“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.


(2). NAMES OF ROMGMEI ARE NOT FOUND IN E-ROLL OF 1963
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. 

(3). ORDERED NOT TO ISSUE INDIGENOUS CERTIFICATE TO RONGMEI 
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. 

(4). RECRUITMENT IN TO GOVERNMENT JOBS WITH BOGUS CERTIFICATES
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. 

(5). ANGAMIS AND SEMAS ARE RECOGNIZED TRIBES IN MANIPUR
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.

(6). ONCE THE DOOR IS OPEN THERE CAN BE NO STOPPING LATER  
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)

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Try to see beyond illegal taxation and extortion

NTC and ACAUT can be a good platform to start Nagas’ Unity and Naga People Mass Movement (NPMM) IF: some of the prominent LEADERS and Facebookers stop trying to implicate the other Nagas as supporter of only one faction, stop considering other Nagas as less Naga, consider all the Nagas as one, focus only on the main issues, and work for Nagas’ Unity.

NTC may be there. ACAUT may be there. Taxation may be reduced, or there may be only one Taxation, but Naga faction will remain the same next many years UNLESS there is Naga People Mass Movement and solve the Naga Political Problem. And tomorrow again you may say, “this taxation is too high”. Lowering tax or paying only to one Government may be a temporary pain relieve for some of the Government employees and businessmen, but this is not the end of suffering from taxation, threat, oppression or whatever you called it.

The ultimate solution will come only if the Naga Political Solution comes. And this Naga Political Solution may come only if the Naga People are UNITED and start the NPMM. Let the Naga public with their prominent leaders (tribal Hoho) and factional leaders decide the Naga’s future or what the Naga people want today – sovereignty or whatever the Naga leaders and public decide for the good of the Naga people.

Paying tax to one Government and lowering taxation would definitely help to breathe better for the Nagas. However, I want to look beyond this temporary relieve which will haunt us back shortly without solving the Naga political problem. Our present leaders need to be more foresighted and think for the Naga younger generation by helping to solve the Naga Political solution instead of trying to bring little relieve to their generation by lowering or paying tax only to one Government.

If you think that Naga public have the voice and they can do it, the Naga public leaders should start uniting the Naga people and then bring the factional leaders to reconcile and unite. Which will be easier to unite – the Naga public or Naga factional leaders? The Naga leaders may need to study on this aspect and try to bring together the Naga people.

We the Nagas need NTC and ACAUT kinds of organisation to fight against the corruption, illegal taxation, extortion and to work for the development in Naga dominated areas. HOWEVER, IT SHOULD NOT COMPROMISE the unity of the Naga people. Sometime, the public may simply follow their leaders and the organisation like NTC and ACAUT need to work systematically, professionally, tactfully, intellectually and diplomatically with the public support without compromising the unity of the Naga people.

Today, it is the time for the Nagas to reason together, move forward together, work together and see beyond our own family, village, tribe and state. However, if we continue to think and see only for our families, village, tribe and state, the Naga people will continue to suffer many more years regardless of any state or country they live.

@Dr. Thohe Pou

Ban for what?

By: Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd); Forest Colony, Kohima

It was extremely disappointing to read  the official stand of NSCN (IM) on ACAUT and NTC as carried by the local dalies (29th Oct.2013), banning both  creation of NTC as an organization and the present laudable efforts of ACAUT.  It takes a great deal of courage to admitting to one’s own shortcomings. The honourable kinds would take note and make necessary amends. The less intelligent beings compound their problems by defending their mistakes with added irrationality. The latter description seems to fit the think tank of the NSCN (IM) to a large extent.

Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd) Photo: Morung Express

Khekiye K. Sema IAS (Rtd)
Photo: Morung Express

The issue of “taxation” is not an exclusive subject concerning NSCN(IM) alone. Every other Faction is thickly involved in it as they are and should not have taken it so personally. The issue here has nothing to do with anti -Nationalism. It is purely an issue of survival, the basics of all human instinct. Just as much as NSCN (IM) and all the Factions want to live, so too  does the a common man. He may not be able to live in style and luxury  like the factions are but he does want to live a simple life unfettered by extraneous financial pressures on his already difficult existence. This life is slowly being squeezed out of him because of the multiple taxation by all the so called National Workers. As Tax Collectors it certainly is easier for them to undermine the extent of the burden being carried by the common man. Each Faction may be thinking that they are raising just a reasonable one hundred rupees (as a conjecture) from an individual without considering the fact that that same individual is paying the same amount to each of the 8 factions which collectively lands up being Rs.800/-.

 

Their syndicate system has further caused serious abnormal price escalation in every conceivable commodity which the common man lands up paying for again. When the common man is not even able to earn one thousand rupees on a regular basis, their taxation becomes an act of slow murder. The desperate cry of an oppressed giver is then tagged as an act to “malign the National cause in the name of unspecified, unabated taxation” instead of honestly pondering over the cause of such a public outcry and consider measures to sensibly streamline their unscrupulous system which definitely exist. When did wanting to LIVE become anti-national? How more insanely  stupid can the Factions get? The common man is crying out in pain, appealing to all the Factions that the situation has gone far beyond his ability to continue bearing this excruciating yoke and is saying enough is enough. This is a time for them to listen and think positively, not throw threats.

