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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2253

Ladeigarh issue is Nagaland Government’s total failure

By Oken Jeet Sandham

One of the most humiliating chapters in the history of Nagaland since Statehood would be, perhaps, its inability to conduct elections on its own soil at Ladeigarh under Longlen District, bordering Assam, due to the Assam Police’s deliberate threat and refusal to vacate a Nagaland school building wherein the polling was supposed to take place.

It was during 2014 election that many including the media in Nagaland were stunned when they saw the news along with a picture showing the Assam Police blocking the road preventing Nagaland polling officials from proceeding towards Ladeigarh to conduct the polls for the Ladeigarh Polling Station No. 1 under 49 Tamlu Assembly Constituency. Later the in the day, it was declared that the polling at Ladeigarh could not be conducted due to the Assam Police’s blocking of the road leading to the Ladeigarh Village and thus it had been adjourned.

In 2009 elections, elections could not be conducted at the same Polling Station due to obstruction by the Assam Police since 2007, though the said polling building is in existence since 2007. There were instances that makeshift polling stations were arranged for the electors to exercise their franchise whenever the Assam Police prevented the polling personnel from proceeding to the Ladeigarh Polling Station No. 1.

Funnily, the same drama had happened during the 2018 Nagaland Assembly Elections. The Assam Police again did not allow Nagaland polling personnel to proceed to the Ladeigarh Polling Station No. 1 under the 49 Tamlu Assembly Constituency. In a crowded Press Conference held at Kohima after the 2018 Nagaland Assembly Election was over, CEO, Nagaland, Abhijit Sinha, was asked why the elections could not be conducted at the said Polling Station, his reply was same as his predecessors’. The polling could not be held at Ladeigarh Polling Station No. 1 due to the obstruction by the Assam Police and it had been adjourned, he declared in the Press Conference.

Every time press people raised questions about this sensitive issue as to why the State Government was unable to settle it. But it seemed the matter was less important to them.

Assam has been claiming that the areas fall under disputed areas whereas Phom people said the Ladeigarh Village was an “undisputed” Phom Naga Village under the Tamlu Sub-Division.

It is a total failure on the part of the Nagaland Government. It is a complete breach of Constitutional rights to those electors numbering about 352 under the Ladeigarh Polling Station No. 1 of 49 Tamlu Assembly Constituency as they have not been given their Constitutional rights to cast their votes. The election in the State can’t ever be complete so long these electors are not given their Constitutional rights to exercise their franchise.

One wonders why Nagaland did not try to airlift those polling personnel to reach Ladeigarh Polling Station No. 1 to conduct the polls if the Assam police blocked them.

Bottomline

It is unfortunate that when the State of Nagaland was created in the early 1960s, the drawing of the new State boundary was not properly carried out. And once the new State was carved out from the existing State, the boundary had to be drawn and the necessary border machinery should be put into place. These unresolved border issues have really taken a toll on the lives of people on both sides.

It is only understandable that such border skirmishes would take place from time to time but they should not be misinterpreted as threatening to the age-old relationship between the people living in the border areas. The people of the two States should not, at any cost, allow this issue lingering.

The Government’s complete negligence to the road connectivity linking this hamlet in the border areas has been fully exposed. They should construct a road from their side to reach this hamlet to avoid unwanted obstructions such as the ones repeatedly done by the Assam Police. That is the only remedy if we do not want to see such unwanted

It is very unfortunate that there were election-related outbreaks of violence in Mokokchung, Wokha and Zunheboto Districts to the extent of causing loss of innocent lives.

There was no report of election-related violence from ENPO areas except one crude bomb blast in Tizit before the Poll started.

One of the significant developments in just concluded Nagaland polls is Naga Political Groups were not interfering in the electoral processes. It will be wrong to say the “Clean Election Drive” was a total failure. It had really worked in many parts of the State.

Elections in Dimapur, Peren, Kohima, Phek Districts had been going well.

We may not expect good result overnight but certainly, I believe, change has started.

Keep It Up!

- Asian Tribune -

Ladeigarh issue is Nagaland Government’s total failure
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