KOHIMA: Since attaining statehood six decades ago, Nagaland witnessed an iconic moment after the national anthem was played inside the Nagaland Assembly for the first time in February.
According to reports, the national anthem was played before and after the governor's address on the first day of the state's budget session.
The budget session of the Nagaland assembly began on February 12 with an address by Governor RN Ravi.
PJ Antony, Commissioner and Secretary of the Legislative Assembly said, "The national anthem was played before and after the governor's address on the first day of the session. This is how it happens in most states, but the playing of the anthem wasn't part of the convention in Nagaland."
He further confirmed that it was the first time the national anthem was played since the assembly shifted to the new building in 2007. He added that the initiative was taken by Speaker Sharingain Longkumer. PJ Antony further added that the state lawmakers welcomed the initiative regarding the anthem.
Speaker Longkumer said it was appropriate that the anthem is played when the Governor is in the Assembly. He added that this is the norm for every other assembly in the country. Longkumer was elected the Speaker in February 2020.
The speaker however could not comment on why the ritual of playing the anthem was followed earlier. He added that henceforth the national anthem will be played when the Governor is present in the assembly.
According to constitutional experts, playing the national anthem isn't mandatory in state assemblies and it is mostly a matter of principle.
Subhash Kashyap, former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha and Indian Constitution expert said that there is no mention in the Constitution itself which makes the playing of the national anthem mandatory. "The Fundamental Duties talk about respecting it," he added.
The national anthem was first played on January 24, 1950, when the Constitution was adopted and the Constituent Assembly has adjourned sine die. Kashyap further said that the national anthem is played in the Indian Parliament when the President addresses the opening session.
Nagaland attained statehood on December 1, 1963, and was declared the 16th state of the Indian Union with Kohima as the state capital. The first democratically elected Nagaland Legislative Assembly was constituted on 11 February 1964 after elections in January 1964.
Notably, Governor RN Ravi took part in the peace dialogue with Nagaland's militant outfits, including the NSCN (IM) and the other Naga national political groups (NNPGs) which advocated a separate Naga nation. He has also taken a tough stand on the "taxes" levied by them.
In June 2020, Governor Ravi had written to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and threatened to take control of the state government for permitting "armed gangs" to create unrest in the state.
On Republic Day, he delivered a strong speech and criticized the "gun politics" of NSCN(IM) without naming the outfit. He indicated that NSCN(IM) would not receive any concession for its demands of a separate flag and constitution.
News From Assam