The factions only know the word “Take” but the word “GIVE” is not in their lexicon. Most of all they are not accountable to anyone after they “Take”. That’s how their ‘sovereignty’ palaces have sprung up. That’s how their brand new ‘sovereignty’  SUV gets parked in their porches. Every fool knows this. While the indifferent rich and the affluent may curse while paying their taxes, they are capable of taking such taxation in their stride but for the majority, the common man, who wonders where his dinner will come from while having his lunch, life cannot be more damning than this. Then questions such as these start overflowing : Who’s freedom are they fighting for anyway? Why the need for so many Factions, with each of them taxing us dry, fighting for the same identical cause? What purpose does it serve to attain sovereignty with no people left to enjoy its fruitation  or too impoverished to their bones to care? What kind of a future would we have if the present norm becomes the legal norm of an Independent Nagaland? It gives one a horrible feeling to look beyond one’s nose for the answers to these questions.

With or without guns, a time will come when the masses would want to know how their tax has been used by the Factions over the years. Remember history. Remember the French Revolution of 1789 when the merciless inaptitude of King Louis XVI led him to the gallows. Remember the recent history of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya etc. These are not fairy tales. These are real time occurrences where the oppressed could tolerate tyranny no longer and erupted into the open streets with deathly consequences. The Factions must know that what has happened elsewhere around the world can and will happen here in Nagaland too, when pushed beyond the limits…if not today, certainly tomorrow. Mark my words. The present gathering is just a sounding board for those at the helms of affairs to please take stock of the truth and take necessary steps to right the wrong. Nobody is raising his voice against taxation per say. They are only questioning the uncontrolled excesses which their subordinates are definitely involved in. Is that too much to ask?

So why cause or wait for such a time to happen when the masses lose control? The pragmatic and sensible thing to do is coordinate with ACAUT and all other NGOs, realistically identify the loose ends and loopholes in their tax raising mechanism and plug the holes for everyone’s convenience instead of adopting the brute force to quieten the masses. It may work momentarily but be rest assured it will not work for ever. The Faction Leaders must honestly understand that their grassroots functionaries, their tax collectors are involved in numerous unscrupulous self-indulgent activities in the name of “the Nation” harassing the people day in day out without a break. It is not the masses but their own inner cadres who act anti-nationally, cheapening the mention of the words “working for the Nation”. This phrase is heard from the cadres when they raise tax for “the Nation” to indulge in their National Urge to have their regular quota of National liquor by patronising the underground National Bars prohibited but spread in every nook and corner of the city.

In broad daylight propagate the message of prohibition and after dusk patronise such national bar with absolute abandon. Everything they do is for the Nation reducing their questionable routine activities to that of a National joke. Such hypocrisy makes the Factions appear a National laughing stalk too. The Bosses may not like to hear this but so do we.  Believe me when I say I have my due sincere respect for many of the faction leaders who have honest intent but they must wake up to the present reality and assess the situation with an equally honest open-mindedness: The voice that’s being heard tells of the ground reality picture that the masses see every waking hours of their lives and therefore are telling them that they have had enough and appealing to them to have it examined with total integrity.  It would be a serious error to write this appeal off as Anti-National behaviour. Such activities of their subordinates as described will definitely not be brought to their attention and of which the masses are tired of. With half truth feedbacks, the Faction Bosses therefore may react in annoyance that the masses a rebelling against them and the National Movement and on the spurt of the moment expel such a reaction of the masses as anti-National. The truth is that no Faction is receiving the full 100% tax that has been collected from the people at their central office. In fact are they receiving even 40%? Check this out first.

 

This should tell them the true story and should make them think rather than lash out at the masses. Check your cadre first. Don’t antagonistically kill the goose that is laying their golden eggs in a spurt of anger without introspection and self examination. The positive thing to do is to gracefully withdraw the ban and instead open the doors and windows to reason with the mass based organization(s) including NTC to make thing happen in a more sensible amicable manner where all stand to gain.
The above reflection is neither borne out of malice nor intended to undermine the true National Workers or the aspiration of the Nagas. It is an expression of a sincere Naga citizen who believes that our National Workers can carry this responsibility with dignity and honour and be a source of pride for the masses. This is definitely not the picture at present…far from it.

Reconsider ban: NMA appeals

KOHIMA, OCTOBER 29 (MExN): The Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) has expressed “serious concern” over banning of the ACAUT-proposed public rally by NSCN (IM). While extending appreciation to both the NSCN (IM) and ACAUT for their “concern and efforts in trying to bring about protecting the interest of the Nagas,” the NMA, in a press release issued today, called upon all to “exhibit large heartedness and a spirit of accommodation towards any step in the right direction that deserves support and cooperation from all section of the Naga society.”

