Naga Students’ Federation slams Governor Ravi for ‘gag order’

The Nagaland Governor’s office had on January 16 directed the State’s Chief Secretary to ensure government servants do not post ‘seditious and subversive’ content on social media

The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has slammed Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi for a “gag order” that prescribes stern penal and disciplinary action against government servants who post “seditious and subversive” content on social media.

The Governor’s office in State capital Kohima had on January 16 informed Chief Secretary Jan-e-Alam about some government servants taking to social media to indulge in “seditious and subversive writings challenging the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country”.

The official communiqué referred to a social media post by one H. Inao Jimomi Naga of Nagaland’s Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department and directed the State government to take “serious” cognisance of such misconduct and “initiate appropriate” legal and disciplinary action against “delinquent” government servants.

A copy of the letter was marked to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.

Reacting to the directive, the NSF said Mr. Ravi was trying to “silence the voice of Naga people and suppress their rights”.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, NSF president Ninoto Awomi and general secretary Liremo R. Kikon said the directive was another attempt by Mr. Ravi to undo the peace and understanding brought about by his predecessors.

In singling an official, the Governor through the impugned directive “intends to create fear psychosis among the State government employees” and send a message that he “has his eyes and ears planted in Naga society to achieve his desired end of dividing the Naga people”, the NSF said.

The apex students’ body also said that as interlocutor for the “Indo-Naga” peace talks, they expected Mr. Ravi to work on bringing about lasting peace instead of indulging in divisive politics.

“Nagas will not be cowed by attempts to stifle their voices and belittle their legitimate rights and their voices cannot be muted, notwithstanding the evil designs of opposing forces,” the NSF said, asking Mr. Ravi not to treat the “Nagas’ struggle for self-determination as another secessionist movement”.

The Opposition Naga People’s Front also criticised the Governor.

“Mr. Ravi may be right but as the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, he seems to have become one-sided and taking extreme steps,” a party spokesperson said while pointing out that a government employee should adhere to service rules.

This was the second letter from the Raj Bhavan in Kohima to the Chief Secretary after February 14, 2020, when it had asked the official to create “a database of State government employees’ family members and relatives in underground organisations” by April 2.

The peace process to resolve the Naga political problem hit a rough patch after the ties between Mr. Ravi and the extremist Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland soured in 2020. The outfit has been in ceasefire since 1997 and had signed a framework agreement to resolve the problem in 2015.

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