The Sunday closure debate

The Sunday closure debate

Chicken zone – an otherwise bustling place for the neighbourhood wears a desolate look on Sunday in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)

Kanili Kiho
Dimapur | April 7

Sunday closure in the city continues to stir up debate.
Since the closure directed by the NSCN (IM)’s UT Central Administrative Officer (CAO) in the month of January, a number of NGOs and business establishments have made appeals to lift the ban, if only on perishable items, groceries, confectioneries, hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.

While several large establishments like provision stores, restaurants or petrol stations opened shop on April 7, Sunday, The Morung Express took to the streets and queried the effects of Sunday closure.

Our own loss
As Sunday dawns, (even before any directive to shut shops on Sunday existed), hundreds of cars throng A Kramsa bazaar of Karbi Anglong in Assam. Those who had no cars used to shop at hotspots in Dimapur like the City Tower vicinity.

Cars thronging A Kramsa Market in Karbi Anglong district of Assam on Sunday morning. (Morung Photo)

Not anymore.
“Sunday closure is our own loss,” said businessperson Nibu Nagi. With a number of retail outlets – which employ an estimated 600 Naga youth who get offs on rotation – added to the milieu of businesses in Dimapur, “We are losing huge amount of revenue,” he maintained.

Dimapur being the commercial zone of the State, with travelers arriving and leaving even on Sunday, he said the inconvenience faced was inevitable. “There is not even a single cup of tea available. This is not fair,” noted the businessperson on behalf of the public.

And for those citizens who work Monday to Saturday, with only Sunday left to stock up on essential household items.

“This has to be reviewed,” Nagi reasoned, adding, “Religion should be practical.”

Nagi was of the view that shops should open after devotional service from 1:00 pm or 2:00 pm, depending on the owner of the shop.

A florist, Aboli, while acknowledging that urgent basic necessities are not met on Sunday, however agreed with Nagi. “Sunday closure could resume after the devotional service,” she said.

Time off & contradiction
Sanu, a shopkeeper said she’s gotten used to it. “I could use some laundry time and visit family members too.”

A retailer, who did not wish to be named, also welcomed the closure. “We need a day to rejuvenate and meet with family,” she maintained. Now, she finds it a hassle to come home to customers waiting at her shop door on Sundays.

Another businessperson, Botoho, said that as a Christian majority state, “Sunday as a holy day” should be observed. “If we make it a habit of preparing for Sunday, stocking essential needs in advance, it shouldn’t pose much of a problem.”

A citizen, who chose to remain anonymous, viewed Sunday closure would not make much of a difference. “It solely depends on an individual to follow.”

A domestic worker, who chose to remain anonymous, however, revealed, “I rarely get breaks on Sunday. I have to cater to my Christian employer’s guests and family members or take care of their children on Sunday too.”

Vegetable vendors in Dhobinallah line echoed each other while lamenting the loss of livelihood that Sunday closure means for their families. “If the markets are to open after the service, we will heartily welcome it,” they said in unison.

According to a respondent in The Morung Express poll on the same question (Read here), “It is proper to keep the Lord’s Day holy, but improper to impose. Spirituality cannot and should not be imposed; people must be encouraged to take their faith seriously. Warnings and threats in the name of God amounts to distortion of faith. Our faith cannot be imposed on others who belong to other faiths.”

A man walks past a closed store on Sunday in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)