“The Position of Rongmei Recognition” : A Response

By Theja Therieh, Secretary, I&P, NTC & Lendinoktang Ao, Acting President, NTC

Apropos to the article captioned “The Position of Rongmei Recognition” by Rongmei Council Nagaland (RCN) represented by its president  James Akham which appeared in the local papers on 10th & 11th April, 2014.  The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) is saddened  to note the wild derogatory phrases used for paper war by the RCN referring the NTC  as “ some sections of leaders in the pretext and aegis of NTC or ENPO is generally reflecting or indicating certain defects notion or rationale deficiency of the Naga society… the syndrome of shortcomings… discriminative motive” or “ The communal issue-based composing NTC…  creating  false  public opinions, fallacious notions and out-rightly denying the fellow Naga brothers without realizing the facts, logic and the deserving status of the Rongmei citizens in the state… politically tempering… the advantages of the many evil designers etc”  While the article is published for the consumption of the public at large, the contents directly accused NTC, hence this response to set the matter straight. NTC respect the feelings of RCN, however some of its accusations and conclusions are generalized and baseless assumptions, not factual and even recklessly selfish and one-sided. Our main concern is that needless misunderstanding, distrust and resentment from false propaganda not be passed onto one another among the pan Naga brethren.

It is important to clarify that the Rongmeis were brought to Kohima under temporary permit by the British during the early part of the last century for scavenging profession at Kohima, this may not be misread or misinterpreted .That there are no names of Rongmei in the electoral roll of 5th Dec 1963 under Kohima District, as certified by the Joint Chief Electoral Officer & PIO, Kohima vide his letter No. ELE/RTI-2/2013/1758 Dt. 12/03/2013 and also there are no names of Rongmei in the electoral roll of 5th Dec. 1963 under Peren District as certified by Asst Election Officer & PIO Peren, vide his letter No. ELE/RTI/2010-13/639 Dt. 10/01/2013. The RCN while clarifying the statement of Western Sumi Hoho (WSH) admitted “there is no Rongmeis land in Peren District till date” as appeared in Morung Express Dt. 30th Sept. 2007. The right of recognition as claimed by RCN is baseless and is only creating animosities, distrust and resentment among Naga family. 

The Hon’ble Guwahati High Court in W.P.(C) No. 4519/12 for compliance of the order Dt. 22/11/2012 also passed an order addressed to the Chief Secretary, Nagaland as : “steps are being taken not to issue Indigenous Inhabitant Certificates to the members of Rongmei Community in violation of the abovementioned conditions stipulated in the Notification dated 28.04.1977. It may be stated that the names of the members of Rongmai Community did not appear in the Electoral Roll on 5.12.1963 and also they did not fulfill the other conditions stipulated in the abovementioned Notification dated 28.04.1977. Hence, you are hereby requested to comply with the aforesaid direction passed by the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court and not to issue ‘Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate’ to the members of Rongmei Community.” Therefore the claim of 1313 of Rongmeis purported to have settlement in Nagaland prior to 1st Dec. 1963 is bogus. Their claim of the so called “deserving shares” and accusing others of “the many evil designers” or claiming their recognition “enlarges or increases the grant of appropriation central provision”. Challenging the legal status of NTC and Christian faith is difficult to be understood. 

The recent controversies on the genuineness of Shri Sachui Kamei, S/o. Talung Kamei a Rongmei candidate who claims to be held from Zeliang Tribe was issued an Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate and Scheduled Tribe Certificate by the Deputy Commissioner of Kohima during 2004 qualifying him to seat for job interview in the Social Welfare Department who was later selected for the post of LDA-Cum-Computer Assistant against the seat reserved for Zeliang Tribe(BT). The NTC questions as to how a reserved seat against Zeliang Tribe is given to a candidate held from Rongmei Community and how an Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate is issued to a candidate who did not satisfied the criteria as laid down in Govt. Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated kohima, the 28th April, 1977. This blatant act of the State is one glaring instance of the State allowing the non-aboriginal tribe to take advantage in snatching away the rightful share of the genuine citizen of the State. This is a shameless attempt to forcefully snatch away its brother’s share leading to the most unwanted inter-tribal conflict that is destroying our bound of unity for the Nagas. 

