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Twice the 30 pieces

22 Aug. 2017 12:06 AM IST

On the face of it, the cabinet decision to sanction Rs.60 lakhs for construction of a memorial monolith over the graves of two youths who were killed in police firing in Dimapur on January 31,2017 would certainly be welcomed as it is a compassionate gesture. The two youths were among hundreds of protestors who took to the streets against the decision of the government and also reneging of the understanding with the JCC through the auspices of the NBCC. However, seen from another perspective, the primacy given to the construction of the memorial does not seem in consonance with the public sentiment as put forward by the Joint Coordination Committee( JCC) and the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee(NTAC). The cabinet has also decided to form a government committee with several members to look into the ULB issue and hold consultations with apex tribe organisations and stakeholders. On this issue, it should have preceded the revocation of the September 22,2012 assembly resolution and ensuring that a general consensus was achieved before launching the election mode. In retrospect, the cabinet decision makes the earlier decision in 2016 look like the government had erred in putting the cart before the horse. In 2016 tribe organisations had been demanding that they should hold indepth discussions so as to arrive at a consensus. However, the government then did not want any of it, as it had its own reasons to push and rush through the elections. Needless to say, there were many candidates who believed in the government ’s wisdom and had campaigned tirelessly and incurred huge amount. In the end, they became among the losers on both sides of the divide- the families of victims and those who had filed nominations and campaigned. In this regard, the government cannot shirk its responsibility. The government itself fell prey to its own folly over pushing the ULB elections when over dozens of government buildings housing crucial departments were burned down on February 2,2017. It was also a sad day for denizens of Kohima who looked on with horror as their beloved town was burned by some protestors. What is happening in Nagaland today is that majority in politics seems to be a license to deviate from the principles of good governance, where majority seems to be a mandate to over ride all concerns. Few questions arise over the sanction of Rs.60 lakhs for construction of the memorial. First, whether it had more to do with the politics of appeasement for some group which had during January-February 2017 spearheaded the public uprising? Secondly, whether the cabinet had thought about the families of the deceased to offer jobs to the next of kin or at least crore each as ex-gratia; surely when Rs.60 lakh could be made available for the proposed memorial? Since the JCC and NTAC had echoed public sentiments holding the chief minister morally responsible for the factors that had eventually led to the January 31 incident; perhaps it is only right that the two bodies explain the changed situation today. When corruption destroys the spiritual values and when too much power corrupts absolutely; wisdom and morality become the ultimate victims. 

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