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Nagaland asks govt staff to declare if kin are members of underground outfits

Written by Abhishek Saha
| Guwahati |

Published: July 10, 2020 7:24:53 am

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra/file)

The Nagaland government has asked all its employees to self-declare if any of their family members and relatives are members of underground organisations, a senior state official told The Indian Express on Thursday.

The office memorandum issued by the Home Department of the Nagaland government dated July 7 is seen as a step to bolster the law and order situation in the state which came under sharp criticism weeks earlier by Governor RN Ravi.

In the memorandum, Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy wrote, “As per instructions, all the administrative heads of departments and all the heads of the departments are directed to obtain information in the self-declaration form attached herewith from all government servants under his/her department/office regarding family members and relatives in underground organisations…”

The self-declaration form comprises five questions: whether there is any family member or close relative in any Naga underground organisation; if yes, then the name of the person in the underground organisation, the relationship with the government employee, name of the underground organisation, and the relative’s role in the underground organisation.

The information has been sought latest by August 7.

A source in the security establishment said that such a step could make law enforcement tasks easier wherever kinships were causing complications or paving the path for unlawful activities.

In a letter dated June 16 to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Ravi, who is also the Centre’s interlocutor in the ongoing talks with Naga insurgents for a peace accord, came down harshly on the state government over the existing law and order situation in the state. Pointing out “rampant extortions and violence”, Ravi had alleged that “armed gangs” were running their parallel governments “challenging the legitimacy of the state government”.

In response to Ravi’s letter, the state government had said his assessment was not “factual”. The government statement said, “The Central Government is in a ceasefire agreement with the Naga national political groups for more than two decades and the talks are reported to have concluded in October 2019 and accordingly the people are expecting an early political solution. The State Government feels that terming the organisations as “armed gangs” may not be in the interest of the peace process and may not be congenial to the achievement of lasting peace which is the desire of both the GoI and the State government.”

The NSCN-IM, the largest and most influential Naga group in talks with the Centre, responded to the letter, saying it does not commit extortion but levies “legitimate taxes” on people.

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