Clarification Letter to Lt. Imkongmeren’s Family — Naga Hoho
Dear Family members of Late Imkongmeren,
The Naga Hoho is constrained to write this letter to set the record clear as you have misquoted few statements in your “Statement on the proposed dedication ceremony of Imkongmeren memorial park” which appeared in local Dailies on 21st August, 2019.
1. The said Memorial park started construction in 2012 (not 2014 as you mentioned) in understanding with the family and Longkhum Village council. The Naga Hoho invested INR 20,00000/- (twenty lakhs) till 2013 for the construction and a tentative programme was made to dedicate the park on 13th November, 2013. Unfortunately, the park could not be dedicated on the set date because of wrong portrait of Lt. Imkongmeren and few other unfinished tasks.
2. As a follow up, the new tenure of Naga Hoho under the Presidentship of Mr. P Chuba Ozukum and colleagues accompanied by Ao Senden met the Longkhum Village Council on September 16, 2015 and resolved to redesign the park and complete the project at the earliest possible. Consequently, Mr Mhonchumo, Cultural & Customary Affairs Secretary of Naga Hoho was assigned as the Convener of Construction Committee and Chitho Nyuso, Secretary, K Elu Ndang, Assembly Secretary as Members. Mr. Wapang Ozukum, stone artist was engaged to improvise and redesign the park at INR 900000/- (nine lakhs). We firmly believe that the people are well aware of the involvement of Mr Wapang Ozukum and his team & Naga Hoho Executives towards construction work.
3. We really wanted to dedicate the park in time but unfortunately, the crisis in Naga Hoho started in 2016 and both the construction and dedication of park had to be neglected due to non-payment to the artist for quite some time as you have rightly pointed out. However, the project was almost completed except for some finishing touches and the final dedication.
4. Unexpectedly, the Naga Hoho learned from others that your family is preparing to dedicate the park on 29th May and therefore Mr HK Zhimomi, Vice President spoke over the phone with Mr Matong (son of Lt. Imkongmeren) to confirm and asked the family not to go ahead with the dedication programme as the park was conceptualized and constructed under the patronage of Naga Hoho. He had stated clearly then that the Park was created recognising the leadership of Imkongmerenas the first Vice President of undivided NNC and therefore the park belong to the Naga people and not to the family and you may have to pay back our investment if you go ahead with the dedication.
5. Alongside, the President of Naga Hoho met Mr Imtiyanger (son of Lt. Imkongmeren) at Kohima and he informed President that only a family prayer meeting was held on 29th May coinciding with the death anniversary of their mother and advised the President to meet his brother Matong and discuss the matter relating to the dedication. As advised, Mr Mhonchumo, the Convener of construction committee and his colleagues met Mr Matong on 20th June at Mokokchung. Mr Matong clearly told the Naga Hoho members that – “the Hon’ble Chief Minister called me earlier and discussed about the park, and our family have also incurred expenditures in the park, and our family had family prayer on 29th May coinciding with our mother’s death anniversary but dedication was not done, Naga Hoho may go ahead with the dedication programme and there is no objection by the family”. In reply, Mr Mhonchumo and his colleagues told Mr Matong to submit the expenditure bills to Naga Hoho so as to reimburse the bills at the earliest. On the same day, the Naga Hoho team also visited the memorial park site at Longkhum village and there was neither epitaph nor any official notice/sign indicating day of dedication or dedicated by Rev T Aka Jamir as claimed by your family.
6. With this understanding, the Naga Hoho have gone ahead and made the epitaph in a Brass plate at the cost of INR 65,000/- and most importantly published 300 copies of “Life Sketch of Imkongmeren, Vice President, NNC” as per our commitment to your family and the Longkhum village council spending another few thousands. We also took the consent of Rev. Dr Zelhou Kehyo, General Secretary, NBCC to dedicate the park on 24th August, 2019. Altogether, the Naga Hoho invested not less than INR 30,00000/- (thirty lakhs) within the span of two Naga Hoho tenures through the contribution of Naga leaders, well-wishers and Tribe Hohos.
Without much ado, the Naga Hoho has postponed the date for the dedication owing to the fact that your family has badly castigated the Naga Hoho without having the graciousness to voice your concerns to Naga Hoho first before making it public. The picture you have painted in public shows, as if the entire project was sponsored and conceptualised by your family and that Naga Hoho had irresponsibly neglected the construction and the dedication and for this your family had no option but to take over the responsibility of the project on your shoulders.
We would like to clearly state that we do not have any ulterior motives other than to set up the Imkongmeren Memorial Park as a mark of respect to your father who for us is a revered and a highly regarded leader. The present Naga Hoho team being a part and parcel of this project from its nascent stage felt it was our priority and responsibility to dedicate the park for the Naga people before the new Naga Hoho team took over.
Finally, it is up to your family to judge whether Imkongmeren Park belongs to your family or the Naga people. Leaving issues aside, we sincerely believe that the memorial park of Late Imkongmeren deserves a proper befitting inauguration/dedication under the aegis of any appropriate frontal organisation.