NSCN-IM members engaged in handicraft at the Ashiho Chaomai Battalion camp in Manipur’s Chandel district Credit: EastMojo image 

Chandel: The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the rules of the game. Amid the insecurity and crisis arising out of the situation, people are slowly realising the need for self-reliance, as was pointed out by PM Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

However, long before Modi urged the people of the country to take the self-reliance pledge, members of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) stationed at the Naga insurgent group’s Ashiho Chaomai Battalion camp, one of the oldest battalions and designated camps in Manipur’s Chandel district, are already investing their time to meet their own needs amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

NSCN-IM members working at a vegetable garden inside the designated camp in Manipur’s Chandel district 

Embracing nature is a step forward in this regard. Cadres have been successful in enriching locally-sourced products in order to avert any food insecurity arising out of the pandemic.

Also Read: Meiteis & Nagas are only indigenous communities of Manipur: NSCN

Speaking with EastMojo, one of the cadres said that life within the camp has remained the same even though lockdown was imposed across the state due to the novel coronavirus. “However, we are taking extreme precautionary measures as per WHO guidelines and strictly following them to avoid any COVID-19 transmission in the camp,” he said.

NSCN-IM rebels preparing lunch at the designated camp in Manipur’s Chandel district

Maintaining social distancing and personal hygiene and eating healthy food for strong immunity have been some of the basic but vital steps being taken by the camp inmates to keep the virus at bay, he added.

Meanwhile, the Naga revolutionary group also made an appeal to all the people to extend their maximum support towards the lockdown and maintain social distancing and remain indoors in their fight against the virus.

A member of the Naga armed group engaged in carpentry at the designated camp in Manipur’s Chandel district
An NSCN-IM rebel collecting vegetables from their kitchen garden

Apart from performing their regular duties, the young cadres are also being imparted training on various crafts like weaving and carpentry, among others, to utilise their time wisely, especially during the lockdown.

As per some reports, the use of regular spiritual counselling have also been helping the inmates in coping with the situation and maintaining their mental health despite leading a life of solitude away from the outside world.

Also Read: COVID-19: Manipur Nagas extend aid to NSCN-IM amid lockdown

Meanwhile, the cadres of the Naga armed group expressed gratitude to the Nagas living in Manipur for extending their solidarity in these difficult times and providing relief materials, including seeds and gardening tools, amid the lockdown on Tuesday.

Nagas living in Manipur extended COVID-19 aid to the NSCN-IM cadres stationed at Chandel district on Tuesday

The Nagas reached out to the group based on a humanitarian mission themed, “A touch of goodwill on the pandemic watch”.

This was the second phase when the Naga community extended the COVID-19 relief materials to the group. The outreach programme, according to the Nagas in Manipur, will continue with an aim to promote oneness and togetherness and most importantly to fight against COVID-19 pandemic collectively.

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