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Op-Ed

Justice: A distant dream for the poor

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By EMN Updated: Sep 07, 2013 8:34 pm
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Viputo L Chophi

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ROM my school days I was always fascinated by guns and person carrying guns(police, armies and undergrounds) and during those times I had a notion that everything comes from the barrel of the gun(freedom, justice, wealth, fame etc.). Tethered to this intransigent mentality somehow even helped to complete my graduation. I had a firm belief that if I had a gun in my hand maybe one day I can trigger for the oppressed and the suppressed. Since our society from long ago until now is being submerged under the shadow of a gun. My perception in this changed because of one incident that I came across two years back. It so happened that I happen to visit one of my friends in a village some few kilo-meters away from Dimapur. There I just happen to meet an old lady. During our conversation she narrated one of the most unfortunate and inhuman act being perpetuated upon her by the village chief.
This is her story as narrated and my analysis and presumption related to her case. This article is not related to any disputes but taking this opportunity as a platform for constructive writes I am pressed to present this. Her paddy field was sold off by the village chief whom her late mother and she have been cultivating since 1974. The village chief sold off her plot of land on the pretext by applying “Doctrine of lapse” since she has no sons of her own, that was the basic ground for her losing her land. This is a barbaric and a brutal act because that old lady is handicapped as well. How can a chief who should be looking after the welfare of his subject do such an act of greediness.
No Customary Law gives the right to the chief to grab or snatch away a poor mans bread. As proclaimed by the founder of the village in the year 1995 that “henceforth no individual or the G.Bs shall meddle in the properties of an old lady. The proclamation by the Chief thus become a law and for which the old lady even organised a prayer service for thanks giving and there are also living witnesses alive who attainted the prayer service. And having continuously ignored her pleas for her right she approached the highest court of justice but that too was denied. Because it is the rich and powerful that always inherits the justice. Her case was politicize since the chairman of the judicial board happens to be the brother of former minister, so to gain political favour the old lady was denied justice. She had to bear the injustice because she is poor and meek. She is still weeping over her lost and surely God won’t let her tears go in vain.
Last week I paid her a visit and her condition is still pathetic. Such kind of atrocities even going to the extend of taking her last piece of bread displays the diabolic nature of the village G.Bs and the Chairman of the judicial board diverting justice to the rich and wealth represent the unethical and violation of basic principle scale and weight of justice. Our society has begun to loose the sweet legacy of our forefathers. Why should we let this constitutional law or customary law confuse us. If we had applied the basic Christian Law of love, kindness and forgiveness surely we may not confront such kind of issues. A simple reminder to those people who are enjoying at cost of the poor and the weak. “Today you may drive miles and miles with those luxury cars just for recreation and enjoyment but lets not also forget that God is a God of justice who patiently waits, who knows your sons and daughters may just walk miles and miles bear footed just to get a piece of bread, the sweat and the tears of the poor whom we have shed will reflect or bounce back to us.
I don’t have the authority to question the integrity of the W.S.K.H but when the motto “Protection is our first duty” is concerned, who’s protection are we mentioning here. Is it protection for the G.Bs from humiliation or embarrassment or is it protection for the poor unprotected public from the powerful hands of the G.Bs.
I am writing this not to gain publicity but because of my conviction to tell the many stories that go unheard. Its better to live and fight for justice for the poor rather then being a hero among the rich and powerful who only talk about it. I feel duty bound to write this because of my choice.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 07, 2013 8:34:31 pm