Take heed this time

A Naga insurgent group is once again trying to dictate the outcome of the bye-election to the Khonsa West assembly constituency in Tirap district. Though the date for the bye-election has not been announced, underground groups have already started intimidating voters on behalf of their political bosses. This constituency fell vacant after the killing of MLA Tirong Aboh along with 10 others. A circular allegedly issued by Naga Army (Ollo), asking the people of Ollo community to vote for BJP leader Phawang Lowang, is doing the rounds on social media. The letter warns of severe consequences if the people don’t follow the dictate. Even though Lowang has distanced himself from it, the letter has created a fear psychosis. Chakat Aboh, the wife of the slain leader, who is planning to contest the bye-election, has now made a passionate appeal to the state and central governments to take the threat seriously.
The government needs to provide foolproof security to the voters, workers and candidates of the Khonsa West assembly constituency, so that democracy is restored. Also, the concern raised by Chakat Aboh cannot be taken lightly by the authorities. In the run-up to the 2019 assembly election, Tirong Aboh had on several occasions raised concern over the alleged interference in the election affairs by the NSCN (IM). He had expressed concern over his own safety and that of his supporters. However, at that time nobody, including the state government and the election commission, took his words seriously. If Tirong Aboh had been provided with foolproof security, the situation would have been much different. The Pema Khandu-led BJP government should provide proper security to Chakat Aboh and her supporters. Also, the election commission should keep a close watch and take action against those who take the help of underground groups during elections.