Assam-Nagaland border
Checkpost along the Assam-Nagaland interstate border. Image: Northeast Now

With reports of the attendees of the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz in New Delhi going into hiding, various Naga organisations appealed to the Nagaland government to step up vigil along the border areas and seal the borders with Assam.

They said there are high chances of the attendees taking shelter at the border areas of Dimapur district and inside Dimapur.

However, state government spokesperson and planning and coordination and land revenue minister Neiba Kronu on Friday said both the health department and the state control room for Covid-19 were separately tracking the persons who may have attended the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddhin.

He said they were able to contact 62 people – 22 within the state and 40 outside the state – out of 70 in the list of attendees till Friday. Kronu said out of the 22 persons in the list, only two were found to have attended the event.

Kronu appealed that if there was anyone else from Nagaland, who had attended the religious congregation at Nizamuddhin, to voluntarily come forward and report to the respective deputy commissioners.

The Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC), in a release, on Saturday asked the public to be on full alert and report to the authorities if any new visitor or information about those who attended the religious event was noticed.

The Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) demanded an immediate sealing of all the state borders.

In a release, Hoho president Dr Kakheto Zhimomi demanded that the Dimapur deputy commissioner direct all the localities and villages to indentify and report visit of any newcomers to their localities to the police and health authorities immediately during the ongoing lockdown so as to put them in quarantine.

“If the lockdown is lifted, they will pose a very serious risk of spreading the deadly virus which has caused a huge number of deaths all over the world,” the Hoho said.

Taking note of the porous border with Assam, the CNTC said, “This is a very serious issue as many persons are now said to have gone into hiding and switched off their phones as per the reports going around.”

It said this was not about communalizing any group or people but to save the society from the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic.

It urged the community involved to come forward and cooperate with the authorities in indentifying the persons and take necessary measures at the earliest for the safety of all.

The council also appealed to all gaon burhas (village headmen), chairmen and councils to remain extra alert and report if any person was found to have entered into their areas in recent time.

The landlords and house owners should also verify in their premises and bring to the notice of the authorities if any new person entered their premises, it said.

Appreciating the state government’s effort to deal with COVID-19 pandemic, CNTC said that

The council also demanded that a coronavirus testing lab should be set up in Nagaland at the earliest as was done by neighbouring states.

It appealed to the authorities concerned to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential commodities and implementation of Food Security for marginal sections of the society.

The Western Sumi Youth Front appealed to the Dimapur district administration to immediately seal borders at Aghunaqa area here.

It said there is danger lurking in Aghunaqa area owing to absence of security forces or health workers.

In a representation addressed to the deputy commissioner, the federation president Mughavi Awomi and general secretary Bohoi K Yepthomi said 38 village authorities under Aghunaqa area have enforced lockdown but the borders with Assam are yet to be sealed.

It said there is absence of health workers and police security.

“In the absence of proper mechanism in place by the authorities in the wake of this pandemic, the risk lies not only with people of Aghunaqa area but the entire district and state of Nagaland as well,” it said.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com