Law and order situation grim in state: Nagaland Governor

"​​The constitutionally established state government is being challenged on a day to day basis by the armed gangs, who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, while instruments of law and order remain totally unresponsive. In such a ...

Agencies
Interlocutor of Naga talks, Ravi was appointed as Governor of Nagaland in 2019.
Citing collapse of law and order, Nagaland governor R. N Ravi in a letter to chief minister Neiphiu Rio has proposed important law and order decisions like transfers and postings of officials will be only after the former's approval.

The Governor, in a letter dated June 16, stated the scenario in the state is grim.

"The constitutionally established state government is being challenged on a day to day basis by the armed gangs, who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, while instruments of law and order remain totally unresponsive. In such a backdrop I can no longer abstain from my Constitutional obligations for law and order in the state under Article 371 A(1 (b) of the constitution of India,” he said.


“I also propose to periodically review the law and order in the state and issue required lawful directions. In order to instil and ensure accountability, I also prefer to review the Annual performance appraisal reports of all such officers,” he added.

Interlocutor of Naga talks, Ravi was appointed as Governor of Nagaland in 2019.

“I have been closely observing the precarious law and order situation in the State with a lot of concern ever since August 2019 when I came here as the Governor. Day by day unrestrained depredations by half a dozen organised armed gangs, brazenly running their respective so called government challenging the legitimacy of the state government without any resistance from the state law and order machinery has created a crisis of confidence in the system. Law abiding citizens – be they daily wage earners, petty vendors, businessmen, shop-keepers, owners of restaurants or government servants are made miserable by rampant extortions and violence by the armed gangs,” he said.
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He elaborated that the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the armed miscreants appoint their own dealers for every commodity from salt to construction materials coming into the state. They decide and levy illegal taxes on every item. They run syndicates for contrabands including alcoholic drinks which they help smuggle into the state.

“Transporters have complained to me that there is over 200% cost escalation in transportation the moment a goods-laden truck enters Nagaland due to gun point extortions by the armed miscreants,” he further said.

He pointed that civil society organisations, at their own risk to their members, have also been raising voices. “I have received several representations of public for intervention and relief because the state law and order machinery does not act.”

In the letter, the Governor stated there is a steady slide of Nagaland in all parameters – road connectivity, health and education infrastructures and livelihood are attributed to siphoning off a large chunk of government funds meant for development. The report ending March 2018 of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India bears distributing testimony of massive leakage of funds with impunity across the departments.”
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He added that during the periodic monitoring of the construction of National highways, the NHIDCL authorities and project contractors have frequently complained of the armed gangs stopping the work unless 5 to 7 percent of the project cost is given to them as ransom.

"There have been instances of kidnapping and assault on project engineers and managers for defiance or delay in ransom payment. They have informed how the construction company officials are summoned to the Dimapur offices of the armed gangs for payments and negotiations," he said.
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He continued that reports of the forest department revealed rampant encroachment and deforestation of forest land, including the reserve forests by armed miscreants.

“They have become audacious enough to evict the forest officials and their families from their residential houses at gunpoint and occupy the government officials’ colony for their stay and operations. They do all these brazen illegal activities without any resistance whatsoever by the law enforcement authorities of the state government. “When I asked the senior enforcement officers the reasons, they ran silent and whispered ‘direction from above’.”

Ravi said, “I did not come across a single case in which senior members of the gang had been implicated. Meanwhile, in 98% of the cases, the accused are at large or granted bail within a couple of days of arrest.

Recalling that he has raised the matter, he said, “I have raised these serious concerns in almost all our formal and informal meetings with you and the law and order officials. However, I regret to say my urges and advice at the political and bureaucratic levels have gone unheeded.”

People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) coalition government which has regional party Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and BJP as the partner is ruling the state government.

Meanwhile, troops of Indian Army in a joint operation with Arunachal Pradesh Police apprehended two cadres and an Over Ground Worker (OGW) belonging to NSCN (IM) near Zedua in Longding District of Arunachal Pradesh.
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