Deep Waters

The assassination of NSCN (K) Kilonser Ngampan Konyak in Mon on May 18 by rival cadres has not only shocked many people but the continuing spate of killings among the Naga UG factions is taking its toll on the sensibility of the ordinary people who are as much alarmed by the vicious cycle of violence as also the silence and incapacitation of the concerned authorities to respond in an appropriate manner. And except for the Naga Students Federation (NSF) and the Konyak Legislator’s forum, no other frontline organization, including the Naga Hoho has found it worthy enough to put in a word of concern over the assassination of a senior Kilonser. What is even more surprising is that the DAN government despite professing the policy of ‘equi-closeness’ finds itself too distant to even assuage the hurt feelings of the NSCN (K). The irony of it all is that though the DAN government has publicly stated on more than one occasions that ‘equi-closeness’ is to remain close with all factions, in practice, this is not happening. 

The government if it considers itself to be a legitimate one has the moral authority to take necessary action without any hesitation. However, as in the case of failure to nab the assassins of former DGP Hesso Mao, it is also highly unlikely that the assassins of Ngampan will ever be caught. The bouts of internecine clashes on a daily basis also goes to show that as far as the two factions are concerned, they are law unto themselves and that even an act of killing is a matter of right beyond reproach and guilt. This is a dangerous mindset to construct and operate on. Rather it is about time that the mindset of violence gives way to opportunities for dialogue and democratic participation while all the time respecting the realities of existing differences. Better sense should prevail over the UG groups about the realization that in a democratic discourse there is enough space for differences of opinion to co-exist without having to resort to violence.

As far as the government and the enforcement agencies goes, their failure to uphold and protect the law poses a serious question mark over the viability of the present ceasefire ground rules between the government of India and the NSCNs. The public grievance raised at different times from various quarters over the violation of ceasefire ground rules by the different UGs is a genuine one and needs immediate attention from the concerned factions, civil society, church, state agencies, security forces and government of India. The failure of the respective monitoring or supervisory boards to do their assigned task of implementing the ceasefire ground rules also raises the pertinent point that there is a need for overhauling the monitoring mechanism. While it is true that the present internal disturbances have a political dimension, it also requires that the political management of the situation must be a priority for the State government, Opposition Congress and the mass based civil society groups led by the Naga Hoho.