Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Peren CSOs rejoinder to WSH

Nagaland Zeliang Peoples’ Organization and the Peren civils society organizations have issued a rejoinder to statement made by Western Sumi Hoho (WSH).
In a statement, the CSOs said that since time immemorial, the Naga tribes have existed side by side abiding by set codes of honour and respect for each other.
It said each village and tribe knew and knows as to with which village/villages or tribe/tribes their land has traditional boundary, adding that every inch of land within Nagaland was deemed as having an owner.
With regard to Peren district, CSOs said all Naga tribes recognised it as the land of the Zeliang tribe with historical borders with Chakro Angami land and no other tribe. Citing Naga custom of seeking adoption and permission from the landowner village for settlement in a village, CSOs said this well-established Naga custom had been “violated and trampled upon” by forcefully settling inside traditionally recognized Zeliang land.
“On the other hand, villages other than the Sumi villages such as Jalukie New, Jalukie Zandi, Jalukielo, Mhaikam, etc, were set up following the established Naga custom with permission and blessing of the original landowner and contrary to the WSH allegation that these villages were set up by migrants from Manipur,” CSOs stated. It claimed that the settlers of these villages were indigenous Nagas comprising all Naga tribes, who have taken Zeliang names as their village name, and established in accordance with the Zeliang Naga custom.
CSOs further said that the “Fifth Edition Surveyed Map of 1921-23 published under the Director of Brigader Chamber Singh MIS (IND) Surveyor General of India in 1953 reflecting the Peren district speaks volumes as to which tribe the land belongs,” CSOs said, adding that the map clearly showed that the only neighbour of Zeliangs were the Angamis and no other. It said that the village name “Mhaima” in the map was Lamhai village, which extended up to Rangapahar with its boundary with Chumukedima with river Tehaiki or Khovaru as the boundary. However, it said the map was silent about the existence of any other village between Chumukedima and Lamhai (Mhaima) village since there was none. With regard to part of Peren land being brought under newly created Chümoukedima district (erstwhile Dimapur district), CSOs said this does not change the status of ownership of the land, as the land would still belong to the original landowner. The creation of areas of jurisdiction for administrative convenience has no effect upon the landownership, it added. It also narrated how Kiyevi, in 1939, migrated from Zunheboto and established a village after following the Naga customary procedure of seeking permission and adoption as the son of Lamhai village. Later in 1979-80, CSOs said that the erstwhile Kiyevi village was relocated to the Dhansiripar sub-division with the permission of the state government and subsequently was renamed as Kiyeto village and recognized as such on February 3, 1993. Therefore, it said that Kiyevi village no longer existed. However, after the entire village shifted to the new site, it claimed that “late Yesheto, Mohourer, PWD”, was allowed by Lamhai village to stay at the erstwhile Kiyevi village on humanitarian ground as he was compelled by his circumstances as a government servant. However, it claimed that “without the knowledge and permission of the Lamhai village”, some families drifted in and made their home on the site, and after which the trouble began all over again. Therefore, CSOs said there was no question of peaceful co-existence.
It also recalled that September 25, 2020, a co-ordination meeting was held between Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) and Zeliangrong Baudi Nagaland, Nagaland Zeliang People Organization, Zeme Council Nagaland and Liangmai Council Nagaland where it was firmly resolved to co-exist peacefully in a true spirit of brotherhood. A co-ordination committee comprising five members each from both organizations was also formed to continue the peace mission and resolved the unresolved issue. As the co-ordination committee became defunct following the March 22, 2021 incident, CSOs said the declaration of WSH withdrawing from the co-ordination committee was a “mere rhetoric”.
Reminding that the Zeliangs by nature were peace loving friendly people, CSOs said whenever outsiders approached them with goodwill and requested for establishing village on their land, they were never denied permission. Other Naga tribesmen who have established such villages on Zeliang land have remained grateful to the Zeliangs and were faithfully abiding by the customary laws of the Zeliang and recognizing the Zeliangs as their godfather, the CSOs stated.

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