Rio-led Cabinet discuss Tuensang incident with ENPO leaders
Dimapur/Kohima, June 6 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio along with his cabinet ministers on Saturday held a meeting with representatives of the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) with regard to the alleged violation of standard operating procedure (SOP) while sending off Tuensang-bound returnees from Kohima.
A highly reliable source informed Eastern Mirror that the ENPO had submitted two representations to the state government demanding immediate disciplinary action against official(s) responsible for sending Tuensang returnees before their results were confirmed.
The source said that the government’s failure to act on the representations prompted the ENPO to write to Governor RN Ravi on June 2, ‘after which the state government took cognisance and held the meeting’.
The chief secretary had, on May 30, announced that a three-member judicial inquiry committee (JIC) has been formed to probe the matter and submit the report in 15 days, in response to the demand of the ENPO. This, the source said, did not go well with the ENPO.
“The ENPO did not ask for formation of a JIC but demanded that strict action be taken against the officials,” said the source.
“The government said they will provide a written assurance that the inquiry will not take more than 15 days; will be completed within 15 days under any circumstances,” informed the source.
“The ENPO has demanded that whatever it is, the official concerned should not go unpunished,” shared the source.
Confirming about the meeting to media persons, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton said that the cabinet had appealed to the ENPO members to wait for the report of the judicial inquiry committee (JIC) that has been allotted 15 days to submit its report.
“The ENPO had agreed to that, so let us wait for the enquiry committee report,” he said.
The president of ENPO, Kekongchim Yimchunger, while interacting with journalists after the meeting at Nagaland Civil Secretariat said, “Based on the representation submitted to the government on May 28, we had given three days after which there was no response from the government, because our representation clearly stated we need disciplinary actions against the erring official.”
He said, “The government instead of taking action had constituted a JIC, directing the committee to submit the report within 15 days, which we were not satisfied with. So we went seeking for the governor’s intervention. The governor had accordingly written to the state government, after which the latter had called for a discussion with ENPO and the cabinet.”
“So after deliberation for two hours, seeing the technical problems faced by the government, we decided that we will agree to it. However, we demanded the government to give us in writing that there will be no extension (of time) for the committee,” the president said.
Reiterating the ENPO’s demand, Yimchunger said, “Because we have seen in many incidents that after setting up of a committee it lands nowhere, no actions have been initiated against the erring officials, they just vanish in a few years; so we don’t want this thing to happen in this issue.
“For that matter we have asked assurance from the cabinet, from the government, that action will be initiated against those erring officials based on the recommendation of the JIC. So we are waiting for the written assurance from the government.”
He asserted that there is neither politics nor tribalism in the issue.
“Maybe even my own ENPO will be involved, who knows? We are not going to protect (anyone) because we are not going in a tribal line; so whoever he or she may be, be it from ENPO or be it from another community, action has to be taken against the erring official,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, the president informed that the cabinet ministers and Eastern Nagaland Legislators Union were present during the meeting.
He said that the chief minister had requested ENPO leaders to wait for the JIC report as the government had set up the committee, and it would initiate action based on the report submitted.
When queried if the ENPO had accepted the apology tendered by the government with regard to the issue, the president asserted that they had accepted the apology.
“But in this matter, apology alone does not work because if this kind of mistake continues even in the future also, where shall we land? Once the government takes a stern action against any erring officials then even those working—be it in the war room, or be it in the department whoever it is, they will learn a lesson and they will be careful in the future,” he said.
Yimchunger further reiterated that the ENPO is not going to compromise in this matter and said, “We are going on a tour on Tuesday (June 9) so we will advise all the tribes (within ENPO) in this regard and create some awareness regarding this Covid-19 issue.”
“Even after the JIC report is submitted, if ENPO is not satisfied, we will take up the next course of action,” he said, adding that the ‘kind of action to be initiate against the erring officials’ depend on the state government and the provisions of relevant law.
“Our people are refusing to take patients due to the very less medical fraternity (sic) in our area,” the ENPO president said.
He also went on to say that the road conditions add more woe while transferring patients or samples collected for tests.
“No matter, the hospitals are being converted into Covid-19 hospitals but we cannot rely on those facilities. Moreover, minimum manpower—shortage of doctors, nurses. So in that regard, the ENPO had decided to go for an official tour in every district to take stock of the situation with our own eyes. So that we can come back and apprise the state government what actually has to be done,” the president said.