The Nagaland government has clarified that it had passed an order asking all its employees to declare if any relative was working for underground organisations only on the insistence of Governor R N Ravi. Ravi is also the interlocutor of the peace talks of Naga insurgent groups with the Centre.
In an official statement on Wednesday evening, the Nagaland government said that Ravi had written to the Chief Secretary of Nagaland on February 14 about having “a database of State Government employees’ family members and relatives in underground organisations”.
The letter from Ravi “required every Government employee to make a self declaration in a format which was enclosed along with the letters”. “The letter desired members of the Police Department to be segregated and furnished separately. The letter further directed the Home Commissioner to keep hard copies of the declaration and a soft copy to be sent to the Governor’s Office by 2nd April, 2020,” the state government statement said.
The statement added that a reminder letter was received by the office of the Nagaland Chief Secretary from Ravi’s office on June 24, 2020.
“The decision of the Government to issue the Office Memorandum dated 7th July, 2020 was made on the direction of the Honourable Governor which was deliberated by the State Cabinet in its meeting held on 3rd July, 2020,” the government statement said.
The Nagaland government statement comes days after the NSCN-IM, the largest and the most influential Naga group in talks with Centre, reacted to the directive saying that it was “one retrograde step worked out insidiously to cripple the Naga political movement and forcefully bring the Naga political issue under the purview of ‘law and order’ issue”.
“Insulting and demeaning as it is, NSCN denounce the directives which is nothing but desperate attempt to browbeat Naga freedom fighters into submission. Such a despicable directive stands incompatible with the spirit of Indo-Naga peace process,” the NSCN-IM had said.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that an office memorandum issued by the Home Department of the Nagaland government dated July 7 had asked all its employees to self-declare if any of their family members and relatives are members of underground organisations. It was seen as a step to bolster the law and order situation in the state which had come under sharp criticism by Governor RN Ravi. The NSCN-IM is the largest and most influential Naga group in talks with the Centre for which Ravi is the interlocutor.
In a letter dated June 16 to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Ravi came down harshly on the state government over the existing law and order situation in the state. Pointing out “rampant extortions and violence”, Ravi had alleged that “armed gangs” were running their parallel governments “challenging the legitimacy of the state government”. In response to Ravi’s letter, the state government had said his assessment was not “factual”.
The NSCN-IM statement criticised Ravi, alleging that “all of sudden he has become no less than a dullard by trying to use the Nagas as dumb driven cattle”. “But Nagas, and NSCN for that matter, will not allow Ravi to have his way to diminish the Naga political issue as mere ‘law and order problem’,” the statement added.
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