When news broke out in May this year that the Delhi police had arrested a contract killer, who was allegedly paid to kill a top politician in Nagaland after the Lok Sabha elections, it was not only the political establishment in the state but also the public that was sent into a panic. The shock vanished as quickly as it emerged and there has been no update from the law enforcing agencies on the issue till date. Whether there was some tint of truth to the information or it was just a false alarm from a criminal who is wanted in several cases, no untoward incident connected to the report happened in the state. However, crime rate seems to have increased of late with several cases including rape and murder being reported in the last few months. Another disturbing trend is the increase in shooting incidents, including unknown miscreants firing several rounds of shots outside the residences of a government official and a lawmaker from the state in June. Two murders were reported last week — a senior NSCN-IM functionary was allegedly shot dead by an unidentified masked gunman inside his residence in Dimapur on August 16 and another resident of the State’s commercial hub was also allegedly shot dead in Zubza area on the following day. When the denizens of the city are yet to come out of the shock caused by the back-to-back shootings, another shooting incident involving cadres of two Naga insurgency groups reportedly took place on Tuesday, bringing back the horrific past memories of factional and fratricidal killings that turned the state into a battleground.
Nagaland has witnessed enough of bloodshed in the past. The frequent clashes between Indian army and cadres of Naga insurgency groups prior to the signing of ceasefire between the government of India and various Naga outfits in 1997 killed hundreds of people including civilians. It left permanent scars in the minds of the people until many years of concerted efforts by both the warring parties managed to mend the damage significantly and bring back peace to the region. Factional fighting too decreased drastically. There is relative peace in the state for a few years now with no major clashes between rival armed groups. However, the recent shooting incidents have disturbed the peace and tranquillity in the state, especially in Dimapur. Such violent acts have no place in a civilised society and should be stopped instantaneously. No group or individual can take the law into their own hands. It is unfortunate that the Naga insurgency groups still continue to kill each other instead of working together for early settlement of the long-drawn Naga political issue. But they should stop factional and fratricidal killings and concentrate on ending more than six decades of struggle for self determination by signing the final deal with the government of India. The people of the state too should shun violence. Everybody deserves to live a peaceful life free from fear and insecurity.