GUWAHATI: After the political row over the authenticity of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s college degree some months ago, a similar controversy has now erupted in Nagaland.
Leader of Naga People’s Front (NPF) and Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang says he is a graduate. But the Congress disputes the claim allegedly based on information received through an RTI application, which suggests Zeliang had failed his BA exam. Amid the blazing row, the matter has reached the court.
In an order, a first-class judicial magistrate of Kohima Court has summoned the registrar of North Eastern Hill University and principal/registrar of Kohima College, where Zeliang studied, to furnish records pertaining to his BA qualification.
The court came into the picture after one Maziezokho Nisa filed a complaint under Section 125 A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, in September, alleging Zeliang made a false claim about his education in the affidavit of 2013 polls.
Last month, one Kiesamyi Irangaung filed a police complaint against Zeliang for “cheating” and “forgery”. Citing an RTI query reply, he said the CM had failed his BA exam in 1979 and there were no records of him appearing for the exam the next year. The CM, he said, claimed to be a graduate from Arts College, Kohima, in 1979, in his biography in the “Who is Who” of 2013 published by the Nagaland government, and the personal profile signed by him in 2008. But while serving as a Minister, Planning & Coordination, Evaluation and AH, Parliamentary Affairs, (2008-2013), he gave his qualification as BA pass from Kohima College in 1980.
The Congress, going all guns blazing at the CM, petitioned Governor PB Acharya to set up an “impartial committee” probe into the matter. When contacted, Zeliang said, “I wouldn’t like to make any comments at this juncture as the matter is sub-judice.”
The NPF has come out in Zeliang’s defence. The court has fixed November 30 as the date of appearance for the complainant witnesses to record their statements.