Dissecting the anatomy of electoral violence in the district
Morung Express News
Mokokchung | February 12
With barely two weeks left for elections to the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly scheduled for February 27, election fervour has markedly gripped the district that is known for violence during elections – Mokokchung.
As evidenced in the past, large-scale election related violence in Nagaland is often reported from Mokokchung. Even though no such large scale violence has occurred as yet this time, sporadic cases of pre-poll riots have already been reported in Mokokchung.
With polling day drawing nearer, many observers feel the “pressure” is building and that large scale election violence could erupt in the days ahead.
Compared to previous elections, electoral campaigns began much later than usual this time thus intensifying the electioneering pressure.
Many observers, however, fear that violence would erupt despite the security measures being taken and that even the video coverage would not be of much deterrence for violence.
Sharing his perspective on why people resort to violence during elections, Dr. Tiasunep, who teaches anthropology at Nagaland University, attributed “big government” is one major factor.
“So much of our life is governed by government. If you get the government of your party, you have everything to gain – jobs, contract works, etc. If not, dry season for five years. So you have to fight in whatever ways to get the politician of your side in the government,” he elaborated.
The anthropologist also expressed apprehension that while electoral malpractices like booth capturing and proxy voting could be checked to some extent, violence would happen despite the preventive measures being taken by the concerned authorities.
He suggested that “government should be reduced to core duties of governance and most of the things should be decided by market dynamics” in order to prevent election violence.
There is a strong correlation between violence and low IQ, opined Dr. Tiasunep adding, “Those who cannot play intelligent politics may resort to violent means to fight for their party.”
Temsuwati Kichu, a pastor of Mokokchung Town Baptist Church agreed with Dr. Tiasunep that “reducing the influence and power enjoyed by the legislators would automatically reduce the present problems in the election process.”
The pastor feels that selecting a “consensus or senso candidate” by a village was one big reason for election violence among the same villagers in most cases. To him, another reason that causes election violence is “voters being sold out to candidates.”
On the prevention of election violence, he said that 100% video coverage on polling day might not be enough to prevent violence although it could possibly check proxy voting and booth capturing to some extent.
For him, measures mentioned in the Clean Election campaign were enough to help discourage election violence in Mokokchung.
Temsu Jamir, a prominent citizen of Mokokchung and a close observer of elections in the district over the decades also agreed that there is certainty for election violence despite the measures being taken so far.
“Violence has been used as a tactical move when it is to the advantage of a certain party or candidate,” he says, expressing caution that “a group could resort to violence and attempt to tamper with the video cameras, for instance, to force re-polling if they think that is to their advantage.”
Adequate security measures in place: DC Mokokchung
Taking cognizance of this, The Morung Express inquired with the Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer of Mokokchung who maintained that adequate security measures have been taken to curb election violence.
Rioting and use of force have been reported from at least five villages already, with the CrPC Section 144 being imposed on one village currently.
Sachin Jaiswal IAS, DC & DEO Mokokchung, also informed that there will be 100% video coverage of the proceedings on the polling day at all the 226 polling stations in Mokokchung district while live webcasting will be streamed from 30% of the polling stations.
Ten companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) have already arrived Mokokchung as early as January 30 to provide security during the election while more are expected to arrive soon as per the district administration to ensure free and fair election in the district.
Asked whether the measures taken by the election commission in view of the forthcoming elections was enough to curb violence, Dr. Tiasunep replied “We will have to wait and see.”
Like the doctor, most of the citizens are keeping their finger-crossed.
Curfew imposed in Tuli town
MOKOKCHUNG, FEBRUARY 12 (DIPR): The Additional District Magistrate, Tuli today promulgated prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC enforcing curfew in the whole town of Tuli, prohibiting the assembly of 5 (five) or more persons in all areas under Tuli Town with immediate effect. The order will remain in force till March 5 or till further notice. Magistrates, security personnel and other civil officials on government duty have however been exempted from the purview of the order. Considering the exigency of the matter, the order was passed ex-parte. The order stated that there is apprehension of breach of normal law and order situation in Tuli Town and there are sufficient grounds for taking precautionary measures for prevention of occurrence of any untoward incident in the interest of maintenance of peace and tranquility in the town.