Lotha Students’ Union (LSU) and Kohima Lotha Students’ Union (KLSU) have strongly condemned the callous statement made by Forest, Environment & Climate Change and Village Guards minister CL John at the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on September 12, 2023.
In a communiqué, LSU president Lirhonthung Kithan, and media cell chairman and information & publicity secretary Grizel Ngullie said what had aggravated the situation was the comment by John that the people of Wokha were “winning” the human-elephant conflict, and had dismissively stated that only eight people had been killed by elephants so far.
LSU pointed out that conflicts between humans and elephants not only caused negative attitudes, but people were also gripped by fear and resentment due to life-threatening experiences. Hence, LSU contended that the callous remark by the minister not only lacked empathy for the victims’ families, but also reflected a profound disconnect from the ground realities.
The LSU leaders invited CL John to visit Wokha district and Bhandari sub-division to witness the situation firsthand by immersing himself in the challenges faced by the people and understanding the gravity of the human-elephant conflict in order to gain a more accurate perspective.
In the light of his recent actions and statements, LSU further urged the minister to offer an unconditional apology to the citizens of Wokha district and the victims’ families in particular, as well as acknowledge the insensitivity of his comments.
LSU said it was imperative that only responsible and qualified individuals should hold positions of power and influence, especially in matters concerning the environment and the well-being of the citizens. The people of Wokha district and all right-thinking citizens expected better from their elected representatives, it added.
The union also suggested alternative steps that could be employed by the Department such acoustic and visual mechanisms, fences and barriers, early warning and detection systems, safeguarding elephant corridors, changing human attitudes towards elephant, and ensuring the conservation of forest areas from illegal encroachments by humans.
According to them, these were some tried and tested methods that had shown positive impacts and led to decline in human-elephant conflicts in other parts of the country.
They emphasised that the citizens of Nagaland deserved leadership that was empathetic, informed, and accountable, whereas John’s recent actions had fallen short of these expectations and caused significant harm to his credibility and the trust of the people to serve.
Joining many others in condemning the actions of John, they called upon all right-thinking citizens of Nagaland to condemn the controversial statement of the minister.
KLSU: Condemning the statement of CL John, Kohima Lotha Students’ Union (KLSU) has condemned the comment made by Forest, Environment & Climate Change and Village Guards minister CL John at the Nagaland Legislative Assembly on September 12.
In a press release, KLSU objected to the statement made by the minister that the populace of Wokha district was “triumphing” in the human-elephant conflict and belittled the gravity of the issue by stating that a mere eight individuals had perished due to elephant attacks.
It pointed out that the remarks not only exhibited a lack of compassion for the families of the victims, but also reflected a disconnect from the ground realities.
KLSU also invited CL John to visit Wokha district and Bhandari sub-division to gather a firsthand understanding of the situation. By seeing the challenges faced by the people and acquiring a comprehensive grasp of the situation, it hoped that the minister would attain a more precise perspective.
The union also implored John to contemplate offering an unconditional apology to the citizens of Wokha district, particularly the affected families, acknowledging the insensitivity inherent in his comments.
It also called for initiating effective measures and actions in compacting human-elephant conflict in Wokha district, specifically at Bhandari sub-division.
According to the union, it was imperative that positions of power and influence were entrusted exclusively to individuals who exemplified responsibility and possessed requisite qualifications, particularly when dealing with matters that concerned the environment and welfare of the citizens.
It pointed out that the citizens of Wokha district and the entirety of conscientious society rightfully anticipated superior standards from their elected representatives.
KLSU stressed that the citizens of Nagaland required leadership characterised by empathy, knowledge, and accountability. The union however expressed regret that CL John’s recent conduct had fallen short of these expectations, tarnishing his credibility and undermining the trust reposed in him by the people he served.
Aligning itself with numerous voices condemning his actions, the union appealed to the discerning citizens of Nagaland to unite in denouncing the controversial statements of John.