The recent arrest and detention of over 40 youths from Nagaland in Punjab has sparked a critical dialogue about the systemic issues facing the state’s governance and the welfare of its young citizens. The youths were arrested on May 14 and 15, 2024, when the Punjab Police busted two fake call centers, leading to their detention on non-bailable offenses.

Dr Andrew Ahoto Sema, President of Helping Hands, Nagaland, stated that this incident would have gone unnoticed if not for the efforts of Helping Hands volunteer, Mr Neeraj Punj whose revelations brought attention to the youths lodged in Punjab jails, underscoring broader governance and administrative shortcomings.

According to Sema, the lack of job opportunities within Nagaland is a significant factor driving many young people to seek employment in other states. Many of these youths come from rural and economically deprived backgrounds, making them vulnerable to exploitative job offers without proper verification. He emphasized the absence of a state mechanism to track and support Naga youths who migrate for work or education.

The Helping Hands Nagaland President highlighted several critical issues:

Employment Shortage: The state government has failed to generate adequate job opportunities for Naga youths, resulting in their migration to other states for employment.

Lack of Tracking Mechanisms: There is no government agency maintaining a database of Naga students and youths working or studying outside the state. NGOs and student bodies currently fill this gap.

Inadequate Legal Support: The state government only intervenes in such cases under public pressure or when incidents become viral. Many families cannot afford legal fees, and despite the presence of State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) and District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs), there is no proactive legal aid for those in need.

Sema stressed that the primary concern should be providing legal support to the arrested youths, who are innocent until proven guilty. He criticized the lack of unity and proactive measures within the Naga community, calling for greater internal support rather than relying on external help.

He pointed to the example of Robin Hibu, IPS, founder of Helping Hands Society, who has consistently supported Northeastern people in distress despite his busy professional life. Sema urged the state government and police to educate the public about job scams and set up an independent agency to track and assist youths who leave the state for work or study.

Furthermore, Sema called for cooperation between the Naga community and people from other states residing in Nagaland to foster mutual support and inter-state relations. He emphasized that timely intervention and unity can prevent incidents like the recent arrests in Punjab, saving many lives.

The Helping Hands Nagaland also called upon the State Government and its agencies to immediately intervene in the matter and help in rescuing our Naga youths who are still languishing in the Punjab jails on a priority basis. (Read Full Text Here)

Mokokchung Times

9 thoughts on “Arrest of 40 Nagaland youths in Punjab highlights urgent need for State intervention”
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