Some Angamis and Semas had temporary settlement in and around Tadubi and Kangpokpi of Senapati District prior to the creation of Manipur State due to Indo-Naga warfare. As such they were listed as recognized tribes of Manipur as per law of Manipur state but they did not own any village territory as a community in Manipur, therefore they never claimed any benefit at any time, whereas in the case of RCN who owns no village territory claiming their recognition in Nagaland as their birthright is an expression of greed, selfishness and legally not tenable. This is the difference between the Rongmei Council and the Nagas of Nagaland. The RCN comparing themselves to the Cacharis and Kukis who have several villages prior to 1st Dec. 1963 and were listed as Indigenous Inhabitant tribe during the state formation and thereby gaining political mileage, ability to manipulate the present Govt. is not good for the health of the pan Naga community.

The NTC has serious reservation on the issue of recognition of other tribes apart from the Naga tribes of Nagaland State as indigenous inhabitant tribe of Nagaland. The fact is that the Rongmei Tribe recognition has already created precedence. Henceforth, when any Naga tribe from outside Nagaland State applies for the same has to be treated at par with the Rongmei lest it would be discrimination. Rongmei tribe recognition has open a flood gate, now the Nagas of Nagaland would be overwhelmed and stampeded as has happened in the last recruitment drive of Graduate Teachers of 2012 in peren District of Nagaland as a consequence of recognition accorded to Rongmei tribe. 

(To be concluded)

NTC, ENPO remind CM on Rongmei issue

Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) and Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) have reiterated their earlier stand against the inclusion of Rongmeis as recognized tribe in the state of Nagaland.

In a representation, addressed to the state chief minister, NTC president Thepfülhovi Solo and general secretary Nribemo Ngullie and ENPO president Chingmak Chang and general secretary Thamlong Phom stated that in spite of lapse of five months of submission of their earlier representations dated June 3, 2013 by NTC and June 25, 2013 by ENPO, the state government has not taken any steps to initiate in addressing the issue.

The NTC and ENPO have therefore jointly urged the state government to immediately address their demand to de-recognize the Rongmei as tribe of Nagaland in the interest of the Nagas.

NTC had, in its earlier representation, described that the July 23, 2012 Cabinet decision recognizing Rongmei as a Tribe in Nagaland was taken in “hasty manner” setting aside the orders, memorandums and notifications besides the report of the fact finding committee on the issue. – NPN

NTC demands Mathew Rongmei substantiate his claim

Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) is constrained to see an article purportedly given by one Mathew Rongmei, alleged to be a senior journalist and claimed resident of Zeliangrong village in his article appeared in Nagaland Post dated August 18,2013, under the caption “Reading View Points On Rongmei Recognition.”

In his article at para 2, Rongmei claimed that “after last assembly decision to recognized a tribe, the issue which might now see and non issue for the government but the volley of frenzied press releases in media distastefully pent-up a social discomfort…… . If Mathew is an indigenous resident of Nagaland, as a claimed senior journalist should/ought to know the day to day proceedings of the State Assembly since all important deliberations are widely publicized. A senior journalist should give a true and correct picture of his reporting’s and not flatter and misguide to his own fellow Rongmeis who are longing and aspiring to be a recognized tribe in Nagaland although they do not have locus standi. NTC has categorically stated that it is not opposed to giving Rongmeis an indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland State who fulfils the criteria of 1977 government Notification but strongly opposed to recognizing as a Tribe.

NTC as congregation of the aboriginal Tribes of Nagaland, none of the constituent members have come across the Nagaland State Assembly passing resolution giving Rongmeis as a recognized Tribe. NTC therefore demands from Mathew Rongmei to provide date, month and the year when the NTC decided to give Rongmeis a recognized Tribe. Mathew Rongmei has self imposed on the Nagaland Legislative Assembly a thing which has not happen misleading the public. This wrong press publication by an alleged senior journalist ought to be taken to task by the appropriate authority concerned. NTC high lights the press fraternity to scrutinize the misleading statement of fellow journalist and discipline the roguish member to safeguard the integrity of the fraternity. (NTC). NPN