Kohima, May 14 (NE): In view of various issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic especially faced by Nagas and Northeastern people in general, outside the state, all the Naga
Students’ Union Presidents outside Nagaland through a video conference meeting, resolved to form the “All Cities COVID-19 Task Force for Nagaland” on May, 12, 2020.
The task force wrote a letter addressing the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Shri Neiphiu Rio on May 14, 2020, and requested the government for arrangement of transportation for stranded Nagas outside Nagaland and other necessary arrangements for COVID-19 issues and to implement their requests for the welfare of the Nagas outside the state at present.
The task force appreciated the efforts so far taken up by the government towards stranded people in fighting against COVID-19. However, the task force said that they being at the war front in the red zones have been receiving the effects of the pandemic where the state government is not seriously considering it.
Some points requested by the ACCTFN are;
-Transparency of Government:
Requesting the state govt to be transparent, the task force said that they want concrete decision and plan in regard to the “special train arrangement.” They requested to arrange special train as soon as possible, and confirm the date of boarding, place of boarding and the necessary formalities required to avail the special train. Also the task force alleged that there is a lack of coordination and communication between Govt. appointed POC and Student Leaders/Church Leaders who are working on the frontline for our stranded people.
– To Consult the Naga Students’ Union of different States with regards to the Govt. Policy towards Stranded Nagas:
Whenever any major decision is taken for stranded Nagas outside Nagaland, the task force requested to consult all the Students’ Union before implementing any plans, because Students’ Union is accountable to answer all queries and concerns in their respective states.
-To Review COVID-19 & 24×7 helpline , because many a time the helpline numbers are not responding, which is totally frustrating, and they requested to review this issue as well.
-To Update on Quarantine Preparation:
The task force requested to update the status of the quarantine/isolation preparation. They also questioned on the facilities provided, and how many days of quarantine is required, is it going to be district wise or everyone will be quarantined in Dimapur after reaching Dimapur Railway Station?
-To Prioritize CM Special Financial Package Process:
The task force also put up the complain that many of the members have not received the amount, and said that they are being bombarded with calls where they explain and give them confidence that the amount will be credited soon.
-To Re-work the Criteria of the one-time assistance of INR 10,000:
The task force said that the one-time assistance of INR 10,000 announced just yesterday is discriminatory against many likeminded stranded Nagas who have genuinely decided to stay back, though with lots of hardship considering the sensitivity of the situation. The criteria
should be re-worked, and lenience should be given to all Nagas outside Nagaland to avail this one-time benefit including stranded Nagas within Northeast.
-To Understand the condition of Stranded Vulnerable Nagas:
The task force narrates, “We are trying our best to educate everyone about the safety to stay where we are. To clear the air, not all stranded are planning to return. However, it is also not in our hands because those coming back are genuinely affected. After verification, we found that the majority are from a poor background who came out to earn something for their family and parents at home. Most of these groups of people were the ones who were working in the shopping malls, salons, restaurant, hotel, security guard, hospitality companies and other unorganized sectors and have lost their jobs or are not receiving any salary as the business has been closed due to the nationwide COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown. They are “vulnerable” group of people and are going to face more hardship as their business or companies are unlikely to start very soon. There are also large groups of students who are “vulnerable” as most of their hostels, PGs, and paying guest have been closed due to the nationwide COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown and most of them who are staying with their friends in rented room are facing untold hardships. There are also large groups of stranded medical
patients and unwell Nagas who need immediate evacuation to their home in Nagaland”.
-No more Delay Tactics to Evacuate the Vulnerable Stranded Nagas:
The more the government delays, the more vulnerable stranded people will be as the cases in India are increasing daily. Moreover, as Nagas/Northeast people are more prone to racial discrimination due to our mongoloid feature, this aggravates the situation more. There is still no strong voice against all these from our government or even the NGOs who today are requesting us to stay back, said the task force.
They also requested to evacuate stranded “Vulnerable Nagas” without further delay. ‘We ask that the evacuation of our stranded people be done via the nearest train station and that those stranded people in places without access to such train stations may be transported to the nearest one and sent home by “special trains”-unquote.
-Strict Action against anyone who spread Rumours and Fake News:
It has also been noticed in social media
how our people are already stigmatising stranded people planning to come home. A fear psychosis has
already been created. How will the state government respond to this in order to tackle the wrong information being circulated and harassment made on wrong speculations? The task force requested to review and take strict
action against those individuals who are spreading this wrong speculation which is buzzing around Nagaland with all wrong reasons.
-Petition to hear our Grievances:
ACCTFN said, As Students’ Union body, we do take care of student’s activities and other curriculum for the welfare of our people, but unfortunately, we are compelled to carry dead bodies and look after sick and needy people. These are works that are supposed to be rendered by the Govt and its agencies, but the Students’ Union has stepped out and has shouldered bigger responsibilities.
Further, All Cities COVID-19 Task Force for Nagaland clarifies that it is a student body and being a non-political organisation, any constructive measures and assistance be it financial or suggestion, are welcomed with open arms regardless of whether they are political organisations, NGOs, Church members or civil societies.
The task force appealed to all civil societies, NGOs, political parties/organisation to play an important role and be rational instead of confusing and creating panic in people’s minds. We should all co-operate and work together to curb this deadly virus/epidemic. Spare the politics and differences for later as it is a time to work together, it added.
The All Cities COVID-19 Task Force for Nagaland hoped that the state government will respond to all their queries failing which they will have no option but to stop assisting the government. Thereby, the government should send their nodal officers and staff to all the cities and take up the overdue responsibilities of caring of the stranded people dealing with racial discriminations, dead cases, hospital cases, rental issues, and many other issues.
We all are trying our best to educate people, rendering help physically to people in need despite the risk surrounding us. However, we are all helpless in this situation as the state government has not yet responded to us with the concrete plans to take our people back home. We want your immediate intervention and advice on the above points, stated the task force.