Phek Public action and its ramifications

Chivotso Nienu

The events of the past several days have proved beyond doubt the power of the people when citizens of any place, state or country mite for a common cause as has happened in the case of Phek Town. Armed with only stones, the citizens including daring women carried out a remarkable deed by forcibly chasing out cadres of NSCN (1M) and combined rivals NSCN (K) and NNC who possessed sophisticated weapons, from where they had been camping within civilian populated colonies in the town. This has been highly appreciated by all peace loving citizens all over the State. To proceed against armed cadres might have-been sheer suicide but for the solidarity and grim determination of the citizens.

Being the district headquarters, people from the villages of the district, other parts of the State and the country reside in Phek Town due to posting while .in government service or business or being locals. In such a scenario, the ‘cadres of the various factions discovered it to be more lucrative living off the people while indulging in unauthorized collections of money as much as five times a day from certain shops, and even staying in particular houses without invitation but inviting risks to life and property of the owners. With the Indian security forces and the Naga IRB forces being restrained from directly intervening during factional clashes, it is no wonder the citizens decided to take matters into their own hands. That the cadres of the rival groups also refrained from firing directly upon the citizens (although they fired some shots in the air) speaks a lot for their common sense. Otherwise, things might have gone from bad to worse. When the citizens put up a united front and if this unity continues, then it will lead to peace, prosperity through thriving economy, stable administrative machinery, happy social life, encouraging education and freedom even in religion.

Unfortunately, in spite of this magnificent deed, our image has been tarnished because of the vandalism of some miscreants who, no doubt, were instigated by vested interests in an attempt to ensure that the people of Phek Town continue to live in the grip of terror. The problem here is not that of the ruling Government alone to solve but is a general’ one that goes beyond politicization. Damaging the DC’s office and then attempting to physically assault him in his official residence while hurling personal abuses and also injuring the S.P these are heinous offences. The civil administration and its police force are the symbols of our government (whichever party may be ruling) and to attack such institutions has damaged our reputation as a whole, although only some misguided youths were involved. The DC and SP had to exercise utmost restraint upon the police personnel and thus prevented them from opening fire. I would like to mention here that during the height of Indian security forces operations the civil administration aided by the local State police did their level best to prevent Indian Army excesses on the civilian population. Also, on behalf of NPF Phek Division I request the DC and SP to kindly forgive the excesses meted out to them by misguided youths.

As for the rival factions who have tried to use Phek Town and other places in the State for their various activities, they must answer a few basic questions. Firstly, when the Nagaland police forces have been deployed to ensure that students from the four Naga districts of Manipur also appear for their matriculation and Class XII exams, why has the NSCN (IM) been trying to vitiate the atmosphere particularly in Phek? And, why did the NNC and NSCN (K) together try to provoke their rival cadres especially at this crucial juncture in the lives of our Naga students? You all say that you are fighting for the Naga nation and fulfillment of Naga political aspirations. But are you really doing so? All your recent actions and activities give the impression that you really don’t care for your Naga Homeland and its future. If you continue like this do not be surprised when the entire Naga civil population will rise up against you irrespective of which group you belong to.

I would also like to mention here that during the years when Indian Army operations were in full swing, and when (the then undivided) Naga Army men had the chance to shoot at them, they hesitated to open fire, because they did Dot wish to cause innocent civilian casualties. In fact, they exercised utmost restraint. Our ancient Naga tradition included fighting face to face and not taking, refuge among populated civilian areas. You (all factions) keep talking of reconciliation and unity but where is your so-called unity? Because of your constant clashes and killings of your own brothers and harassment of the general public, the Nagas have become a laughing stock of the world. Moving about in civilian populated areas in uniform with arms and ammunition are clear violations of the cease-fire ground rules that were included in the agreements reached between Government of India and both the NSCN factions separately. In a bid to avoid further bloodshed among, Naga brethren and, also to ensure security to lives and properties of the citizens of the State, our Home Minister Thenucho went to New Delhi to seek the intervention of the Central security forces since the common Chairman of both the Cease-Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) vis-à-vis NSCN (1M) and Cease-Fire Supervisory Board (CFSB) vis-à-vis NSCN (K) does not have the requisite authority to enforce the cease-tire ground rules. The Home Minister was made to understand, that he had at his command adequate Naga IRB Battalions to ensure this. But how can the State Government which is only a “facilitator” enforce ground rules when’ the agreements are ‘between the Government of India and the two factions of NSCN? Also, the State Government is fully aware that some cadres of both rival factions tend to use populated areas as shield for their violent activities. Do not be misled. For, the Government of India apparently is exercising double standards so that Nagas will go on killing their Naga brethren.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the forerunner of the Congress, namely, the Naga Nationalist Organization (NNO) which was ruling Nagaland tried its level, best to suppress the movement of the NNC/FGN by imposing national emergency and invoking various black taws. However, such efforts were unsuccessful. Therefore, the Naga public in general is hereby reminded that we all must learn from the lessons of the past. The attainment of Naga political aspirations can only be achieved through oneness, one voice resulting in dialogue accordingly. In this connection, the regional party is in a better position to deliver the goods if given sufficient encouragement and time.

So, my brothers, if you are really Naga national workers, unite forthwith and stop all this bloodshed and harassment of the general public who only wish to go about their daily lives in peace. If you still persist in hunting and fighting each other, at least have the decency and humanity to go to the jungles although how such action will help bring about Naga national fulfillment is beyond comprehension. Further, I call upon the two NNC factions to reconcile and re-unite and then go for overall unification with the other groups. Otherwise, you are only losing the trust and faith of the Nagas in general and Chakhesang’s in particular.