General Naga public have sent a strong message to the state government for brushing aside their concerns by the hasty decision to hold civic polls through a total bandh on January 9. The bandh called by Angami Youth Organisation (AYO) in Kohima and Medziphema, Ao Senden in Mokokchung and Chang Tribal Council (CKS) and Tuensang Village Citizen Union (TVCU) in Tuensang to thwart the filing of nomination papers on the extended day by the state government was a huge success. Due to the massive public resentment as spearheaded by the apex tribe organisations and village authorities, no nominations were submitted in all the above named places stated official sources. Scrutiny of nomination papers would take place on January 10.
The bandh was strictly enforced in Kohima and Medziphema by thousands of Angami youth volunteers including elders stationed at strategic locations and outside DC Kohima’s office to prevent filing of nomination papers. Shops and other business establishments remained shut though some food joints and pharmacies remained open. Some volunteers reportedly shot down a drone (quadcopter) belonging to the Assam Rifles with catapults. The copter was reportedly taking photographs during the bandh period.
According to ADC & RO Kohima Municipal Council, Lithrongla Tongpi, no candidates filed nominations for the forthcoming municipal election.
After the time period for filing of nominations ended, Angami Public Organization (APO) president Dr. Velhousa Seleyi addressed the public and volunteers outside DC’s office premises. Dr Seleyi thanked all volunteers for sacrificing their time by keeping vigil outside DC’s office from day one till January 9 and for standing by APO’s resolution. He maintained that volunteers who took part in the protest, may not see any achievement now but would realise its fruit in future.
APO also acknowledged the security personnel for co-operating with the protestors throughout the eight-day vigil besides cooperation from the Governor, chief minister and colleagues, state election commissioner, principal secretaries of Urban and CMO, DC & Sr. SP Kohima etc.
Later, interacting with media persons, Dr. Seleyi said: “We have achieved what want and people’s voice was strong and supreme and had overcome all the obstacles”.
He said APO took the responsibility to protect the people’s rights. “Today’s achievement was one of the most remarkable, as we serve the Nagas,” Dr. Seleyi added.
When asked about the outcome of Sunday’s meeting with the chief minister, Dr. Seleyi said the approach of both the sides were different. “They are concerned as to how best they can protect their own chair; whereas APO’s objective is how best we can save and serve the Nagas.”
On whether APO would be holding consultative meeting with other tribal hohos on the issue, Seleyi said the boycott-call was an eye opener for all Naga tribes. Prior to this protest every tribe was prepared to oppose but that “money speaks and some could not overcome the money power”.
On those who had filed nominations, he said APO hoped that they would “realize the value of unity and obedience to their own community and expressed hope that they would respect the resolutions and guidelines shared to the people”.
On 33% women reservation vis-à-vis Article 371(A), Seleyi reiterated that Article 243 D, which points to reservation, had no bearing since Article 371(A) which ensures Nagas the right to protect and preserve the customary law and procedures etc. and insulates the state of Nagaland against any act passed by parliament.
He said as long as Article 371(A) was in force, no Indian law can disturb the Nagas though some people had the tendency to interpret it in their own interest.
Dr. Seleyi said if anyone felt that they have been deprived of something, they should approach the people and the state government as this was the only way to resolve any issue amicably.
He also opined that the reservation issue (for which SLP was filed in Supreme Court by JACWRI, could have been settled within one’s own community and kitchen. He said APO was not against women but against anything that would dilute or infringe upon Article 371(A). He said APO stood firm so that the court’s ruling should not have repercussion towards any other issue within the Naga society in the future.
‘Govt. defying voices of people’
Terming it as unfortunate and deeply hurtful, APO maintained that the government was “merely interested in implementing its agenda, defying and denying the democratic voice of her people.”
In this regard, the Angami Public Organization (APO) during its executive meeting held on January 9 reaffirmed to stand by the December 30, 2016 declaration.
In a statement, APO president Dr. Vilhousa Seleyi and general secretary Keviselie Lhousa said “though much too late, yet we acknowledge the telephonic response of the state government sharing its concern to our written letter to the chief minister.” APO said “the response by the government on January 8, 10 p.m. to the Angami elders’ forum was minutely discussed.”
However, APO made it clear that they were committed to the stand by the resolution in true spirit of Naga welfare and interest, saying “our position remains unchanged.”
Mokokchung: The total bandh called by the Ao Senden in Mokokchung was total and peaceful despite palpable tension. Normal life came to a standstill during the bandh which started from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Volunteers of the Ao Kaketshir Mungdang (AKM), Ongpangkong Kaketshir Mungdang including Mokokchung Town Lanur Telongjem (MTLT) manned strategic points to enforce the bandh. Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers gathered outside DC’s office to prevent anyone from filing their nominations. Later in the afternoon, the Deputy Commissioner Mokokchung confirmed that there was nil nomination for Mokokchung Municipal Council.
Earlier in the day, after getting the go ahead from the State Election Commission, the place for filing nomination for Changtongya Town Council was shifted to Tuli ADC hqs. However, the landowners of Tuli namely-- Mernagkong, Kangtsung and Wamaken villages -opposed the state government’s move. Later, the venue was shifted to EAC Chuchuyimlang but as per reports till 3 p.m., no nomination papers were received.
The Ao Senden has thanked the Land Owners Board (Ungma, Mokokchung and Khensa villages), All Ward Union Mokokchung Town (AWUMT), AKM, OKM, MTLT representatives from the six ranges (Tsukong) of Mokokchung district, media and well wishers for extending their support and cooperation. The Senden also expressed gratitude to the district administration, Mokokchung police.
Tuensang: Total 12-hour bandh in Tuensang which began from Sunday evening till January 9, 6 p.m. passed peacefully without any untoward incidents.The bandh called jointly by Chang Tribal Council (CKS) and Tuensang Village Citizen Union (TVCU) was to boycott against candidates from filing nominations for election to Tuensang Town Council.
CKS & TVCU criticized the state government for further extending the date for filing of nomination against the will of the people. Further, CKS & TVCU appealed to the Chief Electoral Officer, Nagaland not to extend time in order to avoid any kind law and order situation in the town.
If the dates are extended again, CKS and TVCU warned that the state government would be held responsible for any untoward incidents that may arise.
The unions further expressed gratitude to all intending candidates for their cooperation and for understanding the aspirations and demand of the people by not filing the nominations. The bodies also thanked the volunteers for executing all assignments efficiently and for ensuring peace during the bandh.