In what has created a sensation in political circles in the Northeast, Nagaland governor R.N. Ravi has expressed deep concern over the “precarious law and order” situation in the state since August. In a four-page letter to chief minister Neiphiu Rio, a copy of which is with this newspaper, Ravi said that over half a dozen “armed gangs” have challenged the legitimacy of the state government on a daily basis.
The June 16 letter said the state’s law and order machinery had created a “crisis of confidence” due to its unresponsiveness. Ravi wrote: “Law-abiding citizens -- daily wage earners, petty vendors, businessmen, shopkeepers, owners of restaurants or government servants -- are made miserable by rampant extortion and violence by armed gangs.”
Ravi, who earlier served in the PMO as deputy to NSA Ajit Doval before becoming governor in 2019, said the situation had deteriorated and he could no longer avoid his constitutional obligations under Article 371A(1)(b). He proposed that key functions like the transfer and posting of officials be done only with his approval. Ravi also proposed to periodically review the situation and issue directions if required.
The governor’s letter also highlighted that “armed gangs” appoint their own “dealers” for every commodity, from salt to construction materials, coming into Nagaland and also levy illegal taxes on every item. “Transporters have complained to me that there is over 200 per cent cost escalation in transportation the moment a goods-laden truck enters Nagaland due to gunpoint extortion by armed miscreants,” said Ravi, who is also the interlocutor for the ongoing Naga peace talks.