The relation between the fraught elections and the increasing violence in the state

Dear Editor,
The brutal assassination of TirongAboh, the sitting MLA from Tirap and his entourage that included his son and 10 other personnel reportedly by NSCN-IM members at Bongapani Village gripped the entire state psyche in utter shock and sadness. The tragic incident occurred at around 11 am on 21 May, 2019 as the deceased MLA was returning to his constituency from Assam. Reportedly, the convoy was ambushed in the forest covered tract of the journey and what followed was one of the most barbaric and inhumane acts in the annals of state history. The miscreants fired indiscriminately killing 11 people in total, critically injuring 2, while 2 escaped unhurt. The images of the incident will forever haunt a state that has known peace for a long time till now. I share my condolences with the bereaved family.
In fact, I knew the deceased son’s personally and the news of his gory death is a lot to take in. May his soul and all those that lost their lives in this tragedy attain peace and the heavenly abode!
The unspeakable brutality aside, one is left gaping at the astounding impunity that the entire act was carried under. The NSCN had been seen till yesterday as a rapidly disintegrating body incapable of a tangible threat and yet surprisingly, it was emboldened in perpetrating such a hugely heinous crime in broad daylight against a sitting MLA.
The pertinent question is: who is the source of this renewed rejuvenation of the NSCN in the state? Was the assassination carried independently by the NSCN over political differences or was the NSCN merely employed by other political adversaries of the deceased? The entire tragedy reeks of politicalarmour that the miscreants were assured of, and while we are at it, we have to ask if it was actually the NSCN itself?
The Elections have brought in a highly sour and detestable fervour in the entire state this time; the cold-blooded murder of a Gaon Bura in Koloriang, the assault and murder of NPP workers in Tirap two months ago by NSCN-IM miscreants, the ambush of polling teams by NPP workers in Nampe recently, the violence in Rakso etc.
Mob violence, hooliganism, booth capturing, extortion, money-laundering etc were staple observations throughout the elections. Though always a heated affair, one can argue that this time around, the elections seemed to have too much at stake, thus the unprecedented instances of violence and barbarity in the state. It is easy to equate the horrors in the recent past in the state with the fraught nature of elections.
The State Politics has stooped to the lowest levels of competition, and in their part, the Election Commission has been a mute and a disabled spectator of the entire development. The humongous flow of money, blatant incitation of violence and hate by candidates and the involvement of extremist components in the state politics was left poorly handled, or at times unforgivably excused.
All of this should be, hopefully, a punishing lesson for the future. Below are the ways we can mend the true nature of elections:
1. Any candidate found guilty of inciting violence and hate should be stripped off his/hercandidature and debarred from any elections henceforth.
2. On irrefutable evidence of money laundering, the party should be banned from campaigning and its candidates should be held under strict surveillance.
3. Any form of obstruction by political parties against voters should be handled seriously and punitively.
4. A proposal for a distributed election phase can be considered to efficiently use law and order agencies and the same can counter political hooliganism more effectively.
5. An effective network of Intelligence should be prioritised.
The above should be accompanied by an active awareness campaign to educate young voters about the purpose of elections and its direct implications to their progress.
A major fraction of blame can be attributed to the educated section of voters who still contribute to this defunct way of elections instead of leading the way to the ideals of a vibrant democracy!
A lot needs to be tackled and parleyed on, but the same needs to be done immediately and effectively. The more we stay silent, the more losses will we incur. The passiveness of the good only ignites the activeness of the bad.
It is great tragedy that has befallen the state and more particularly the family of the deceased. The apprehending of the responsible miscreants should be pursued aggressively and urgently. All those found guilty should be made an example to deter such Impunity in the future. More importantly, we have to seek to dismantle the system that emboldens such crimes, provides protection to such miscreants, harbors violence and fosters hate. Only when the system is dead will the state know peace again.
Takio Tayung