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Assault on Peaceful Co-existence (Nagaland, India)
an article by Along Longkumer, Consulting Editor, Morung Express (abridged)

We need to speak out against the culture of violence and intolerance that has come to grip us. Reports of physical violence and assault meted out to innocent civilians from time to time by gun toting elements in our society is disturbing and must be condemned.

click on photo to enlarge

A few weeks back, a former student leader from Eastern Nagaland was abused and assaulted by armed cadres allegedly belonging to one of the Naga political group. Now there are reports of similar assault being meted out to a young Naga entrepreneur in another incident. What is a matter of deep concern is that on both occasion, there was a resort to draw distinction along tribal lines. We are faced with several ailments and tribalism, which is destroying the very fabric of the Naga society, is one of them. Let none of us forget what happened in the aftermath of the August 31, 2012 incident at Kohima and the subsequent tribal violence that spread to Dimapur and its surroundings on September 1, 2012. The Naga Hoho had described it as “one of the darkest moments in the annals of Naga history”. That is how bad tribalism can manifest itself in if Nagas are not careful.

The question is, have we learned our lesson from what happened on August 31 or September 1, 2012? How serious are we to protect the harmony and peaceful coexistence of the diverse Naga family? Interestingly, the State government has never told us anything about the report submitted by the fact finding committee while the public also seem uninterested. At least we should know what the suggestions put forward are on “How such incidence can be avoided in future”. . .

Coming back to the culture of violence, this has unfortunately come to symbolize Naga society. To begin with, the frontline civil societies led by the Naga Hoho must do more. Concern groups like the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) should also not merely sit and watch the deterioration of human rights from within. We have to go beyond ceasefires, peace processes and political dialogue. The recent high handedness of the Assam Rifles in Kiphire has been rightly condemned. Even the Naga Blog, consisting of young Nagas, have taken to the street and also demanded repealing of the Armed Forces Specials Powers Act (AFSPA). The point is, equal attention needs to be given to other ills plaguing Naga society. We seem to be okay to pass off assaults by Naga armed cadres on civilians as just fine. But this is so wrong. If Nagas expect others to honour our human rights, democracy and rule of law then we must also practice the same including amongst us. How do we build a culture of peace and human rights among the Nagas? These are vital issues that will require a meaningful intervention by all concerned —from the tribal bodies to human rights group to mothers, tribal hohos, church, political parties and national workers.


Question(s) related to this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Community plays a important role in developing culture peace. We should promote our cultural values by interacting with each other and making these values part of our daily lives. A good example of this would be raising our children according to beliefs and values which are important for us and our cultural peace. We can also promote cultural peace by making small commuinties within big community and share different ideas and bring new ones in.

This report was posted on May 5, 2013.