A few years ago, an interesting debating point was put forward in the local media on whether Nagas need a dictator to rule over them given our scant regard for the rule of law, indiscipline and weak authority of the present State government/s. Obviously there is going to be merit in the argument that we need a strong authority of law. However since ours is a democratic system of governance, a dictatorship may not be acceptable. What we can atleast do is to strengthen the hands of our government. Our government should also assert its authority and do the needful in enforcing the rule of law. Earlier in this column, we had commented about the weakening of governments—the shrinking authority and that governments were no longer the epitome of authority that it is actually meant to be—seeking obedience of its subjects, performing its duty of providing security and order, its justice dispensing role, providing various services and welfare measures and ensuring the greatest good of the greatest number. At one level, the incompetence of our governments is best reflected in the diktats and threats put out by numerous non-state actors. In Nagaland these include the thousands of unions, organizations, the numerous villages, tribal hohos etc. It seems our government/s simply don’t have the courage or the will to enforce its authority. Then in something that is unique to the Nagas, we have several other power centers or parallel governments operating. It is not surprising therefore that many people are losing faith in the government to deliver justice. And unless our government wake up and start performing its assigned duty, its very credibility will further erode. Recently a youth organization enforced restriction on movement of public transport going towards Manipur state protesting against the Manipur government. The Nagaland State government could merely watch in silence as the youths dictated the situation. This is just one instance showing the incompetence of our governments. Civil society groups or student bodies conducting verification drives of non-locals is another good example of how the government has almost become defunct.
Actually the government has issued a notification, which perhaps it has forgotten, pointing out that such verification drives have no legal basis. Other then dispersing salaries, the government is failing to fulfill its assigned duties. Now only a few months back another notification was issued by the Nagaland government to clamp down on road blockades etc. The notification issued by the Chief Secretary had rightly noted that such activities have serious implications for maintenance of Rule of Law and of public order in the State. The notification was made in the backdrop of disturbing trends whereby village communities, NGOs or a group of people had been resorting to road blockage, ban on vehicular movement or restrictions on the use of highways, public roads, or other public properties as a means of settling local disputes and differences. The notification in fact had done well to remind people that all roads in the State viz. National Highways, State Highways, District roads and other public roads are constructed by the Government by using public funds to provide infrastructure for the use of all members of the public for movement without obstruction from any quarter. What happened to this assertion of authority? What is the fate of the notification? Has it been all forgotten or gathering dust in the files? Did the government actually take steps to ensure that the content of such notification were being properly disseminated so that people are informed, educated and also persuaded to respect the law? The respective Deputy Commissioners could have been perhaps entrusted to make good the notification. Obviously our government is suffering from amnesia.
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