issue?
KUKI Let us not talk about a solution at this juncture. The aspirations of the Nagas are well known. A solution is possible only if the Indian government is interested in understanding the heart, mind and soul of the Naga people, rather than imposing a solution on us. They need to look at the issue from up close, recognise and understand the ambitions of the Nagas before coming to the discussion table. Why can’t they discuss sovereignty? What is the big deal in discussing this? Is the Indian government so insecure? Simply offering a (financial) package is not a solution.

The movement has been out of the jungles for 10 years. As development slowly creeps into Nagaland, do you feel that your cadres will return to the forests if the ceasefire is lifted?
JIMOMI The issue of Naga identity and sovereignty predates the idea of development. If the present peace process with the Indian government fails and they lift the ceasefire, all 100 percent of the cadres won’t return to the jungle. The support is there and slowly we will grow and become even more powerful.

If you don’t mind me asking, I am sitting here in a police guesthouse talking to four underground members. How is it possible?
NAGA Well, basically right now, we are under ceasefire and being the CFSB supervisor, I have access to the guesthouse and therefore we can meet here. But, do you think that there is any real difference between us and the police? It is just that they can’t point their guns at India, but their aspirations are the same.


Naga Students Demand Prompt Restoration of Traffic Highway

November 12, 2010

landslide in NH 39 nagalandKohima, Nov 12 : The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) today expressed anguish over the delay in restoration of traffic on National Highway 39, the lifeline between Nagaland and Manipur.

In a release NSF president Mutsikhoyo Yhobu criticized the ‘poor workmanship’ of the Border Road Task Force (BRTF), an organization under the Border Roads Organization (BRO), which is responsible for the maintenance of the highway.

The highway has been closed for about four months following landslide in some portions.

It said the BRTF failed to maintain the road.

He said the people of Nagaland were patiently waiting that the damaged portion of the road at the KMC Dumping Site would be restored soonest.

TPO Asks Nagaland Govt to Free Intanki National Park

November 12, 2010

Intanki National ParkKohima, Nov 12 : The Tenyimi Peoples Organisation (TPO), an union of ten Naga tribes, has called upon the Nagaland government to get rid of Naga United (Inavi) village and all other encroachers from the Intanki National Park without delay.

In a representation to the Nagaland Forest, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife Minister signed by the TPO president Z M Sekhose and other representatives of the tribes pointed out that the Intanki national park was within the jurisdiction of the then Peren sub-division under Kohima district and now Peren has become a full-fledged district from February 11, 2004.

The action of the encroachers is highly dangerous because it has the potential of inviting tribal dis-harmony and public unrest, it pointed out.

The representation reiterated that the entire land for the Intanki National Park, measuring approximately 20,202 hectares, was freely donated by the old Beisumpui village which is a Tenyimi-inhabited village.

It is the duty of the TPO to protect and preserve every single inch of its land from unscrupulous encroachers, the representation added.

Chilli Eating Competition During Hornbill Fest in Nagaland

November 7, 2010

naga_chilliKohima, Nov 7 :  In order to promote ”Naga Chilli”, the hottest variety in the world, a raw chilli eating competition will be held during the annual Hornbill Festival here in December.

Speaking at a function here today, chief minister Neiphiu Rio said ”Naga King” chilli, also known as ”Bhut jolokia”, is a crop which could be distinctly characterized with the Nagas and the state can be the world leader in its production.

”Naga King” has been scientifically proven to be the hottest chilli in the world.

Inaugurating the new directorate building of the horticulture department here, the chief minister asked the department to identify food products that could be tagged with the Nagas.

He also emphasised the need to concentrate on a few crops in which the state has the advantage over others instead of undertaking too many crops for cultivation.

Naga Bodies Seek Release of Political Prisoners

November 4, 2010

Naga army hq dimapurDimapur, Nov 4 : The apex Naga civil bodies have resolved to request the Government of India to release all political prisoners, irrespective of Naga political group, from the custody of different agencies so as to strengthen both the entities for further political negotiations.

The decision was arrived at during a day-long closed door emergency consultative meeting of the Naga apex organisations under the aegis of the Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers Association and Naga Students’ Federation in Kohima recently.

Adopting a four-point recommendation for future reference and implementation thereof, the meeting decided to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister asking that the Centre must be more sincere and pragmatic in their approach towards bringing an honourable, beneficial and acceptable solution to the ongoing Indo-Naga political dialogue keeping in mind the Naga people’s yearning for permanent peace.

On the deferment of the proposed mass peace rally at Dimapur on October 26 owing to certain technical difficulties, the meeting strongly recommended that the said rally should be organised at the earliest in all the Naga areas based on the above cited perspectives.

It also recommended the convening of another round of consultative meeting comprising of academicians, politicians, social activists and representatives of Naga organisations to deliberate in depth over the phrase – ‘inclusiveness’ and to bring out a road map and mechanisms in the best interest of the Naga people.

The consultative meeting also strongly appealed to all Naga political groups to be realistic with regard to imposition of taxes on individuals and the business community as ‘we foresee the wrath of the people unless the pattern of tax collection is evaluated with all seriousness’.

