No more afraid: Violence-weary Ao Naga community takes up the dao and spear
Mokokchung notes down bomb explosions, attack on security forces
Dimapur, May 9
The words of the English poet John Dryden stands eternal: “Beware the fury of a patient man”.
For decades, the Naga community in Nagaland has endured fear, threat, and intimidation of non-state actors, criminals with clout, and touchy law and order situations that often – in the face of weak police and district administrations – left the innocent public victimized.
But if the recent mood of the public is anything of a warning, then the violence-weary Naga community in the state no longer seem satisfied with merely watching from a distance.
Following the series of bomb explosions across the state and frequent attacks on security forces’ personnel in Nagaland, the entire community of Mokokchung has been directed by community organizations to arm themselves with ‘dao’ (the traditional warrior’s machete used both as a cutting weapon and a tool) and spears to ‘safeguard the liberties of people of the town’.
The directive of the wards’ leaderships across the town comes following a meeting on May 8 that noted the spate of violence in Nagaland, and especially in the context of the district.
A statement issued through the All Ward Union of Mokokchung Town – apex organization representing the community’s local administrations– on Saturday has asked each household to be ready with the dao, a spear, and bamboo torches.
While not elaborating or naming organizations, the Mokokchung community has noted ‘the series of bomb blasts in the recent past in the state’ and ‘frequent attack on the security personnel and reported loss of lives’. These anti-people activities are vitiating the peaceful of the State, the wards have stated.
All the ward communities of Mokokchung met in an emergency meeting on May 8, the statement from the union informed. The community deliberated about the prevailing “law and order problems in the state”, and has come to a decision that the liberties of all citizens of the town will be safeguard and protected.
Citizens have been told to respond to any instance of violence and eventualities. The people are to “report to the office of the AWUM by any chairman of the ward in the event of any unfortunate incident/violent in the ward,” the statement said.
“Further as resolved in the previous general public meeting reminders in served to the entire household to keep ready with the following: traditional bamboo torch (five bundles), Dao and spear…” the organization informed.
The public are told to “assemble in the incident reported ward” in the event of any breach of public peace.
‘All the chairmen, secretary, executive members and Gaon Bura of the respective ward are informed to co-ordinate with the All Ward Union Office Mokokchung and report immediately to do the needful if the situation demands,’ the press release added.
Kohima’s response to violence
The drastic response of the people of Mokokchung comes is similar to the response from the Kohima community following the recent violence and endangerment of public lives.
Yesterday, the Angami community issued a statement convening a meeting of the community leaderships to discuss the ‘Kohima situation’. The Angami Youth Organization convened a presidential council meeting of all Angami villages to take stock of the prevailing law and order situation in the district.
It was informed that the meeting would be on May 12. The meeting will commence at 10:00 am in the APO’s conference hall. The community leaderships will “discuss about the prevailing law and order situation in ‘Angami jurisdiction’ particularly the capital town, Kohima, the media was informed in a note issued to the media on Friday, May 8.
NAYO takes stern note: ‘Killing of security personnel endangering public’
Also, the Northern Angami Youth Organization (NAYO) has issued a statement on Saturday taking strong note of the attack, and killing, of security forces by the underground groups have no endangered the lives of the public.
The organization has reminded that the recent attacks on security forces following the underground group NSCN (K) abrogating the ceasefire with Government of India, will impact the lives of the public.
The NAYO issued a statement on May 9, reiterating its appeal to Nagaland’s law-enforcing agencies stationed in Kohima to exercise restraint in public areas when undertaking counter-insurgency operations. The security forces’ move comes in the aftermath of the ‘various shooting incidents and spate of bombings’ in the capital town as well as across the state.
After the breakdown of ceasefire between the NSCN (K) and the Government of India, the Angami organization said, the citizens of Kohima town has been gripped by a ‘visible pall of gloom and apprehension in both the urban and rural areas’ surrounding the town.
The situation, NAYO said, has further been aggravated by the recent shooting of unarmed Assam Rifles personnel near the IG stadium, and another, the killing of an Assam Rifles soldier. These attacks were in total disregard to the safety of the public, the NAYO stated.
“While NAYO is not competent to comment on the factors responsible for the abrogation of ceasefire and the subsequent resurgence of armed conflict, it is the fervent prayer of the organization and the community it represents that, permanent peace is sought for and normalcy is restored at the earliest,” the statement stated.
All the armed personnel are asked to immediately cease confronting each other behind the shield of civilians by all means, without any excuses.
Assam Rifles lauded
The NAYO also expressed appreciation for the restraint demonstrated by the Assam Rifles on May 8, where two Nagas, reported to be from the NSCN (K) were apprehended. The persons, found in possession of firearms and explosive devices, from near the police headquarters junction in the town, were apprehended by the security forces during rush hour without any lethal force, the NAYo stated in appreciation for the Assam Rifles. The NAYO has urged the central paramilitary as well as state’s forces to ‘continue exhibiting such pro-civilian operational ethics in the days to come’.
Also, the NAYO and its constituent villages have extended support to ‘every decision that has been taken by the apex Angami Youth Organization to uphold peace and tranquility under its jurisdictions’.
The organization has endorsed any course of action that the Angami youth may decide upon ‘any individual or organization, civilian or armed personnel, government or otherwise whose action and functioning proves detrimental and confronts any previous appeal(s) made by the organization’.