Kohima: The Baptist church in Nagaland has firmly said that churches across the state should be in a position to voice out that “buying someone else’s vote and selling off votes” are “sinful”.

The remark was made during the launch of the ‘Clean Election Movement: My Vote, My Future’ initiated by the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) and the Angami Baptist Church Council (ABCC) on Friday.

Addressing a gathering at the NBCC platinum hall in Kohima, Rev Zelhou Keyho, general secretary of NBCC, said that as churches are “not afraid of evil practices”, it must be able to tell that “dirty practices” and “evils” of election are a “sin”.

Saying that there is “conscience of fear” among Nagas when the church defines what a sin is, he added that the church must voice that it is sinful to trade votes as it is the birth right of an individual.

As NBCC launches the campaign in response to the challenges of the upcoming Assembly election in 2023, Dr Villo Naleo, convenor of the Clean Election Movement, said that NBCC has rightly declared the movement to respond to what needs to be done to transform the election process.

“Clean Election Movement is a social responsibility for every Christian in Nagaland,” he added.

Peace activist Niketu Iralu said that NBCC’s increased determination and commitment is to challenge Christians to keep the election process clean in order to have a proper economic growth and a healthy society.

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Iralu pointed out that the Church in Nagaland and in the entire Naga homeland is the “awakening giant” which is becoming deeply disturbed by the changes from the world. “This giant can cause Nagaland’s destruction by default of not thinking enough, or make Nagaland show what the just society on earth – the kingdom of God on earth really means,” he said.

The activist suggested that each Church of the NBCC should be given the responsibility to form small counselling or advisory cells of three or four men and women who are trusted by their Church to speak or act on matters arising from the election.

In a closing remark, Rev Atsi Dolie, executive director ABCC, said that faithfuls of the church must be convinced that it is “worth fighting for clean election”. Adding that it is an unseen battle, he said that one must stand for clean election.

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