It is for all to see the DAN alliance under the dynamic Chairmanship of Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu and the DAN Government headed by TR Zeliang is a progressive government working tirelessly and determinedly for the development of Nagaland state and its people. Within a span of less than two years in office the TR Zeliang led government with the active support of the Narendra Modi led NDA at the centre has been trying hard to make development reach all the districts of Nagaland in many spheres including establishments of new offices as per the needs of the areas and implementation of national flagship programmes in earnest. One of the major development projects that is being taken up by the TR Zeliang government with the kind intervention and support of the Modi led NDA government at the centre is the construction of major road projects in the state. Good road communication is the first step towards progress and development of a region. Good road communications provide commuters to travel with comfort and in shorter duration. Good road communication is an imperative essential to seek timely medical service to maintain good health.
As the saying goes, the wearer knows where the shoe pinches, the public especially from Mon, Tuensang and Longleng districts are the usual victims of poor road communication. During the frequent bandhs called by Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Jorhat and Sibsagar districts our brothers and sisters from these aforementioned disrticts face untold miseries especially the sick in need of medical attention, since commuters have to pass through Assam to reach Dimapur and Kohima. The other road being the via Mokokchung- Kohima road which is around 14 Hours journey. The Mon- Dimapur foothill road linking, Tuensang, Mokokchung, Zunheboto,and Wokha districts has been a dream especially for the eastern Nagaland to travel to Dimapur and the state capital Kohima within Nagaland in a shorter route unaffected by the inconveniences of bandhs in Assam. This much needed road will soon be a dream come true when the Arunachal – Nagaland interstate road is completed and linked with Dimapur and Kohima. The DAN Government is earnestly taking up this road construction works. Some other road projects that need mentioning is the four-lane road linking Gauhati –Kohima via Niu Land and four-lane road via Diphu-Mhaikam-Sukhovi-Chumukedima linking the main four lane to the State Capital. It is not important who gets the contract work, what is more important is that it is happening at last. To have a four-lane road connectivity to Nagaland has been the dream of many successive governments of the past in Nagaland. This dream of the people could be realised today under the dynamic Chairmanship of Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu Chairman DAN Alliance and the DAN Government headed by TR Zeliang Chief Minister and with the caring support of the NDA Government at the Centre headed by the able and Dynamic Narendra Modi.
Instead of lauding the present government for its achievements in bringing developments to Nagaland State in all fronts within its short term of office why are certain section of Naga population trying to pull down a government that is working very hard for the development of our state and its people. It may be recalled that certain groups of people from the very beginning even before TR Zeliang took over the reign of the office of the Chief Minister of Nagaland had tried its best to prevent him from becoming the Chief Minister of Nagaland. And from the day TR Zeliang held the office of the Chief Minister of Nagaland the same group of people has since then been working to oust TR Zeliang from office and in the process even tried to oust Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu from the NPF Presidentship. Today some legislators are portraying that there is rift within the NPF which can be bonded only by Neiphiu Rio former Chief Minister Nagaland and present MP. It may be recalled that in 2015 a similar game was played to oust Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu implying that the NPF party workers has lost their confidence on Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu but truth and unity prevailed in the Party.
The issue at hand today is not the issue of Nagas not wanting to implement the 33% women reservation in the ULB election in Nagaland. If this is the issue, why are the agitators still agitating and calling for bandh and asking TR Zeliang to step down from the Chief Ministership? The state government has conceded to the demand of the agitators by postponing the ULB elections in towns where there was conflict. Elections were held where there was no conflict however the state government again conceded to the demands of the agitators by declaring the election null and void where elections were held in towns where there was no conflict. Inspite of conceding to the request made by the agitators, the agitators continuing to demand the stepping down of TR Zeliang from the Chief Ministership reeks only of vindictive political agenda to oust TR Zeliang from the Chief Ministership with undemocratic means. Nagaland has witnessed toppling game in the past. During the 70s when Dr. SC Jamir was removed from Deputy Chief Minister post by the then Chief Minister Late Vizol Angami, Dr. SC Jamir toppled the Vizol Government and became the Chief Minister of Nagaland, the one month old SC Jamir government was then toppled paving way for Late JB Jasokie to take over as the Chief Minister, a post which he held till the next general election of 1982. And again during the late 1980s and early 1990s Nagaland witnessed another toppling game when KL Chisi toppled the Dr. SC Jamir government to become the state Chief Minister for one month. The KL Chisi government was toppled to pave way for Late Vamuzo to take over as the Chief Minister which was toppled necessitating President’s Rule in the state.
