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Nagaland govt: Kin order on governor’s nudge

Nagaland govt: Kin order on governor’s nudge

The Nagaland government has disclosed that the decision to ask its employees to furnish information about relatives who are members of underground groups was “made on the direction” of state governor R.N. Ravi.

In a clarification on Thursday night in the “interest of maintaining transparency”, the government revealed what was behind the July 7 order issued by chief secretary Temjen Toy, directing all departmental heads to submit by August 7 the names of government employees whose family members or relatives are members of underground organisations.

The clarification comes in the wake of strong criticism by Naga groups that are part of the ongoing peace talks as well as the Naga Hoho, the apex tribal body of the state.

According to the government, the move was initiated on February 14, the day Ravi, who assumed charge as governor in August last year, had through his commissioner and secretary, written to Toy expressing his “desire” to have a database of state government employees’ family members and relatives in underground organisations.

“The letter required every government employee to make a self-declaration in a format which was enclosed along with the letters. The letter desired members of the police department to be segregated and furnished separately. The letter further directed the home commissioner to keep hard copies of the declaration and a soft copy to be sent to the governor’s office by April 2,” the government clarification stated.

The governor’s office even sent a reminder letter to the chief secretary’s office on June 24.

The government decision to issue the July 7 office memorandum was made on the “direction of the honourable governor” which was deliberated by the state cabinet in its meeting held on July 3, the clarification said.

The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) had on Tuesday said the government move was a “retrograde step” aimed at “crippling” the Naga political movement. The same day, seven other groups involved in the peace process with the Centre, under the banner of Naga National Political Groups and the Naga Hoho, voiced their opposition to the government order.

This is the second time since June that a move by Ravi has generated so much heat. The first was his June 16 letter to the chief minister highlighting the grim law and order situation in the state with over half-a-dozen armed gangs indulging in extortion, “challenging” the legitimacy of the state government by “brazenly” running their so-called governments.

The NSCN (I-M) and the NNPGs were quick to respond after Ravi’s letter got leaked on the social media on June 25, saying they don’t extort but “levy taxes for the Naga cause”. The state government on June 30 said that the governor assessment “does not appear to be factual”.

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