Northeast journalists urge tribal body to lift ban on book

Guwahati : A forum of journalists in the northeast has expressed concern over the ban on a book written by a Dimapur-based journalist by the apex body of the Ao tribe in Nagaland, and urged the tribal body to withdraw the ban.

The Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expressed concern over the ban on “Cogitating For a Better Deal” written by journalist and Nagaland Page editor Monalisa Changkija.

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The ban was imposed by the Ao Senden, the apex body of the Ao tribe which is responsible for their welfare in Nagaland.

The tribal body said the book levelled some false allegations against it.

Released Oct 25, the book – published by Heritage Publishing House in Dimapur – is a compilation of six seminar papers which the author presented at various national events.

Changkija said the tribal body, as an NGO, had “no mandate to arbitrate over intra and/or inter village disputes”, whereas the leader of the Ao Senden said it was the statutory apex body of the Ao tribe.

This led to the conflict between the journalist and the Ao Senden.

Changkija, who also belongs to the Ao tribe, said it was not her intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments through her writings and apologised if that was the case.

But she maintained she stood by what she wrote.

She said she was willing to publish the Ao Senden’s comments in newspapers and in the book itself as a conciliatory gesture.

The JFA asked the tribal body to withdraw the ban.

“We believe the leaders of Ao Senden should consider the author’s gesture to have appropriate clarifications in the book and withdraw the ban… in the age of internet, the ban on a book that is in English by a local body makes no sense,” JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria said in a statement.