A week after the Village Guards Association of Nagaland (VGAN) on July 17 announced to resort to a two-day “arms down” strike from July 27 to press for their demands, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) on July 24 urged the state government to consider their demands in the larger interest of safeguarding the pride of the state and the Nagaland village guards as well.
The NPCC communication department, in a release, said it will be the pride and honour for the state government if the state village guards are given their due and deserving upgraded status in their service as well as their basic facilities.
The NPCC said the village guards are the pride of Nagaland and the first one in line to uphold peace in the state. It stressed that they should be given the recognition they deserve for their tireless performance and dedication rendered with full sincerity and faith from the remotest areas to the vast lines of the international border.
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“They are the first spearheads of security on the line of duty before the administration to safeguard the state's law and order,” the PCC said. It added that their services equipped with both modern and Naga traditional warrior warfare techniques are much appreciated and sought after by the state government like the police services in times of state security emergencies.
With no state function complete without their participation, the Nagaland village guards which started as a primary grassroots security force should not remain or be left in their “permanent primary status”, the NPCC said.
The village guards decided to go on “arms down” alleging that the state government repeatedly ignored their demand to enhance honorarium for the personnel of the 9500-plus strong voluntary frontier force which was raised over six decades ago in 1957 for supplementing security along the Indo-Myanmar border.
Following a petition by the VGAN in 2017, the Kohima bench of Gauhati Court subsequently directed the state government to enhance the honorarium of the village guards at par with the home guards who draw Rs 520 per day per head.
After the court directive, the state government enhanced their honorarium to Rs 3000 per month from Rs 1500 per month but not as directed by the court.
The government also filed an appeal challenging the court directive.
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