Need for soul searching dialogue

Witoubou Newmai


It is more than another case of poor handling of affairs that vulnerable Nagas are once again left to the fringes. As usual, in such time as this, vested interests will exploit the situation to its full potential, and this will get more pronounced if the situation is left to persist. It has become extremely vital to raise questions on why the concerned authorities cannot come to meaningful and soul searching dialogues and understandings.


The prevailing situation reinforces the memories of how costly the absence of dialogue and understanding has been for the Naga people. It is not too late to ask as to when we should start working to find out why there seems to be no foreseeable answers to many prevailing issues pertaining to Naga society. The moment it is thought answers are found, the fluid situation changes the equation, which in turn, changes the questions. We notice this development more glaringly in today’s Naga society.


Let us be willing to accept the fact that in most impasses, the inability to accommodate the genuine efforts to address the prevailing issue is either due to the overwhelming of agenda, changing stakeholders, absence of acceptable mediators, communication gap or weakness for emotional drive. Nothing is too late to introspect and retrospect in a benign mission of dousing a highly charged situation.


Now, questions can also very well be raised on the state government’s efficiency in protecting only its interests while displaying indifferent attitude towards the public. There have been numerous cases where the government had failed to protect people in Dimapur.


On March 5, 2015, a man was brought out from a jail in Dimapur by the public and lynched for an alleged rape incident. It was a two-day long affair. The Nagaland state government could have sensed the trouble-in-waiting from the previous day itself as mob fury was brewing from March 4. After storming into the jail by overpowering the jail keepers, the mob dragged the man for several kilometers taking several hours in broad day light along the wide open national highway traversing the township of Dimapur, the busiest commercial hub of Nagaland.


Had the state government been as efficient as it was to protect a private residence of the Chief Minister, the man’s life could have been saved on that fateful day.


Another notable episode was the torching of Wungram Colony, Dimapur by a mob in the year 2007. Residents of the colony were rendered homeless, also thanks to the ‘late arrival’ of the security force personnel or the skewed dealings of the state government.


Today, if the people of Nagaland are gripped with insecurity and fear, and, if the state government is efficient only in protecting the elites, the only solution to address the people’s wrong perception on the government is to redefine the definition of the government. But even this can come about only through meaningful dialogue and discussion.