Intangki National Park

Dimapur: The Senior Citizens Association of Nagaland (SCAN) alleged that the Intangki National Park located in Nagaland’s Peren district is under complete siege by the NSCN (IM).

The state forest department admitted before the Nagaland chief information commissioner’s court that it lost all control over the Intangki Reserved Forest as of now to such an extent that even its officers have to seek prior permission from the NSCN (IM) to enter into the Intangki National Park, the SCAN said in a release.

The SCAN said it had first taken up the matter in mid-2019 in the wake of “serious rumours” that the managerial establishment of the forest department in the Intangki National Park, including the staff quarters of the department, had been taken over and was under complete control of the NSCN (IM).

The association said it filed an RTI application on September 14, 2020, to the public information officer (PIO), governor’s secretariat, in Kohima. The RTI was redirected to Nagaland’s chief secretary who forwarded it to PIO, environment, forest and climate change department, it said.

On October 12, 2020, the Intangki National Park director furnished a “vague evasive” reply to the RTI questionnaires following which the chief information commissioner took the initiative to bring the forest department and SCAN for a face-to-face hearing on September 7, 2022, to review the issue, the release said.

During the hearing, the forest department confirmed that the NSCN (IM) has taken over full control of the department’s Intangki establishment, it said.

The SCAN said the department volunteered an explanation in the course of hearing that after the ceasefire with the government of India, the NSCN (IM) had begun their persistent harassment and threats towards all the forest department personnel posted within Intangki National Park resulting in all the staff vacating their quarters one after another in fear.

In the September 7 hearing, the department further clarified that after the vacation of their quarters by the staff in fear, all the vacated quarters were later occupied by the NSCN (IM) and continue to be occupied by it to date, the association said.

According to the forest department, the state government had been officially kept informed about the harassment being meted out to the departmental field officers posted at Intangki National Park by the NSCN (IM) but it has deliberately been looking the other way without taking any positive steps to stop this “contemptuous act of atrocity” by the NSCN (IM), the SCAN said.

The association charged the state government under the leadership of Neiphiu Rio with “complicity” and compromising the interest of the people of Nagaland by allowing the NSCN (IM) to take over the complete control of Intangki National Park.

It asked the Nagas of Nagaland whether they are going to remain silent while “our very own elected state government is clandestinely selling the rights of our younger generation and their future under our very nose”.

Bhadra Gogoi

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