Saturday, March 7, 2015

Troubling questions - Nagalandpost editorial

Troubling questions

7 Mar. 2015 1:14 AM IST
What happened in Dimapur on March 5,2015 was something that should have not happened and which should have been prevented but it is now too late even for an academic debate. For yet unexplained reasons, the district administration and police allowed themselves to be caught on the wrong foot when there were clear indications that by March 3, the situation had the potential of turning into a serious law and order problem after the matter eventually came out in public domain. The lapses on the part of the district and police authorities and causes and factors that led to the shocking incidents will be addressed by the ‘High Level Committee’ as per a cabinet recommendation. The mobile videos of the rape accused being paraded naked, beaten and later after he succumbed to fatal injuries, body being dragged and also spat upon by the mob, continued to go viral and also picked up by television channels especially in Assam, where it is turning out to be highly inflammable. 

The entire nation and the world have watched the horrific scene and Nagas as a whole, are being named and shamed. There are several troubling questions that the people of Nagaland and especially the communities in Dimapur, will have to ask themselves. 

First, the issue of Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrants (IBIs) which remains a major issue in Assam and some north eastern states, cannot be solved overnight. For one, the problem lies in the fact that though all Bangladeshis may be muslims (at least in as far as the issue is involved); yet all muslims are not Bangladeshis. Anyone who is a bonfide citizen of any part of the country is protected under the constitution. The process of screening, identifying and expelling IBIs is a long and difficult process. Even in Assam, the IMDT Act hasn’t worked. Perhaps the only practical solution, as commented in this column over nearly two decades back, rests on the people themselves. The people can choose not to employ or shelter any immigrant. 

Second, in as far as crimes including rapes, it is true that in many cases, the immigrants were involved. At the same time, people need to also ask whether others, besides the IBIs were also not involved in similar crimes? If rape demands death, notwithstanding the due process of archaic Indian laws; then doesn’t it also mean that the same yardstick be applied against offenders, irrespective of the race or community they belong to?. 

Thirdly, there ought to be questions raised on whether the immigrant issue has been raised to the extent that it has unfortunately or unintentionally only led to hatred being fuelled against one community and played into the hands of communal forces? And is this not going to be a big problem for Nagas, especially with regard to the boundary issue with Assam? 

Fourthly, whether such an incident goes against the Christian tenet for truth and justice and also make it very difficult for mercy missions of churches to the unreached? 

Fifthly, whether such actions have placed Nagas living or working in other states in danger from elements who are likely to exploit the situation? Certainly, two wrongs do not make a right and the incident should be a lesson. These are a few burning questions that need to be pondered since what has been watched in horror by the world, today demands that people seriously introspect.

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