Kohima, July 25 (IANS) The controversy over the Nagaland government employees' self-declaration, in writing, on whether they have any family members or close relatives in the insurgent groups, is hotting up even as various organisations slammed the state governor.
Following Governor R.N. Ravi's advice, in an unprecedented move the Nagaland government recently asked all its employees to declare, in writing, if they have any family members or close relatives in the various insurgent groups. A Nagaland Home Department official on Saturday said that the state government reiterated that the "Office Memorandum" issued on July 7 relating to the declaration about family members in insurgent groups was issued on the direction of the governor.
"The state government clarified its stand on July 22, that the letter of this direction (of Governor) was sent to the Chief Secretary from the Commissioner and Secretary to Governor on February 14, asking for the information to be furnished by April 2, 2020.
"A reminder letter was received from the Governor's office on June 24, 2020 requesting that the information be furnished urgently for the perusal of the Governor," the official told IANS. He said that it was further clarified that the term "underground organisations" used in the July 7 "Office Memorandum" was as conveyed by Raj Bhavan. "The state government had used the term 'Naga political organisations' in its press release on July 22."
The state government on Friday clarified its stand on "Naga political organisations" and "insurgent groups" following the reactions from extremist outfits, traditional and civil society groups to the order asking all government employees to mention about their relatives in "underground organisations".
In an official release on July 24, the Nagaland government led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that the term "underground organisations" used in its July 7 office memorandum was "as conveyed by the Raj Bhavan".
"Order relating to filling up the self-declaration form listing such family members and relatives was issued on the direction of Governor R.N. Ravi," the Rio government had said and clarified that the state government, in which the Bharatiya Janata Party is an ally, has always used the term "Naga political organisations" for the extremist groups.
Ravi, a former IPS officer who became the governor of Nagaland in August last year, is also the Centre's interlocutor in the 23-year-old peace talks with Naga extremist groups, including the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
Recently, Ravi had written to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on the "deterioration of law and order in the state". The Nagaland government, however, in a series of statements, claimed that the situation is normal and even law and order has improved of late.
The NSCN (IM) and the Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups comprising seven rival groups had on July 21 criticised the "profiling" of government employees' kin as a "retrograde step" to "cripple the Naga political movement and forcefully bring the Naga political issue under the purview of law and order issue."
The Naga Hoho, the powerful apex body of all tribe-based organisations in Nagaland and the influential Naga Mothers' Association also criticised the governor's directive.
These organisations said that Ravi's handling of the Naga political issue undermined the efforts of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government in signing the "historic" Framework Agreement in August 2015.
In another development four Naga civil bodies in Manipur recently submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, demanding his intervention in bringing the Naga political talks to their logical conclusion at the earliest based on the history and practical perspective of the Nagas. The four organisations include the United Naga Council, All Naga Students Association Manipur, Naga Women Union and Naga People Movement for Human Rights.
The NSCN (IM), which has held several rounds of negotiations with the government in Delhi as well as outside India after signing a ceasefire pact in August 1997, is one of the most influential rebel groups in the northeastern region.