In this, the NMA has made a fervent appeal to “The GPRN to reconsider their resolution adopted on 28th October 2013 banning the proposed rally of the ACAUT” and to “both the parties to give each other space and if there is any misunderstanding in between, to resolve it through dialogue to maintain peace and bring about amicable solution to this imbroglio.” As mothers, the NMA said, “our concern have always been to build a healthy society for our people and we will continue to uphold and give our best to strengthen our aspiration.”

‘Tearing down banners will not silence the voices of people’

Dimapur | October 29 : The ACAUT today informed that the ‘Signature Campaign’ banners at Clock Tower—manned by The Naga Blog (TNB) – were “pulled down by unscrupulous elements and carted away.” This, it stated, “has hurt the sentiments of the people and the ACAUT condemns such acts of cowardice.”

Business Association of Nagas (BAN) pointed out that “tearing down the banners will not silence the voices of the general public.” While pointing out “the immaturity of individuals who have torn down the banners of the ACAUT’s signature campaign,” the BAN in a statement, affirmed that “this rally is not targeted against any organization but is simply an expression of people who are fed up with the sad state of affairs.”

Citizens who turned up at the Clock Tower to sign the ACAUT banners Tuesday morning were in for a shock as the banners were found removed. ACAUT members at the site said that about 20 banners were taken away. The missing banners, with signatures on them, were replaced by a new one. The replacements were however also torn down later in the afternoon by unidentified men. A witness said that 4-5 persons turned up at the Clock Tower at around 4:30 pm, took down the remaining banners and left. The police was finally called to keep vigil at the site.  Pastors from the Lotha Baptist Church, BAN, Eastern Naga Students Union, Dimapur, Miss Dimapur 2013 and Nightwatch Prayer Group had turned up. A pastor, expressing disappointment, termed the act as a direct challenge to democracy and against the wishes of the people; and on the flipside has only reinforced the people’s support.

Medicine shops, Garages to
close till noon on October 31

The Nagaland Medicine Dealers Association has informed that all “the Medicine shops in and around Dimapur will remain closed from 9AM to 12 noon on October 31” in support of the ACAUT rally. The NMDA issued this statement today. Furthermore, Dimapur District Garage Welfare Trade Union has requested all its registered garages to remain closed on October 31 to “fully support the ACAUT rally.”

Schools, Colleges requested
to close on October 31

The ACAUT has requested all schools and colleges in Dimapur District to close their institutions on October 31 to show solidarity with the ‘Public Awareness Rally’ and also to enable the students to attend the rally.
Morung Express News

NSCN (IM) disallows Oct 31 rally; bans NTC

DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 28 (MExN): The NSCN (IM) informed that at the joint council meeting held today at the Council Headquarters, Hebron, it was decided to disallow the proposed rally on October 31, 2013 organized by the “so called banned” Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT), which is “just to malign the national cause in the name of unspecified, unabated taxation”.

In this connection, the MIP press statement said, it was decided “to initiate further necessary steps or measures to obstruct such anti national designs to murder the long struggle for the national cause”. The meeting also reaffirmed the decisions of the Joint Council Meeting held on the October 8, 2013, “to ban the newly floated Nagaland Tribal Council (NTC) for its deliberate negation of the principle of the Naga Hoho and aspirations of the Nagas”.  MExN

Support for Nagaland Tribes Council

By: Charles Mhonthung Ezung, River Belt Colony Dimapur

The creation of Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) should not have attracted so much brouhaha, since it is within the prerogative enjoyed by every tribe to come together and form a larger platform where we can meet and discuss issues of mutual interest. It is not an organisation created to destroy another organisation but in fact, judging from the statements of the leaders of the NTC, it is created to supplement all the existing Naga organisations in their purpose to protect the interest and rights of the Naga people across Nagaland State and particularly the people of the state of Nagaland.

The issue of whether the existing Naga organisations did anything worth while for the cause of the Naga people and the people of the state of Nagaland is matter of intellectual debate. I have my justifications whether I say that they did or they did not. The points highlighted by our respected Thepfulhouvi Solo are surely valid and needs deep pondering upon by the different organisations mentioned by him. They also should admit that in some way or at some point of time they had failed the Naga people of Nagaland state. We the common people had been suffering for so long, groaning under the yoke of our own brothers, where were these organisations to lift up this unjustified yoke? The creation of ACAUT is a welcome development, but don’t you think this should have been done long time back? Also it should have been under the aegis of the Naga Hoho, which is the apex of all the Naga organisations and it would have carried more weight and its reach would have wide spread. We have our own kith and kins who are unemployed and at the same time do not posses enough capital to start self employment.

Now should I think of my own immediate kith and kin or my distant kith and kin. I believe no one would condemn me just because I have given priority to my own kith and kin who are in need. In the same manner what the NTC is planning to do I believe is to serve the interest of the Nagas of Nagaland State first, since we have so many needy people in our own land to take care of.
Let us not bicker but come together and work together. There may be hundreds of organisations within the state, but it doesn’t matter as long as there is mutual understanding and cooperation between us. Personally I feel the more organisation exist the better for us Nagas because we will have better opportunity to express our interest and also platforms to represent them.