Kohima: The NSCN (IM) has termed the state government’s recent order to ban ‘commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets’ and ban on ‘commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dine in restaurants’, an attempt just to please some ‘political celebrities’.
Questioning the state government decision, the NSCN-IM asked “What is the urgency to impose ban dog meat without taking into consideration the culture of the indigenous Naga people?”. As India is a “land of diverse characteristics encompassing language, religion, physical traits, cuisine (food habits), social habits, music and arts” and “Nagalim is under forced occupation of India”.
“Nowhere the Nagas share something common with the mainland Indians. In as much as facial structure is different, so is the food habits. Thus, racially or ethnically, Nagas and Indians are nowhere near to share anything similar. Our origin of civilization is also different. Whether we belong to backward civilization or advance civilization it does not matter. Nagas are proud of their rich culture and traditions. Let no force on earth impose alien culture on the Naga people. Leave us alone as we have been for decades. Leave the Naga food habit alone,” a statement from the NSCN-IM said.
The rebel group said that this is not the first time that the state government “has gone far enough” to ban food item in Nagaland. It said, “The state government tried to ban cow meat under the influence of Hindutva” and and then “went for the unthinkable to ban dog meat just to please some political celebrities”.
“But it would be far-fetched to imagine that the Naga food habit will change simply because the Cabinet has passed the order banning dog meat,” the statement said, adding : As dog is bred for different purposes like hunting, pet, house guard and for food since time immemorial. Keeping dogs has become the “cultural traits of the Nagas”.
The statement further added,” The right to eat anything as per one’s culture should not be put under restriction simply to satisfy the whims and fancy of somebody in power. While the Nagas are equally concerned on cruelty to any kind of animals. Forcing to stop eating dog meat on the ground of cruelty to animal is not acceptable.”
It also pointed that that it is not anybody’s business to enforce on what to eat or not. “This is against the natural freedom of choice of food,” it added.
After the imposition of ban on dog meat, it questioned what is next. “Nagaland state government cannot be so spineless to surrender everything to the government of India without first taking its people into confidence,” the NSCN-IM said.
Nagas must fight off any kind of social, cultural, religious, political assimilation being pursued by India in different forms from the time of its forceful occupation of Nagalim and till today, it said, further adding, “India under BJP has become more aggressive and chauvinistic in such pursuit in order to create Hindu way of living, thinking, worship and eating”.
The group said that Nagas should be proud of its “ancestors who offered tough resistance to alien culture and the strong bond they shared with our culture, tradition and custom that differentiate the Nagas from the rest of the world as a unique and interesting entity”.
It added that the Naga people “will not accept intrusion” into the cultural character.
“What belongs to the Naga culture must stay and what does not belong to the Naga culture should not be entertained so as not to pollute the Naga culture,” it concluded.