Undemocratic Poll

As a people known for their honesty and hard work, rooted in a culture of individual integrity and society’s solidarity, Nagas today find themselves in the grip of alien systems, which we are unable to come to terms with. The western political concepts of majority democracy and elections because of their fixation with materialism and power struggles, has spawned a vicious cycle of greed, antagonisms, exploitation and social anarchy. And this is best demonstrated during so called ‘democratic elections’ that we are witnessing today in Nagaland. This is indeed a travesty of truth—politics without principles; wealth without work; business without morality; knowledge without character and power without conscience. This is the sorry state of affairs that plague us today.

The despicable resort to intimidation and muscle power during electioneering in Nagaland is a cause for concern and needs to be condemned by all right thinking people. While supporters of various political parties and the respective candidates have every right to campaign in a peaceful and democratic manner, any form of intimidation and resort to violence goes against the tenets of a civilized society. As such, reports of large scale violence reported from Mokokchung district is a matter of concern deserving urgent attention of the concerned authorities and civil society. The State government must be reminded again to ensure free and fair polls and that no untoward incident occurs, which may lead to loss of life and damage to property. 

What was most shameful of those resorting to violence yesterday was the complete disrespect shown to the goodwill gesture of the Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (Ao Baptist Churches Council) who had only hours earlier conducted a prayer fellowship at Impur (landmark of Christianity) with all the candidates for the coming assembly election under Mokokchung district present. Ironically, election related violence, with particular reference to Mokokchung district, and the appeal to abhor from it was a major subject that found space in each of the candidates’ ‘prayer points’. Likewise, the message from the Church to the invited candidates was to revere and adhere to Christian principles.

It is with great dismay that we note the series of poll related violence reported from across the State particularly Mokokchung district, considered to be among the first to receive the benefits of education and Christianity. As a matter of fact, the first sign of violence much ahead of the coming assembly election was reported from Tuli under Mokokchung district. And as election draws nearer, this so called forward looking district among the Nagas is at the center of most poll related violence taking place in the State. This is something that the Nagas in general and the Aos in particular should not be proud of. 

It is equally distressing to note the involvement of armed cadres belonging to the underground groups freely partaking in the frenzy and lure of money. Force and coercion cannot be allowed to determine the outcome of choosing people’s representative and therefore the involvement of armed cadres using intimidation and bullying tactics is completely unacceptable. It is surprising that although the underground groups have officially declared not to involve in the current electioneering process, yet it is an open secret that this stand to remain apolitical is turning out to be a sham. It also goes to show that either there is confusion in the rank and file of the concerned organization or worse still, it shows that the top rung leaders are not able to exercise command and control over their wayward cadres. The UG leadership should show more seriousness to enforce its own decision. Also there is a need for everyone to remain vigilant against those who propagate a culture of violence driven by their ideology of power by any means.