Assam Rifles Officer Calls For Speaking Truth; Thinking Beyond Individual Identities - Eastern Mirror
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Assam Rifles officer calls for speaking truth; thinking beyond individual identities

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Apr 18, 2023 10:11 pm
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Vikas Lakhera with participants, jury members, army officials and faculty members at Assam Rifles camp in Kohima on Tuesday. (EM Images)

Kohima: Major General Vikas Lakhera on Tuesday called for speaking the truth courageously, while lauding participants of a debate competition for engaging in the discourse with zeal and enthusiasm.

Maintaining that sentiments need to be respected, he emphasised on the need to find solutions to conflicts that have been created.

“Debate has been an essence of any society,” he said, urging the need to think beyond individual identities.

Apprising on the various programmes initiated by the Assam Rifles for the welfare of the youngsters, Lakhera assured to stand for the youth to meet their aspirations and reaffirmed their responsibilities in serving the state.

Students from nine colleges in Kohima delivered thought-provoking and argumentative speeches during the first edition of ‘Northern Sentinels Inter-College Debate Competition’ held at Assam Rifles camp, D-Block in Kohima.

The event, organised by Assam Rifles under the aegis of Inspector General of Assam Rifles – North (IGAR-N), was conducted on the topic: “Disparate Naga tribal identities are antithesis to Naga unity, and thus, a hindrance in social upliftment and economic development of Nagaland”.

Students speaking in favour of the motion observed that through favoritism and nepotism, many have been offered government jobs in Nagaland without going through the formal process, thereby, triggering tribalism.

‘Until isms such as tribalism or villagism are rid of, society is not going to move forward,’ they said, while reminding that Nagas and their community leaders need to work towards cherishing their diversity and coexistence for unity and harmony.

The students also wondered if there was unity among the various Naga tribes, citing the Eastern Naga Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) demand of Frontier Nagaland or the tussle between Mao and Angami communities need to exist, adding that many tribal groups were not working for the common good.

 “There is a psychology of my tribe and your tribe, your village and my village, which hampers the interests of all,” said the students.

‘People are resorting to narrow-mindedness when it comes to dealing with Naga affairs, while even Article 371 (A) is an obstacle for development to take place in the state,’ the debaters remarked. 

Students in favour of the topic also affirmed that due to insurgency, the tourism sector in the Northeastern states is being thwarted.

Rigidity in the Naga society has hindered development, they added.

As such, they emphasised on the need to be in tune with the modern times and change of environment.

They said although Nagas were at war with one another during the headhunting era, they began to unite after the formation of Naga National Council while they boycotted the 1952 election in the state.

The students also mentioned that the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland in 2019 witnessed over one lakh tourists, citing that such a huge turnout of visitors would have been impossible had there been no unity among the tribes. “The diversity of tribes brings diverse ideas of development and upliftment of the society,” said a student.

They said tribalism was not the root cause of corruption but the love of money that is dividing the people. The students also maintained that social and economic developments have been taking place while every year, the government is trying to initiate the same.

A panel of five judges comprising Brig. Ved Beniwal, Deputy Inspector General of IGAR (North), Dr. Mimi Kevichusa Ezung, Rita Krocha, Okenjeet Sandham, and H Chishi were present.

Kenlumle of St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Jakhama (Autonomous) won the first position in individual category while Ricky Das of Modern College Kohima and Kitokali Yeptho of Sazolie College Kohima secured second and third positions respectively.

Consolation prizes went to Sinsi Khing of St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Jakhama (Autonomous) and Konnyei Konyak of Model Christian Kohima.

Meanwhile, St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Jakhama, Sazolie College Kohima and Model Christian College Kohima won the first, second and third positions (team) respectively.

Assam Rifles has planned to conduct this event every year and has instituted a rolling shield for the same.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: Apr 18, 2023 10:11:20 pm
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