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Taxis remain off Kohima roads in protest of murder

By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 07, 2017 11:56 pm

“If we take the lives of the culprits, we would not be different from them”, ANTA official reasons with mob

An ANTA official seen reasoning with the mob on Thursday in Kohima.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Sep. 7 (EMN): Taxis in Kohima remained off the road for the second consecutive day on Thursday as the members of All Nagaland Taxi Association (ANTA) protested against the killing of one of their members, Swüdüve Nakro.
Earlier today, the protesters gathered outside the Indoor TT Stadium, shouting slogans of resentment at the crime meted to their comrade and some even demanded the police to hand over the three accused to them.
“My brother and friend was (sic) slaughtered like an animal. Why should I keep quiet? Tomorrow it could be me or any of my friends. Where is our safety or security?” said an irate protester, while another pointed out that late Swüdüve’s was the second case this year involving killing of taxi drivers. He said taxi drivers were not safe anymore to carry out their services, particularly at night and when transporting passengers out of town.
Another member said when taxi drivers barely earn a living to run their families, they were at constant risk of being targeted by unscrupulous persons under the guise of hiring their taxis. Stating that he was a father of two small children, he expressed insecurity of the future of his children if he suffered similar fate like his friend Swüdüve and other taxi driver victims before him.
Later, addressing the crowd, ANTA president Vibasetuo Solo pointed out that it was irrational to demand to the police to hand over the accused although everyone was angry over what had happened to their comrade and many of them wanted retribution. He reminded them that Nagaland is a Christian state and as Christians, they must carry out restrain.
“If we take the lives of the culprits, we would not be different from them. We would also become culprits ourselves,” he reasoned with the irate protesters.
He said ANTA had on September 4, demanded that the law enforcers bring to book all the culprits involved in the killing of its member Swüdüve within 7 days, and the police has promptly fulfilled that demand by apprehending all the three culprits. On the association’s demand for providing ex-gratia to the victim’s family, he said the district administration has assured that it was being looked into.
Solo also reiterated ANTA’s stand that under no circumstances should any of the accused be granted bail, and anyone trying to bail them out would be doing so at his/her own risk; that culprits should be awarded with severe punishment; and ensuring safety and security of taxi drivers.
Maintaining that the association has made its demands clear, he asserted that they were not demanding the impossible, so they must now allow the law to take it’s own course.
The ANTA president also reminded the members that at this point of time, they will not gain anything from calling bandhs and it would only inconvenience the public.
“When our demands are not met, we will take to protests, but for now, let us wait….,” he stated.
Another ANTA official made a brief tribute to late Swüdüve, saying the late ANTA member, a father of 5 minor children, was a hardworking and an honest man who sincerely tried to eke a living to run his family. He stated that ANTA members were gathered today to make the public know of their resentment towards the crime committed by the three accused- Toishe Aye, Daniel Yimchunger and Avito Zhotso.
He acknowledged the police for swift action in apprehending the culprits, and the public who ‘came and stood for our cause’ on Wednesday. The ANTA official also reiterated that in the event any of the accused were bailed out, they should be ‘prepared for any eventuality’.
The crowd was dispersed before noon and no untoward incident was reported.
Interacting with media persons later, the sub-divisional police officer (south) Atu Zumvü said there should be no delay in the proceeding of the case as all the accused were arrested. He said the three accused were in police remand and a ‘joint interrogation’ will be conducted at the earliest. On the organizations’ demand regarding granting bail of the accused, he said the matter was now the lookout of the court. “The least we (police) can do is submit a bail objection to the court and hope it would consider it,” he added.
On the safety and security for taxi drivers, the police officer said this was needed not only for drivers but for passengers as well. He said the matter was being discussed and is hopeful that it would be taken up at the government level. The initial step that was being recommended, he said, is establishing prepaid taxi service booth.

NSCN (K) denies involvement
Caught in the middle of a raging controversy – involving the murder of a Kohima-based taxi driver – the NSCN (K) on Thursday claimed that those accused persons indentified by the police as members of the group were not true.
The group issued a press release on Thursday stating that it was ‘disturbed’ to learn the police has identified ‘two of the three arrested criminal linked to the recent murder of the taxi driver Swuvedo Nakro’ as members of the outfit.
“The NSCN/GPRN would like to set the record straight in all fairness basing absolutely on the facts. That, the accused Daniel Yimchunger came defecting to our government claiming as ‘sergeant major’ way back in the year 2013 but while being kept under observation/probation awaiting confirmation by the GHQ and even before the new Naga Army Registration No. could be issued, he was arrested by the security forces from Kohima and sentenced to years of imprisonment, since then no association with our government in any capacity whatsoever was ever maintained.
“It is also ascertained that Daniel was released from the prison but chose not to join our formation and was again rearrested somewhere in the middle of 2015 again from Kohima and had been in jail ever since long after the NSCN’s abrogation of cease fire. The rest of his activities since then remains unknown and of no concern, therefore the recovery of NSCN’s tax challans implies that he is one among many extortionists committing crimes especially in and around Kohima and Dimapur in the guise of NSCN cadre by taking advantage of our restricted physical mobility,” the statement read.
The claim that the other accused person, Toishe Aye was a ‘captain’ in the NSCN/GPRN setup was extremely illogical and a very pathetic self-acclamation, it stated. “Toishe is an established regular criminal and had been apprehended by Kohima and Dimapur urban commands of NSCN/GPRN prior to 2015 on several occasions for issuing threats, extortions and committing other petty criminal offences using NSCN name.
“Since the accused being non-Sumi in origin, the NSCN went to the extent of tracing his parents and were given intimation of the final warning and quit notice (Dimapur and Kohima) issued to Toishe but was rebutted as Toishe having already been disowned even by the Sumi foster parents. Toishe was never recruited, trained, enrolled or not even a defector absorbed into Naga Army formation at any point of time,” it stated.
The NSCN (K), it stated, was very clear of its position ‘and unequivocally denies involvement of any of its cadres in the heinous murder’.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 07, 2017 11:56:22 pm