Illegal activities of ‘armed gangs’ rattle Nagaland Governor RN Ravi

RN Ravi while pointing out the deplorable law and order situation in the state said that he has been closely observing the precarious law and order situation in the state with a lot of concern.

The illegal activities of “armed gangs and miscreants” in Nagaland have rattled Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, prompting him to write to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, asking him to schedule a meeting. Although the outcome of the proposed meeting between the governor and the chief minister is not known immediately, the content of the letter highlights the grim state of affairs in Nagaland.

RN Ravi while pointing out the deplorable law and order situation in the state said that he has been closely observing the precarious law and order situation in the state with a lot of concern ever since August 2019 when he became the governor.

“Day to day unrestrained depredations by over half a dozen organised armed gangs, brazenly running their respective so called 'governments' challenging the legitimacy of the state government without any resistance from the state law and order machinery has created a crisis of confidence in the system,” he said.

Ravi stated that law abiding citizens - be they daily wage earners, petty vendors, businessmen, shop keepers, owners of restaurants, road construction companies, entrepreneurs or government servants are made miserable by “rampant extortions and violence by the armed gangs”.

The state government's development departments are under duress to give regular ransom to armed gangs. "Town commands' of these gangs keep the people in towns and its neighbourhood terrorized, '' he pointed out.  Brazen displays of fire power by the rival gangs for turf control drive the people to panic, Ravi said.

“Situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the armed miscreants appoint their own 'dealers' foe every commodity from salt to construction materials coming into the state. They decide and levy illegal taxes on every item. They run 'syndicates', for contrabands including alcoholic drinks which they help smuggle into the state. They are operating check gates for this purpose at almost every entry point to the state within the full knowledge of the state law and order machinery”, Ravi pointed out. 

He said that civil society organisations, at personal risks to their members, have been raising voices, from time to time, against such blatant unlawful activities of the armed gangs.

Ravi stated that in all the parameters of development in Nagaland –road connectivity, health and education infrastructures and livelihood are attributed to “siphoning off a large chunk of government funds meant for development”.  He succinctly pointed out that a significant reason for such huge leakage is attributed to “institutionalised systematic ransom to the armed gangs”.

On the progress of construction of National Highways in the state, the NHIDCL authorities and the project contractors have frequently complained of the “armed gangs stopping the work unless 5-7% of the project cost is given to them as ransom”. There have been instances of kidnapping and assault on project engineers and managers for defiance or delay in ransom payment, he said. In the letter, he also complained that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to bring the culprits to book had no impact whatsoever.

“The scenario in the state is grim. The law and order has collapsed. The Constitutionally established state government is being challenged on a day to day basis by the armed gangs who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation while the instrument of law and order remain totally unresponsive”, the governor stated.

First Published:June 25, 2020, 10:33 p.m.