Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Office vandalism: NSF stages sit-in protest; threatens to intensify stir


Mounting pressure on the state government, NSF on Monday launched staged a sit-it protest outside the vandalised office in protest against the state government’s alleged failure to nab the culprits within the 24-hour ultimatum set by the federation. NSF members, students and well wishers took part in the protest.
In an effort to mount pressure on the government to arrest all those involved in the May 27 vandalisation of its office NSF Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) reiterated that the student community would intensify its agitation if the authorities fail to arrest them .
According to Kohima police, three persons were arrested so far and two vehicles — an excavator and a gypsy-were seized. An official said that investigation was still on and no further details were divulged.
Protestors displayed placards that read: “Naga Students’ Federation is the rightful organisation to inherit Naga Club building”, “Naga Club vandalization at night is an act of terrorism”, “Attacking a property/house is not acceptable under Naga customary law”, “Anti-Nagas should be arrested immediately”, “Attacking student offices with dao is an intention to take lives of students”, etc .
NSF president Kegwayhun Tep expressed displeasure at the State government for not doing enough to catch the culprits within 24 hours. He said many people were not aware that the people who destroyed the office “came with the intention to kill us” as they carried dao and lathi.
Giving a status of the case, Tep said that some of the members of the Naga Club were granted bail by the court during the hearing on Monday which was also live-streamed by the Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench.
When asked about the status of the investigation by the SIT, Tep said that they were informed about the arrest of two more persons besides the driver of the excavator.
“This morning we were told that the authorities have written to all those involved in the incident to surrender themselves, however, there is no news about any arrests being made,” Tep added.
Meanwhile, NSF has convened an emergency seniors’ consultative meeting on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the conference hall, Angami Public Organisation building, Kohima.
In this regard, NSF has requested all senior leaders of the federation to attend the meeting and present their thoughts in the interest of the federation in particular and the Nagas in general.
The federation informed that the protest would continue on Tuesday as well.
NPF Legislator and former NSF president Achumbemo who also took part in the sit-in protest said that if an organisation like NSF was not safe, then citizens could not be expected to be safe. He cautioned that if someone did not subscribe to another person’s point of view and ransackedhis or her home, then Naga society could not exist with such a mindset. He demanded that the police bring the perpetrators to justice.
Former minister Neiba Kronu said that such kind of behaviour was not expected in a civilised society and therefore should be avoided in the near future.
Addressing as section of the media after interacting with NSF officials at the protest site, Kronu, also a former president of NSF, maintained that those who had vandalised the NSF office should realise that such actions were not appreciated by the people.
“From now on we all have to understand each other and together let us rebuild it so that it would become a grand building,” Kronu suggested.
Speaking on the occasion, former NSF president Christopher Ltu remarked that he had never witnessed such a situation before. He recalled that the standoff between the Naga Club and NSF started in 2018 and the former had requested for a meeting in this regard.
He said that the then organising committee of Naga Club had come to his office to discuss organisinga celebration to mark 100 years of the club. But, the office bearers of the federation had declined to meet them as they did not know how these people were appointed or selected as leaders and they had come claiming themselves to be office bearers of Naga Club.
He elaborated: “We had not heard of Naga Club for decades. But all of the sudden, some people just come up claiming that they are from the club.”
Ltu said the so-called members of Naga Club came again two days prior to celebration of the 100-year celebrations. They wanted to celebrate together, but the NSF declined because the club refused to honour the agreement put forward by the citizens and elders concerned.
“In their written statement, they had mentioned about the monolith be set up at the present site and came after dark with JCB and started digging, so we stopped them. That is not the way, If they wanted to set up the monolith in a right manner, they should have come in the broad daylight. Their cowardice act is strongly condemnable. This space and building belong to the entire Naga community and they should respect this,” he asserted.
He mentioned that the All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) and the Kohima Press Club (KPC), whose officesare also housed in the same building, should stand up together and show the adversaries that they would not succumb to the evil designs of the adversaries.
He requested every individual, federation and units to come and stand with NSF as this was an act of anti-Nagas, adding it was time to see who was against the Nagas.
North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) secretary general and former NSF president MutsikhoyoYhobu, who was also present, condemned the act of vandalism and said that he had never heard about any such incident before. He also mentioned that he had never heard of the new Naga Club or its contribution to the Naga society. “They might have done something for their community, but no one has heard about them doing anything for the Nagas,” he added.
He said he felt very sorry because the miscreants had vandalised not only an office, but the history of Nagas. “History cannot be hijacked by few people. The Naga history is very clear and nobody can take away the history. The incident will make the Nagas stronger, ”he asserted and appealed to the authority to take action at the earliest.
Chakhesang Students’Union president Avezo Kevin Kapu, Rengma Students’Union president Daniel Kent and Lotha Students’Union president Lirhonthung E Kithan too expressed concern and assured to stand in solidarity with the NSF.



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