The 31st January 2017, was a bright beautiful day, everyone was going about their business as usual. After 3 days of bandh, there was a glimpse of hope with the anticipation of two months of peace. Some were appreciative of the steps taken by the Nagaland Baptist Council of Churches (NBCC) while others felt they should not have intervened but nevertheless peace was achieved so the public thought. However the anticipation was short lived when the news started making rounds that the Government of Nagaland (GON) has decided to go ahead with the municipal election by exempting the problem prone districts. In the evening everyone was surprised by the turn of events and the tribal apex bodies decided to hold a mass protest against the Governments action of betraying and breaking the agreement which was signed on 30th January 2017.
The late Bendangnungsang Longkumer was the second son of late Longer Yongdang Longkumer from Aonukpu Village of Mokukchung District. He was born on 30 July 1996. He was the second among 6 siblings. He joined high school at Mission School 4th Mile Dimapur, and completed his Pre University (PU) studies from Hindi College Dimapur. He was also a member of Diphupar Naga Youth Organization (DNYO). After the passing away of his father, he and his siblings were cared by the paternal aunt.
According to his aunt, “He came to spend Christmas and apply for Aadhar card and after which he was scheduled to return to his place of work in Chennai. He was working and cleaning the house the whole morning. He was a responsible young man who was working hard and supporting his siblings financially.”
“We are very sad and angry but what can we do now. He is gone. At the same time we are happy because he has given his life for the people of Nagaland” as expressed by his elder brother.
These were his last words to his younger brother, “be a responsible young man. Be careful of mixing with the wrong company”. What was to be a short holiday became a call of destiny for this young man as he defended the rights of the people of Nagaland.
The late Khriesavizo Metha was the second son of Mr and Mrs. Neimhalie Metha and Roukuobeinuo Metha from Chiechama Village of Kohima District. He was the second among 4 siblings. He was born 2 March 1993. He passed his matriculation from Little Star Higher Secondary School Dimapur, Class 12 from Pranab Vidyapeeth Higher Secondary School, Dimapur, Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch) from National Institute of Medical Science and Engineering Technology, Jaipur in 2016, and he was planning to undergo coaching for Civil Services Examination and Masters of Urban Planning in 2017. He was a member of Diphupar Naga Youth Organization (DNYO) and was also elected as the president of the Angami Students Union Diphupar (ASUD) in December 2016.
“Avizo don’t go to the troubled area”, said his mother. He replied, “It is all right” these were the last words exchanged between Khriesavizo and his mother on that fateful day.
According to his family and friends he was a sociable and responsible person who feared and honored God. His dream was to carry the legacy of the forefathers and see an independent free Naga Nation. He was also against all kinds of ex – gratia by the government. On that fateful morning he asked his father, “why are the Naga’s not one?” He also told his girlfriend, “I love you very much, but I feel we cannot be together. And since I am the president of the Angami Students Union it is important that I lead the people from the front.”
As narrated by Khriesavizo Metha’s sibling, he had told his sister, “Come home soon for Christmas, save some money so that we can spend our sisters first death anniversary in February and my birthday in March 2017”, on January 18 2017 he told his brother, “whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly”, On 21 January 2017 he told his youngest sister, “Study hard, and don’t worry everything will be fine. I will come and visit you soon in Kohima”.
His father had this to say about him, “My son sacrificed for the Naga Nation. He had interest in the Naga history and the politics of the state. He was knowledgeable beyond his age”.
Two household in particular were not prepared for what awaited them on that fateful night. Never in their wildest dreams did they think that this was going to be their fate. When they said goodbyes to their sons joining the protest, they did not know it was going to be their last. They stepped out of their homes never to step in, never to come back to narrate the stories of that night, never to come back and taste the meal prepared for them by their loved ones, never to come back to say “I love you”, or even to get irritated and have those silly fights with their siblings. They were stepping out into their destiny that awaited them.
Late Bendangnungsang Longkumer and Late Khriesavizo Metha lost their lives tragically safeguarding the identity and the rights of the people of Nagaland. Two young men hailing from different tribal community yet their sacrifice have transcended the tribal boundaries. Although they did not meet each other that night, destiny united their hearts as brothers of one family. They have shown to the people of Nagaland and around the taste of unity through their death. They have been united never to be parted again.