Nagas afraid to speak out for fear of guns: Thepfulhouvi
Defying opposition from Naga Hoho and attempts to cancel the booking on Friday night refund of advance payment for the venue on Saturday morning, the formal launch of the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) went ahead at a simple yet impressive function held in the jam packed Angami Public Organisation (APO) Hall Saturday, coinciding with Nagaland’s fiftieth statehood year.
The oath of office was administered by Hokishe Yepthomi (Convenor Search Committee) to the first team of office bearers of the NTC that included: president-Thepfulhouvi Solo IFS(Retd); vice presidents-Lendi Ao and Toniho Sumi; general secretary-Nribemo Ngullie, assistant general secretaries– Kulimbe Kengim and Mishak Jemmu; information and publicity secretary- Theja Therieh and treasurer- Kethozapu Sahu.
The five-member advisory committee included: Hokishe Yepthomi, Z. Lohe, Akang Ao, Nchumbemo Tungoe and Azu Newmai.
Leaders of various tribes and tribal hohos were among several hundred who attended the function in a show of solidarity. NTC sources said those who showed up in their respective tribe’s traditional attire at the venue “are willing partners” as NTC did not wish to impose on anyone.
The Zeliang and Ao delegations, which arrived in large numbers in traditional attire were greeted with huge applause.
T. Solo: In his acceptance speech, Thepfulhouvi Solo, president NTC acknowledged the sacrifices by those who strived to form the NTC and said he humbly accepted the offer to head NTC.
He went on to express deep anguish that Nagas today were afraid to speak out the truth for fear of the “barrel of guns”.
A bold and prolific writer, who often attracted the ire of powerful elements, Thepfulhouvi said “when money speaks, truth is silent” and urged upon Nagas to speak out boldly. He expressed concern over the widening gap between the haves and the haves not and the privileged and unprivileged in Nagaland.
Solo reiterated that it was the duty of the state to ensure the rights for all its citizens. He also stressed on the need for deeper understanding of the “special constitutional rights” for Nagaland, as enshrined in the constitution of India with regard to ownership of land and its resources.
Pius Lotha: Earlier, delivering the welcome address, convenor NTC Pius Lotha reasserted that NTC was formed in order to provide a platform for Nagas of Nagaland against the backdrop of turmoil and to address issues concerning their interests. Pius said NTC was formed only after a series of consultations with like minded tribes without any unilateral or arbitrary approach but only after a unanimous decision was arrived at.
He said formation of NTC should have no conflict with Naga Hoho as the latter was a platform of all Nagas while NTC was for the “aboriginal Naga tribes of Nagaland state”. Pius also reiterated that NTC is a non political and social organisation.
He said its objective was to promote social harmony and closer understanding with all Naga tribes of Nagaland including other tribes and communities towards a common goal of interest and destiny.
Azu Newmai: Member of NTC search committee and former minister Azu Newmai affirmed that formation of NTC was a notable and calculated effort to set right what has gone wrong in Naga society.
Describing the launch as a “historic day”, Newmai said much consultations and deliberations had gone toward the evolution of a much-needed common platform for Nagas of Nagaland and vowed that nothing can stop it from achieving its objectives.
He also gave a hard hitting speech dwelling on the need for strengthening unity among Nagas of Nagaland in order to set things right.
Zhovehu Lohe: former Nagaland speaker Z. Lohe (Member of constitution drafting committee) pointed out that NTC was birthed on the 50th year of Nagaland statehood. He said NTC was formed because like-minded Nagas of Nagaland felt they needed to rescue the situation for the future generation. He said the Naga situation today had transformed society into an animal kingdom but the task for restoration was made difficult due to susceptibility of people to selfishness and timidity.
He said NTC was the main public platform for 14 tribes of Nagaland and not a launching pad for any individual. Lohe also outlined the various objectives of NTC of which, the primary objective was to be for Naga fraternity and a “conscience keeper of Nagas of Nagaland”.
Theja Therieh: NTC secretary said NTC was an exclusive body of the Nagas of Nagaland and was committed to work sincerely in close association with all other tribes, castes and communities for peaceful co-existence and mutual benefits in all times to come.
He also informed that the Kuki Inpi Nagaland and Kachari Tribal Council Nagaland sent their representations for becoming full-fledged members of NTC. Theja however said the present constitution of NTC having no provision to accommodate the two tribes, kept the matter in abeyance till the organization became fully operational and decided to invite the two tribes during general council meetings.
Earlier the programme was chaired by NTC founding member Ntsemo Ngullie while ordinance secretary NCRC Rev. Dr. Luozeilie Sanchu pronounced invocation prayer.
Highlights of the programme also included report history of formation of NTC by Theja Therieh while convener, Search Committee Hokiye Yepthomi presented the search committee report. -NPN