Nagaland: Forest minister apologises for controversial remark on human-elephant conflict
Nagaland Forest Minister CL John

Kohima: CL John, Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, tendered an apology on Thursday during the ongoing state Assembly session after his remark on the human-elephant conflict sparked public outrage.

In response to the cases of human-elephant conflict in the Bhandari area, which is part of NPF legislator Achumbemo Kikon’s constituency, John pointed out that humans seemed to have the upper hand, emphasising that there were “only” eight reported human deaths compared to the unfortunate loss of 12 elephants in these conflicts.

A public outcry ensued, especially on social media platforms, where many criticised the minister’s remark as cruel and unbecoming of his position. They viewed it as an insult to the family members of the eight victims.

People from various tribal backgrounds expressed their resentment towards the minister for his insensitive comment.

Although occasional lighthearted comments often go unheeded on the Assembly floor, this recent remark has faced severe repercussions from all Nagas, particularly the Lotha community, after video clips of his statement during the discussion began circulating online.

On Thursday, before moving the resolution of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023, the NDPP legislator offered a verbal apology.

John apologised to the victims and their families for hurting their sentiments. He clarified that he did not have any ill intentions when making the remark and expressed sincere regret and apologies.

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First-time MLA Achumbemo Kikon reiterated in the state legislative assembly that residents in Wokha district, particularly along the Nagaland-Assam border, faced hardships due to the human-elephant conflict. The legislator sought ways to mitigate such conflicts and had previously raised the issue during the March Assembly session as well.

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