Seeking answers to uncomfortable questions, it appears, can invite threats, even for a legislator in India.
Mmhuonlumo Kikon, a member of Nagaland’s 60-member legislative assembly, has complained that he was threatened for raising certain questions regarding home department appointments.
The questions were submitted to the commissioner and secretary of Nagaland legislative assembly to be answered during the House’s budget session from March 21.
In a Facebook post page last week, 39-year-old Kikon, who represents Bhandari in Wokha district, said he received “veiled and open threats” to withdraw his starred and unstarred questions.
Officials in the department denied issuing threats, directly or indirectly.
Kikon said there were also threats to visit the houses of his family members with “consequences beyond the political”.
The MLA had won the Bhandari assembly seat on a Nationalist Congress Party ticket but later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party
On Saturday, he told reporters in Nagaland from Delhi that the threats and pressure to withdraw his questions were from home department “intermediaries”. He also that said he received text messages implying his career in politics could be in peril.
“This is not a family, clan or tribe issue. This is a question of accountability. I have my constitutional rights to pose questions and seek answers to these questions as representative of the people,” Kikon told The Morung Express.
Withdrawing the questions was out of the question, Kikon said, adding that he has also sought answers from other ministries such as health and family welfare, and food and civil supplies.
“It is the legitimate right of any legislator to pose questions in the assembly concerning the welfare of the people and especially about good governance in the state as it is of utmost importance,” his post read.
“Whereas the winter session in 2016 saw a glimpse of debate on issues pertinent to the accountability of the government, I have ventured answers to the manner on which Nagaland Government appoints its employees. A normal democratic constitutional exercise for any other state, I did not expect the hullabaloo it generated…” it said.
In the questions meant for state home minister Y Patton, Kikon sought answers on the number of people appointed for various posts in the police department such as constables, havildars and sub-inspectors from 2013 to 2017, besides third grade clerical posts from 2014 to 2017.
He also sought to know about the recruitment process, besides asking the home minister to furnish newspaper advertisements issued before the exams and interviews were conducted for the posts.