Tuesday, March 28, 2023

SAYO on land dispute at Kezoltsa

To put the record in perspective, the issue of land dispute at Kezoltsa between Southern Angami with any neighboring village or tribe at Kezoltsa did not arise prior to the year 2000 until the destruction of JAPO rest house at Kezoltsa on 23-11-2000 by Songsong village under Mao Council (Then referred to as, Memai Council of Mao). Consequent upon the perpetration of destructing the JAPO rest house, it ultimately resulted in flaring up tension and dispute in the region and subsequently, the Tenyimia Central Union had to intervene. The Tenyimia Central Union after having examined the incident on the 14-02-2001, directed the Songsong Village through Memai Council of Mao to re-construct the JAPO rest house within 20 days period, w.e.f 15th February, 2001.
Mention may be made in reference to the Mao Council Memorandum submitted to Manipur Chief Minister on 23rd April 2015, where the Mao Council sought the immediate intervention of the State Government on the Kezoltsa issue citing, “MASSIVE ENCROACHMENT by the Southern Angami People’s Organisation (SAPO) taking place deep into Manipur State’s Political Boundary in the Dzüko-Kozüri Area”. Consequent upon the Mao Council submission of Memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur, the Naga Hoho intervened to bring an amicable settlement between the two Naga brothers as per customary usages of our forefathers and on 3rd June, 2015 at Mozhuw Prayer Centre, Mao Gate in a meeting with the officials of Mao Council in the presence of United Naga Council (UNC) and Naga People’s organization (NPO), the Naga Hoho along with UNC and NPO made fervent appeal to Mao Council to withdraw its Memorandam.
The Mao Council failed to respond positively to the appeal for withdrawing of the Memorandum. Hence, the Naga Hoho directed the Mao Council on two consecutive occasions, i.e, 5th and 10th June 2015 to immediately withdraw its Memorandum, in view of the fact that, the Naga Hoho was unable to move forward till the Memorandum was withdrawn but the Mao Council continued with its stand not to withdraw. Yet, the Naga Hoho in its attempt to further intervene into the impasse of the SAPO and Mao Council, convened a consultative meeting on the 1st July, 2015 at The Heritage, Kohima and resolved to direct the Mao Council to withdraw its Memorandum within five days. After the expiry of the five day period and the Mao Council having failed to withdraw the Memorandum, on the 6th July 2015, the Naga Hoho in its executive meeting unanimously resolved to suspend Mao Council as, it was fully convinced that, the Memorandum submitted by the Mao Council to the Government of Manipur was detrimental to the wishes and aspiration of the Nagas and the very involvement of the communal Government for solving the issues among Nagas is uncalled for.
The Kezoltsa issue which in nature being explicitly on basis of ancestral land ownership since time immemorial, on the 16-12-17 the President of Southern Angami Public Organisation, the Chief of Maram Khullen Village and the President of Mao Council appended an Arbitration Undertaking in the presence of the President, TPO and Convenor, Board of Arbitrators (BOA) constituted by TPO while, fully concurring that, the land belong to the people and not to any State or Government and have agreed to resolve the dispute based on Naga Customary Laws and its usages (Tenyimi) and not to resort to approach any other Court(s). The signatories had committed to co-operate, abide and strictly implement the decision given by Board of Arbitrators (BOA) and also agreed not to destroy the forest (flora and fauna), collect forest produce, permit hunting and allow any road connectivity to the forest. To this effect, the existing road(s) shall also be cut-off.
However, the Mao Council in contravention to the principles of the Arbitration Undertaking had defied the agreement; few instances are mentioned below:
• The Mao Council had twice undertaken the construction of approach roads through PMGSY and Agri-link road projects.
• On 29th December, 2020 during the jungle inferno, the Manipur Government on the pretext of dosing the fire had undertaken forest clearing and constructed roads.
• On the pretext and allegations of protecting its people and land, the Mao Council approached the Government of Manipur and subsequently, armed personnel were deployed, concrete buildings were constructed and 144 Cr.PC was promulgated through the District Magistrate, Senapati.
• Under the patronage of Mao Council, Manipur Government has carried out massive development activities within the disputed area, which is under the custodian of the Hon’ble TPO Customary Court.
The above cited instances of defying the standing Arbitration Agreement of the TPO had resulted in illegal activities by acts of aggression in the form of land encroachment, destruction of environment and exploitation of natural resources in large scale.
From the time of our forefathers and till date, the Southern Angami and the Mao have shared common traditional land and its resources based on the Naga traditional values and customary practices. An instance can be of Okhro-Ikhro village, where the Manipur Government annually organizes its Cherry Blossom Festival without any objection from SAPO though, the particular location of the festival falls within the Nagaland State Political Boundary. The Southern Angami in honouring the aged old Naga traditions and customs of land ownership have not oppose to any development works, setting up of Educational institutions and construction of settlements and buildings which were undertaken by the Mao.
Since the inception of the dispute at Kezoltsa the Southern Angami has been rendered at the receiving end as a consequence of the continued unpleasant incidents and malicious activities, which were engineered to create disunity, manipulation of facts, arbitrary imposition of State sponsored forces and repeated attempts to stage fake claims over its land. However, the Southern Angami people in particular has unwaveringly stood to uphold the integrity and fraternity amongst all the Naga tribes and had firm conviction to maintain its age old relationship.
Through this statement, the Southern Angami reiterates to render and continue all out efforts and co-operation to the Tenyimi Public Organization and Board of Arbitrators (BOA), TPO in an affirmative anticipation of a timely verdict. It is also however, imperative on the part of the stake holders and signatories of the Arbitration Agreement to commit sincerely to the undertaking so, as to enable in delivering a befitting conclusion to the issue.
Media Cell
Southern Angami Youth Organization (SAYO)

Don't Miss

Must Read