Just when some degree of peace and tranquillity is slowly returning to Nagaland and other Naga-inhabited areas in the country for some time, a pall of gloom and fear has descended after the recent firing incidents at two residences of the functionaries of the ruling government in Nagaland. Although the Special Investigating Team is yet to complete the inquiry and submit the report, it can be safely deduced that the initial motive may have been just to threaten the targets. Though there were no casualties, the degree of audacity of firing assault rifles at someone’s house do not foretell anything good.
In recent times, Naga people in the country witnessed one of the bloodiest of internecine feuds among the various Naga nationalist groups which started sometime in the 1990s. It is also an open secret that during those days, various political leaders took advantage of the situation and leaned towards one or the other of the warring groups. Besides the inter-faction killings, the region also witnessed frequent shootings and gunfights with the Indian security forces till the respective ceasefire agreements were signed with the different groups. Many innocents were either maimed or lost their lives during that time. The gunfights and killings continued for more than 15 years until the formation of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) in 2008 slowly made some progress in negotiating peace between the groups. It somehow slowly brought down the killings. Even with the untiring efforts of the FNR, it is only a few years since Naga people are slowly coming out of the memories of the killings and bloodshed.
At such a time, the recent incidents of firings are nothing but a very desperate method of trying to send the message across by using bullets- disquieting indeed. It is akin to the methods of the mafias and warlords, something that the Naga society can do without. Guns are meant to kill and cannot be used as tool for bargain. Nagas have experienced it firsthand; that it always spirals out of control because such wounds to the heart and mind take time to heal.
So when nearly 40 bullets were fired at the properties of important functionaries of the government within a span of just 24 hours, something has obviously gone very wrong. The Civil Society, instead of waiting for what the others are up to, should rise up to the occasion and vehemently condemn such acts. The leaders know best how the politics of fear has stunted the Naga society over the years. There has to be a collective voice against such acts of intimidation and threat. We must not bring the gun back to Naga society.