Alemtemshi Jamir was the chief secretary of Nagaland. After his retirement in 2015, he is active in politics, and is presently the working president of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, which is running a coalition government with the BJP. In an exclusive interview, he spoke about issues relating to extortions by Naga groups and the prospects for peace.
The NIA has found that government employees in Nagaland are subject to extortion by the NSCN(K).
Yes, I know. But what could I have done?
Could not the government check it?
No, the state government could not do anything. Underground political workers have been taking money from people for long. When we say people, even government employees are included.
Why the resentment now?
Earlier it was not extortion, but voluntary payment or donation. Since the 1990s, they demanded money when people did not pay voluntary. Today, it is full-blown extortion.
The NIA has swung into action.
Why are they doing it now? The group the Central government is having peace talks with also extorts money—in fact, much more than NSCN(K). It is all unnecessary.
Why can’t the state government check the menace?
The state government cannot give security to lakhs of employees and people. It is the duty of the Central government to bring peace by talking to various other groups. The state government can only issue orders. But that order is not sustainable, as it would not work on ground. The problem lies in the hands of the Central government, which is not doing it.
But the Central government has asked the NIA to intervene. Former chief minister T.R. Zeilang was summoned to Delhi, but he is refusing to go.
You should ask this to the government of India. If the former chief minister is involved in it, can he be alone? Politics there is over the ground and under the ground as well. Why is the government of India taking action against only one group? I find the Central government’s order to finish extortion in Nagaland ridiculous.
You are running a government with the BJP. Do you feel that the talks are going in the right direction?
No, not at all. I am sorry to say. But the Central government cannot solve the issue by talking to one or two groups. It would have to be broad-based talk. A major group, [NSCN(K)], has been left untouched. There is no indication where the talks are going. The people of Nagaland are frustrated. The Central government should immediately tell the Naga people about the progress of the talks.