Peren Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Tuesday observed the 1st Martyrs’ Day (Black Day) at Lamhainamdi village by paying homage to the three Zeliangrong brothers who were brutally murdered by the assailants on March 22, 2021.
Braving the scorching heat, hundreds of people gathered at the Martyrs’ Park, Lamhainamdi, where a monolith was erected to honour the sacrifice of the three victims.
In solidarity with the martyrs, educational institutions and some government offices in the district remained closed except for students writing their exams while business establishments down their shutter till 12 noon.
Speaking at the occasion, Zeliangrong Baudi president, C.R. Zeliang described Zeliangrong people as courageous, truthful and united in the common cause.
Reminding the gathering that they have clear history of their existence in their traditional and ancestral land, he said “we are the legacy holders of our land bequeathed by our ancestors”, adding that they are defenders and that they were morally obliged to defend the land and responsible for the God-given legacy. He said that they shall not conform or subscribe to outside policy forces but will uphold their age-old traditional rights over their land.
While commemorating the historic sacrifice event of supreme sacrifice made in defence of the land, he maintained that their sacrifices were priceless and shall go down in the history as martyrs. Zeliang also remembered and cherished the precious eight souls sacrificed 22 years ago in 2000, where they have been massacred, stating that their supreme sacrifices were vivid evidence of their rightful existence in their land. He also maintained that no power or force on earth can erase or deny their history wrought by blood and lives.
Zeliang also said that they have submitted all rhyme and reasons of their rights and position to the government of the day to do their part and that it was the moral obligation of the government to deliver justice in due time.
He also said that the victims’ families have appealed to Zeliangrong Baudi, Nagaland, seeking help to approach NIA to take up the investigation for the crime committed on March 22, 2021. He therefore hope that SIT set up by the state government would find various limitations to effectively investigate inter-state cross-borders where perpetrators could have been infiltrated and taking shelters. He said that they have accordingly written to the MHA, Government of India and requested the state chief minister to let NIA take up the case and ex-gratia be paid to the victims’ next of kins expeditiously but has been halted due to the recent election in Manipur. “Now election is over, we hope NIA in-charge Nagaland and Manipur would hopefully resume the investigation earnestly”, he stated.
Zeliang further appealed to the citizens of the village in particular and Zeliangrong communities in general to remain steadfast, united and truthful in the hope that they shall soon live in freedom in their land, adding that the truth on which they confide and stand will set them free.
Zeme Council president, Dr. Tumda Newme, in his speech, termed the day as “a day of introspection” and rethink of what was gone. He called upon the people to unite and co-exist together, which was the only way to avert such similar incident and protect their God gifted land. Newme also called upon the people to introspect “what they are”, “how they were” and put their heads together with collective efforts to thwart untoward incident in the near future. He informed that Lamhai village had opened their land to the whole Zeliangrong people to establish Zeliangrong village in 2018 but not to particular sub-tribe.
Nagaland Zeliang People Organisation (NZPO), Jalukie zone member, Hauneu Hiekha, who spoke on behalf of its president sought for unity among the people as disunity has made others to look them as inferior.
Lamhai Village Council chairman, Haibamko reminded that exactly a year ago, unforeseen incident took place, where three of its brothers were brutally martyred by assailants. He stated that the Lamhai Village has donated the land to the Zeliangrong people, for which he urged the Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei brothers to stand united to protect their land.
Dedication and sharing of remarks were ministered by senior pastor, Jalukie Town Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Among Mpom.
The minister also unveiled the headstones and monolith.
The programme was moderated by Zeliangrong Mipui Organisation, Nagaland secretary, Aluile Hegui. Two minutes of silence was also observed in memory of the three fallen heroes. A time of sharing were also given to the three victims’ families.