ACAUT parades Shadow Gallery for fuel racketeers
Nagaland police to constitute SIT probe
DIMAPUR, JULY 14 : It was a democratic and peaceful protest, more of a “spiritual warfare” that was staged at the department of Food and Civil Supplies in Dimapur. On Thursday, a number of likeminded citizens gathered in protest against the recent fuel adulteration racket busted by the Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) of Nagaland.
The event was part of the ACAUT’s statewide fuel-outlet-picking drive on July 14. Fuel depots in Kohima and Phek were also picketed during the drive.
The ACAUT’s convener Joel Nillo Rengma addressed media persons during the event. The activist clarified that the gathering at the F&CS premises was more of a ‘prayer appeal’ to the department. Every fuel outlet is under suspicion unless proven otherwise, he said. He reminded that the F&CS ought to be checking the outlets for anomalies, in fact.
The department can continue with their internal investigation but the ACAUT will not accept their conclusion as it will be just ‘whitewash,’ he said.
‘We want the Dimapur police and the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) to investigate and the SVC to take cognizance of the issue and spell the issue in a transparent manner.’
However, Rengma questioned the ‘technical aspects’ that might be preventing the SVC from taking ‘suo moto cognizance’ of the case.
‘We will wait on the government’s response after which there will be a drastic change,’ the ACAUT leader assured.
“We are against the kingpins of the fuel adulteration and our concern is with them and not the petrol pump owner. People should not make it a personal issue,” he maintained. He also clarified on the people’s confusion about the ACAUT picketing petrol pumps. He sought attention to the fact that in Nagaland, most of the business establishments were in the names of Naga person, but the businesses are actually run by non-Naga persons. He termed it a “proxy trade” for selfish interests and illegal.
The five fuel outlets of Dimapur picketed by ACAUT–at Phirema, Essar 7th mile, NRL 2 and half mile, Essar near West police station and Essar Duncan Bosti–were painted with placards and banners with photos of the alleged kingpins of fuel adulteration. The usually crowded petrol pumps wore a deserted look except for volunteers and police personnel.
Also, Lotha Baptist Church’s Associate Pastor Yanbemo Lotha remarked that the department should be courageous enough to serve justice. He pointed out that because of the system ‘at the higher level,’ the department was ‘handicapped in delivering justice.’
‘But this should not be the excuse for the department,’ Lotha said. Taking a jibe at the minister in-charge, the church leader called on the politician in concern ‘to execute his duties not just in words but in action equally.’
“We are surprised that the state government is sitting idle even after being caught red-handed. It is also a clear indication that the NPG’s are involved in the racket. If they are honestly working for the nation, they should be at the forefront checking corruptions in the state” expressed a concerned citizen.
Another citizen called on Nagaland’s chief minister to resign on moral grounds for his involvement in the racket.
Members of the ACAUT also picketed various fuel outlets in Kohima.
According to the media cell of the ACAUT, eight fuel outlets were picketed along with the office of F&CS department, Dimapur. The media cell further reported that the day’s program was peaceful.
At Kohima, the ACAUT members picketed K. Enterprise, Imphal Road, Dzüvürü (Mohonkhola). Around 20 members assembled at the depot and stayed for hours, it was informed.
In Phek, the ACAUT members assembled at the Indian Oil of Phek town in support of the initiative taken by the central ACAUT. Reportedly, over 60 members assembled during the time of picketing which was held from 10 am and till 12 noon. .
In Wokha, Joel Nillo Kath informed that the picketing program could not be carried out today. Talking to Eastern Mirror over the phone, one of Wokha’s ACAUT members said that they had decided to picket the fuel outlets during the second phase.
Replying as to why it could not be carried out, he said there was miscommunication with the central ACAUT. He said that the other team received the information late. ‘We were left with very little time to organize the program, so they decided to conduct it during the second phase.’
SIT to probe fuel adulteration racket
Responding to ACAUT’s initiative in keeping a check on the sale of adulterated oil at fuel outlets, the Nagaland government has decided to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to ‘look into the matter.’
Talking to Eastern Mirror over the phone, Director General of Nagaland Police LL Doungel said that the decision to form the SIT was taken during the chief minister’s ‘review meeting’ that was held in the CM’s residential office in Kohima town.
“The picketing at fuel outlets carried out by ACAUT within public domain shows that it is getting a lot of support,” the DGP said adding that the government will respond positively in joining hands with ACAUT to stop the sale of adulterated oil in Nagaland.
Besides the chief minister and the police chief, Home Minister Y Patton and Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar, among others, attended the meeting, it was informed.