Total bandh along Nagaland-Manipur border extended indefinitely
Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima/Imphal: The six-hour bandh called by Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) across all Naga inhabited areas on Saturday passed off peacefully. The bandh was observed across Nagaland and in the five Naga inhabited areas of Chandel, Kamjong, Senapati, Tameglong and Ukhrul in Manipur.

Wedding goers, persons on medical duty, media persons and students appearing for exams were exempted from the bandh that started at 6 am and ended at 12 noon. Shops, fuel outlets and other business establishments across the state remained shut.

The state police including the Special Task Force (STF) was deployed at strategic locations to ensure law and order.

The shutdown is part of a mass agitation across the Naga-inhabited areas being organised by various Naga student apex bodies under the aegis of the Naga Student Federation (NSF), an apex student union of the Nagas.

In Manipur, a total bandh was seen in all the five Naga-inhabited areas, including Chandel, Kamjong, Tamenglong, Senapati and Ukhrul districts. However, no untoward incident was reported during the six-hour complete shutdown.

A street in Ukhrul, Manipur look deserted following total six-hour shutdown against CAB on Saturday

According to the NSF, the bandh was to express resentment of the Naga people against the passing of the contentious CAB in the Parliament, much against the interests and the sentiments of the indigenous people in the northeast region.

Speaking with EastMojo, General Secretary NSF Liremo Kikon said that the decision to call for a bandh was taken at the emergency meeting of the federation. He said that the bandh was to “oppose the Bill that has been passed in Parliament without respecting the interest and without respecting the feelings of the Naga people in particular and the Northeast in general”.

“NSF have never supported this Bill and will never support this bill. This is going to affect us in the near future. Of course, it might not affect us immediately but slowly and gradually, CAB will affect us. There is a great chance of us becoming minority in our own land”, Kikon added.

A team of the Special Task Force on duty at Razhu point, Kohima during the six hour bandh called by Naga Students’ Federation

When asked about the resentment against the bandh by few civil societies, Kikon said “Some organisations have shown their resentment against the bandh, yet we have not faced any problem and the bandh was conducted peacefully. They also cooperated. The bandh was peaceful and successful across Nagaland and the Naga inhabites areas of Chandel, Senapati and Ukhrul in Manipur.”

NSF have never supported this Bill and will never support this bill, said NSF General Secretary Liremo Kikon

The NSF also condemned the three Naga MPs– Tokheho Yepthomi (Lok Sabha), KG Kenye (Rajya Sabha) and Lorho Pfoze (Lok Sabha MP from Manipur)– for voting in favour of the Bill in Parliament. Kikon said that the citizens want to know how CAB issue will not affect the Nagas. “They have to come out and clarify to the people, and until and unless they do that, we will initiate the next step to deal with them”.

Kenilo, special secretary, NSF told EastMojo, “As a concerned citizen, it is my responsibility to respond to the call of our leaders to protect our identity. Actually this fight is to fight for our existence, identity. And I personally feel that this CAB which is an Act now, it is anti-minority and it is against the very secular nature of democracy that is why I decided to join this total bandh called by the NSF”.

When asked about his opinion on the assent given by the Naga parliamentarians, Kenilo said, “I think they have been misguided by the BJP ideologies–I don’t know. But whatever reasons, they best know, I am sure and convinced that they are mistaken and they have not taken the future of our people into account when they assented and voted for the bill in the Parliament. I feel that they are answerable to the people of our state, and the people of Northeast as a whole”.

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