In the present political scenario in Nagaland it is to impress upon the people of Nagaland that neither TR Zeliang nor the NPF Party nor the MLAs of the Nagaland State Legislative Assembly has not in any way at any point of time attempted to oust Neiphiu Rio from the Chief Ministership of Nagaland. In fact it may be recalled that when he hinted of joining National Politics his MLA colleagues, his partymen and well wishers requested him to remain as the state Chief Minister: A request he chose to ignore. At a time when Nagaland was heavily in debts and salvaging it seems a mammoth task he chose to leave the sinking ship. Now that under the Dynamic leadership of Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu Chairman DAN Alliance and the DAN Government led by TR Zeliang is doing its best to pluck the holes of the sinking ship by taking up financial austerity measures, the state debt is now reduced considerably and developments have started pouring into the state with the active coordination of the State and Central Government, how do few MLAs, cohorts of Neiphiu Rio have the illusion that Neiphiu Rio’s return to Nagaland will salvage the NPF party when in the first place there is no rift in the NPF Party.
It is to further impress upon the people of Nagaland that the Zeliang tribe is a very small community in the state of Nagaland with very less population and only two MLA seats. In such a humble environment, it may be known to all that TR Zeliang has never nursed the thought of occupying the dignified and august office of the Chief Minister of Nagaland not to speak of thinking of toppling a Naga leader to enter the august office. The fact that today TR Zeliang is the Chief Minister is not because the Zeliang tribe are united and posses political acumen to convince the Naga populace to make him the State Chief Minister. In fact from day one Namri Nchang the other MLA from Peren District was on the side that was against TR Zeliang from becoming the Chief Minister of Nagaland.
The fact that TR Zeliang is today the Chief Minister of Nagaland against all odds is because of the fact that God has blessed him to become our Chief Minister and our Naga Legislators has blessed and accepted him to be the leader of the house and to work together for peace and progress in the state. When the majority of the MLAs are with him to ask him to step down is unconstitutional and undemocratic. The voice of the people, the mandate of the people’s voice will be echoed with the result of the 2018 Nagaland State Legislative Assembly General Elections. Till such time the voice of the people are the voice of the elected MLAs the representatives of the people.
TR Zeliang with the blessing of his legislators enjoys absolute majority in the house, and therefore as long as TR Zeliang enjoys the confidence of the house, he cannot step down. The constitutional provision cannot permit him and democratic procedure will not allow him to step down. If he is to step down under public pressure while enjoying the confidence of the house, an un-precedent undemocratic precedence will be set wherein any mafia like group will coerce and force democratic government to step down on the pretext of so called mass voice of the people. Even if TR Zeliang is willing to step down the law of the country will not allow such undemocratic action to take place.
Getting back to the core issue of how it all started, certain agitators misquoted Article 371A in order to mislead and misguide the Naga populace. The agitators say because Article 371A upholds customary practice and usage of the Nagas and because it is not within the Naga custom to allow women to sit in decision making bodies, women should not be allowed to contest the ULB elections.
The situation at hand is about interpretation and misinterpretation of Article 371A. However if we allow certain group to continue to connive to twist facts, misinterpret the constitution and its provisions to create law and order problems and misunderstandings among the populace a time may come when the special provision of Article 371A will be considered for amendment to ensure gender equality.
It may be recalled that since the early 1980s it was made mandatory for all the Village Councils, VDBs, VECs etc. to have women representatives and there has been no objection from any quarter. Almost all the village councils will readily admit to having women representatives in their respective council.
