UNCERTAIN FUTURE

NEPS EDITORIAL

Nagaland had never witnessed the amount of public protest that had taken place ever since TR Zeliang Government made a Cabinet announcement on 31 January 2017 to hold the Urban Local Body (ULB) elections in 12 Towns Councils while postponing in seven Municipal and Town councils for two months. The ULBs elections were slated for 1 February 2017. Within hours of the Cabinet decision, violence broke out in Dimapur and Longlen. Two persons were shot dead while one injured at Longlen, and he later succumbed to injuries. Many received injuries. This unfortunate loss of lives had only escalated people’s protest demanding Zeliang’s resignation from the post of Chief Minister on moral ground. The situation became from bad to worse at Kohima as State Governor PB Acharya could not arrive at the Capital from Itanagar on time. Finally, the agitators torched the historic old Nagaland Assembly Complex and that brought over 20 buildings including old civil secretariat, Kohima Press Club to ashes. Zeliang, finally, resigned as Chief Minister on 19 February 2017 and NPF President Dr. Shurhozelie took over the reign as Chief Minister on 22 February 2017. This unfortunate turn of events had only caused extensive damages to apex Naga bodies like Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA). As expected, when the new Chief Minister came in, one-fourth Cabinet Ministers had been dropped creating ripples within the ruling NPF circle. He, however, continued to make his position very clear that restoring normalcy in the State was his priority. Ever since the violence broke out on the evening of 31 January 2017, the functioning of the State Government remained paralyzed as the protesters continued State-wide bandh. One of the severe forms of agitation was locking the main civil secretariat office, Kohima, and not allowing plying of Government vehicles. Zeliang was helplessly watching the raging agitations and clarified that his Government did not want to confront the agitators. His inability to run the administration for nearly three weeks was, otherwise, seen as breaking down of law and order in the State. His several attempts to hold dialogues with the leaders of JCC and NTAC could not take place as their demand was only his stepping down owning moral responsibility. Dr. Shurhozelie is seen doing some exercise towards restoring normalcy in the State as he has already announced. His immediate planning to give a platform for various communities in the State to start the dialogue for reasoning together for their future is a right step. Yet, his planning may not be that smooth as the coming State general elections due less than a year will continuously disturb him because his ruling NPF is likely to face a lot of frictions and oppositions within themselves. If he does not tactfully go, his ruling party may suffer hugely this time in the coming crucial State general elections.



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