Meanwhile, sources attending the meeting revealed that speakers representing the civil society had expressed serious concern over the imposition of ‘exorbitant taxation’ on the general public by the Naga groups while maintaining that Naga people have come to such a stage that they cannot move ahead because of the rampant and exorbitant taxation.

Moreover, the meeting is also stated to have deliberated on the prolonged ceasefire without results between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM and NSCN-K. The representatives reportedly voiced the need for all groups and Naga people to come together in order to carry forward the peace process with the Centre.

Ruling NPF Opposes Continuation of AFSPA in Nagaland

November 4, 2010

Kohima, Nov 4 : The ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) today took exception to the Centre’s decision to continue the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland for another eight months.

The regional party alleged that the Central government had chosen to turn a blind eye to peace prevailing in the state and extended the tag of disturbed area and AFSPA for eight months.

Terming AFSPA as a ”draconian law”, NPF advisor Ato Yepthomi said the extension of such measures was uncalled for when Naga underground factions were in ceasefire with the Centre.

Moreover, peace and re-conciliation process was proceeding, he said.

“This is nothing more than rubbing salt to injuries of the Nagas who in recent times are recovering from bitter fratricidal killings,” he said in a statement here.
AFSPA Nagaland

Nagas Should Be Grateful to Bengalis: Rio

November 1, 2010

Neiphiu Rio Nagaland CMKohima, Oct 31 : Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has said the Nagas should be grateful to Bengalis for the fact that the bengalis was instrumental in establishing the administrative system in the state during the initial period of statehood.

Delivering his inaugural speech at the Nagaland Day celebration at ICCR Auditorium in Kolkata yesterday, Mr Rio made a special mention of the invaluable services rendered to Nagaland by former Governor Shyamal Dutta.

Mr Rio also mentioned the contribution of Mr Dutta towards various developmental initiatives in the state, official sources said today. Mentioning that he was once a student of Sainik School, Purulia, and the college in which he received higher education was in Darjeeling, Mr Rio said he was mentally integrated with Bengalis and their culture.

”I feel at home in their company,” Mr Rio added. Speaking on the occasion, former governor Shyamal Dutta expressed his fond memories during his stay in Nagaland.

”Nagaland is a lovely state. It is a place known for its people and culture. The diverse culture of Nagaland is not only unique but also bold and beautiful.

Nagas Share Their Struggle, Concerns

October 31, 2010

Naga Journey for PeaceBangalore, Oct 31 : Voices from the distant hills of Nagaland are echoing in Bangalore. The Naga community and leaders held a vibrant festival of Naga arts and crafts and cultural performances at the `at the Bishop Cotton Boys School on Saturday.

The performance was followed by a panel discussion on `Indo-Naga peace process __ difficulties and prospects’ by Naga leaders who came from Kohima.

President Naga Ho Ho, Kevilotuo, shared the six decades of Naga struggle with the audience. He recollected the initial 16 point-agreement that created the state of Nagaland and said the Nagas were then divided into the four North Eastern states. In 1964, there was a ceasefire with the Indian government, but problems continued.

“In 1997, there was a ceasefire again. It’s been 13 years since then and we still haven’t reached a negotiation. The Indian government has to be sincere about the peace talks that we are having. The Naga journey is one of self determination and fight for independence. Our movement is for an independent nation but that doesn’t mean that we cannot have peace,” he said.

Speaking about the unique cultural identity and different topography of Nagaland, he added that their uniqueness has to be recognized. “Nagaland is a nation in the making and we want our message to reach all parts of India. India is a friend and we have now come to tell our story to the south of India. I am hopeful that we will achieve a resolution,” he added.

President, Naga Students Federation, Metsekaoya Yhobo, said they had given several representations to the government of India and had met the Prime Minister too. “India has been insincere in dealing with our problems. The desire of the young Nagas is to work together for a resolution,” he said.

Rio to BRO: Restore NH-39 Soon

October 28, 2010

nagaland NH 39 highwayKohima, Oct 28 : Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today instructed the 15th Border Road Task Force (BRTF) under the BRO to restore the National Highway-39 at the earliest, which remained blocked over three months due to landslides at the KMC Dumping Site.

Mr Rio, along with by Nagaland Assembly Speaker Kiyanelie Peseyie, Nagaland Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner Alemtemshi Jamir, Commissioner and Secretary of Roads and Bridges Temjen Toy, Additional Chief Engineer of Roads and Bridges V Kiehie, visited the landslide-hit highway.

He expressed his displeasure at the delay in restoring the lifeline between Nagaland and Manipur.

”It is a serious matter. The BRTF, under the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), has failed to restore it even after over three months,” Mr Rio said and asked the Commanding Officer of the BRTF to send all the relevant documents for restoration to his office for an immediate examination.

Mr Rio also assured all possible aids to the BRTF from the state government and said that, if possible, he want the road to be restored by tomorrow itself.

The Chief Minister and the officials took a stock of the damage triggered by landslides and provided some suggestions like construction of resistance walls.

The Commanding Officer of the 15 BRTF Col Maladi told newspersons at the site that entire three-and-half-km of the area was under the grip of landslide due to water seepage owing to paddy cultivation above the area.

”It is not immediately possible to restore the road as landslides were triggered by heavy to medium rainfall. The earth is still not yet stable. I hope that a portion of the NH-39 will be opened for light vehicles in the next ten days,” Mr Maladi added.