Going by records during the late 1980s Banuo Z. Jamir IAS was the first woman Deputy Commissioner of Kohima District during the erstwhile undivided Kohima District before Phek, Dimapur and Peren Districts were carved out of it. The District was then represented by 20 MLAs. We may please recollect meaningfully that at that point of time not a word of resentment was uttered from any Naga tribe across Nagaland objecting a woman Deputy Commissioner to head the state capital on grounds that since it is against the Naga customary practice and usage for women to sit in decision making body and because the office of the Deputy Commissioner is the highest decision making body of the district Banuo Z. Jamir IAS being a woman should not be posted as DC Kohima because such posting will infringe and violate the provision of Article 371A and that such posting of placing a women to sit in the highest decision making body of the district will be an insult to the male population of Nagaland. It may also be recalled when Banuo Z. Jamir the able and efficient officer was made the first female Chief Secretary of Nagaland the highest executive decision making body of the state, there was no outcry that women should not sit in the apex decision making body of the State. Taking Banuo Z. Jamir IAS as their role model many females in our Naga family have today joined the state civil service, allied services etc. and are today Administrative Head of Departments, Head of Departments, Administrative Officers, Judicial Officers, department officers posted out in the districts and serving fairly well across the entire state even to the most remote locations. No Naga tribe has ever come out opposing women posted to hold offices on grounds that it is against the Naga customary practice and usage for women to sit in decision making body since such posting will insult the male counterpart.
Going in line with the irrational minds of the protesters are we now to stop sending our daughters and our sisters to schools. Are we to discourage our daughters and our sisters not to prepare for competitive exams or try to be in government service because it is against Naga customary practice and usage for women to sit in decision making bodies.
Today due to the bandh all the school children are being affected. Knowing fully well that the HSSLC and HSLC exams are going to be conducted and yet imposing bandh during the scheduled exam period, creating unfavourable atmosphere and situations where the students to appear these exams are unable to prepare for their exams in a peaceful and calm atmosphere are acts of the protesters which do not have any respect and regard for our children. It is said the future of a nation depends upon the young generation. To stop the children from going to schools by imposing uncalled for bandhs and making them loose many schools days is an irreparable lose for our children who are so eager to learn and become goods citizens because time lost can never be recovered again or compensated.
It is said the world suffers not because of the bad actions of the few bad people but because of the indifference of the good people. The uncalled for bandh has witnessed loss of lives. We need to view this unfortunate incident with open minds. The core issue is who instigated these innocent youths to go in agitated procession when the state government had already postponed holding ULB elections in Dimapur.
The writings on the walls are clear, the JCC did not object holding of ULB elections on the contrary it assured the government that it will support holding of ULB elections after the expiry of two months. The signature of the General Secretary NBCC is appended as a living witness to the MOU. Who is fooling who.
The bandh has witnessed arson. Government offices burnt. Who loses? You and I. Not the agitators. Mourners are stopped, manhandled and prevented from attending funerals. The sick refused to be taken to hospital by ambulance and threatened to return home. Children not allowed to go to school. Public threatened to remain indoors. During school admission time due to closure of offices many children are unable to get admission because their parents are unable to draw salary. Many students studying outside the state are facing extreme hardship because their parents cannot send them money since the majority of the Naga Population is salary dependant. Where are we heading to? Do the majority good Naga populace continue to remain complacent and indifferent to the evil going around us and watch our children suffer silently?
In a land where we call ourselves Nagaland for Christ the protesters had no compunction to call state-wide bandh during the NBCC Annual Session 2017 held at Peren. Even church related meetings and activities held in very high esteem was not given any importance by the protesters and many delegates of the NBCC Annual Session 2017 faced much hardships to attend the same while majority of the delegates could not even turn up. Had this bandh been called by the Hindus there will be hue and cry by the Naga people calling such acts to be anti Christian etc. etc. However in this particular situation the good Naga Christians have chosen to remain silent.
The need of the hour is to provide a peaceful atmosphere so that our children can prepare and appear their HSSLC and HSLC exams without any fear and intimidation. The need of the hour is to provide peaceful atmosphere to allow our children to go to schools and colleges and universities without any fear and intimidation.
The time has now come for all right thinking Nagas to work for peace. I appeal to all the Naga tribes to uphold truth and justice and to sincerely work to bring back normalcy and harmony in our beloved state.
GBs Union : Peren District