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Nagaland CM breaks silence on Guv letter, says law and order situation vastly improved


GUWAHATI: Breaking his silence after Governor RN Ravi’s stinging letter to him, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio claimed the law and order situation in the state vastly improved compared to the years preceding the Centre’s signing of ceasefire agreements with the insurgents in the 1960s and 1990s.

To prove a point, Rio told journalists that Nagaland was awarded the “Best Performing Small State in Law and Order” in 2018 and 2019 by The India Today Group State of the States survey. He said the award was testimony to the state’s improved law and order situation.

The CM said after the letter was written on June 16, the state Cabinet held a meeting at the Raj Bhawan on June 19 where the Governor read the letter in front of everyone. He said Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, who is also the state’s Home Minister, had briefed Ravi on the law and order scenario.

In the letter that got leaked on the social media, Ravi had said the unrestrained depredations by over half a dozen organized armed gangs, brazenly running their so-called “governments” and challenging the legitimacy of the state government without any resistance from the state law and order machinery, created a crisis of confidence in the system.

“Law-abiding citizens, be they daily wage earners, petty vendors, businessmen, shop-keepers, owners of restaurants, road construction companies, entrepreneurs or government servants, are made miserable by rampant extortions and violence by the armed gangs.

The state government development departments are under duress to give regular ransom to the armed gangs. ‘Town Commands’ of these gangs keep the people in towns and its neighbourhood terrorised,” Ravi, who is also the interlocutor in Naga peace talks, had written.

Subsequently, major insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM issued a statement to the media asserting that it does not extort people but levies “legitimate taxes” on them. The outfit had also asserted that it was a “legitimate organisation”.

The Working Committee, Naga National Political Groups, which is a conglomerate of other rebel groups, had also denied its involvement in any extortion activities.

It, however, admitted: “From the inception of our struggle, nominal contribution to the cause has been mandatory. The question of extortion, therefore, does not arise”.