Extortion By Naga Political Groups Makes Business ‘impossible’, Says Dr. Visier Sanyü - Eastern Mirror
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Extortion by Naga political groups makes business ‘impossible’, says Dr. Visier Sanyü

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Apr 23, 2024 11:05 pm
Dr. Visier Sanyü speaking at the 11th Cultural Day of Baptist College at Ura Academy Hall on Tuesday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Author and inaugural head of the Department of History at Nagaland University, Dr. Visier Sanyü, on Tuesday said that it has become ‘impossible’ to do business in the state because of extortion by different Naga political groups (NPGs).

He said that in the 1950s and 60s, the situation in the state was ‘horrible’ with the Indian army killing and torturing the Naga people; the situation in the 1990s was bad because the NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) were killing each other every day.

But today, a different form of violence has come, and that is extortion, he said, while responding to queries on whether an ‘insider’ could be one of the biggest threats to the Naga people’s aspiration to narrate their own story.

Addressing the 11th Cultural Day programme of Baptist College, Kohima and Sechü on Tuesday at Ura Academy Hall, Sanyü said: “The multiplication of Naga factions, probably 25 groups now, is torturing the public. Some of them tried to fight for Naga rights and Naga self-determination but many of them, when they can’t get a job, they become a colonel or captain in one of the factions and it is impossible to do business, jobs because of this extortion.”

Explaining further, Sanyü, who is also a member of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, said that there have always been two stories in Naga story — the Nagaland state version of the story and the Naga people version. People who accepted the Nagaland State as a state are enjoying the money from Delhi and will always tell a different story. But people who say ‘Nagas are all Nagas’, be it from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Myanmar or Manipur will have a different story, he said, adding that it would take time for the two versions to come together.

Students performing folk songs and dance during the 11th Cultural Day of Baptist College at Ura Academy Hall, on Tuesday. (EM Images)

Further, Sanyü said that the Global Naga Forum, of which he is an advisor, recently participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

On behalf of the Nagas, the forum raised the demand for restoration of the Free Movement Regime, dropping the Indo-Myanmar border fencing project and repealing of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Besides that, it also called for an immediate end to the Myanmar Junta’s conscription of Naga civilians, stating that recruiting the Nagas in Myanmar to join the junta was akin to giving them a ‘death sentence’.

Speaking on the theme ‘Engaging with Indigeneity’, he called upon the students to know their rights, customs, culture, traditions and ‘our connection with our land’ and use them to tell their own stories and preserve their identity as a people.

Stating that ‘silencing the narrative’ is the easiest way to destroy one’s culture, he told the students to be “aware of your indigenousness, your indigenous culture and be rooted in your culture and have a strong foundation”.

“The most important thing is that you can tell your own story not by outsiders. Because someone else is telling your story of who you are and what you should be and that is destroying you,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, the Interim Principal of Baptist College, Dr. Kewepfuzu Lohe, said the day was observed not only to promote or preserve the culture; but the focus was changing one’s lifestyle from undesirable to desirable and called upon the students to re-examine themselves.

While culture is a learning process from internal and external factors, he said the impact of external factors is stronger than the internal.

According to Lohe, the best things Nagas adopted from external factors are formal education, written documents and Christianity.

He also pointed out the need to relook at external forces that degrade one’s lifestyle and urged the students to decide to adopt cultures that can contribute to good health and a bright future.

Other highlights of the programme included folk song competition, indigenous games and music among the students, and screening of a TakeOne Production film. 

Also read: DCCI to impose indefinite shutter down in Dimapur from April 26

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Apr 23, 2024 11:05:23 pm
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