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NTC rally opposes Rongmei recognition

By EMN Updated: May 14, 2014 1:46 am

Staff Reporter

THE Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) public rally against recognition of Rongmei tribe as one of the Naga tribes of Nagaland drew an encouraging response.
Though it did not compare in numbers to the October 31st rally by the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation, it made up in sending out a message as clearly as that of the ACAUT rally. Today’s rally unambiguously sent a strong message to the State government to revoke the Cabinet decision on Rongmei tribe recognition.
Braving the scorching heat, over 7000 rallyists representing different organizations and tribes of Nagaland lend their support to the NTC as it pursues the demand for total revocation of the 23rd July, 2012 Cabinet decision for recognition of Rongmeis as “one of the Naga tribes”. Even the Guwahati High Court had on November 22, 2012 directed the State government not to issue the “Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate ‘ to members of the Rongmei community as these names did not appear in the Electoral Roll of December 5,1963.
The message of Tuesday’s rally was amply clear – “Recognition of tribes without its ancestral land is an anti-people decision and a total sellout. If any tribe wants to be recognized, come with your ancestral land.”
It further went on to say that “every inch of Nagaland belongs to the Nagas of Nagaland who are the aboriginals. We are the true sons of the soil; therefore, the issue of tribe recognition to any floating population does not arise. Therefore, we demand the abrogation of the Cabinet decision. The blatant act of the State is one glaring instance of the State allowing the non-aboriginal tribes to take advantage in snatching away the rightful share of the genuine citizens of the State.”
Convenor of the NTC public rally Theja Therieh said the protest and rejection against recognition of Rongmei tribe has begun today with the voice and support of the people. He said this while making it clear that neither NTC nor Nagas of Nagaland have no adverse intents against the Rongmei Nagas, who he said are aborigines of present Manipur.
“Our land belongs to us exclusively, and your land belongs to you exclusively. We don’t have the right to interfere within the privileges granted to you in your ancestral land, and it’s neither our business of interest. The population here in Nagaland will grow, but the 16,000 square km of the State won’t grow. So here lies the concern,” he said adding that “We the Nagas, wherever we are settled, are one common family of the same racial stock and we will continue to work together as one people.”
NTC acting president Lendinoktang Ao reiterated that NTC is totally against the recognition of Rongmei tribe while reminding the government that it (NTC) will go to the fullest to denounce the Cabinet decision.
“Nagaland state was formed with the 14 aboriginal tribes and later Kacharis and Kukis were included. Go back to history. Rongmei tribe is from Manipur, and there was never a point of time where they (Rongmeis) are considered Nagas of Nagaland. The claim of 1313 Rongmeis to have permanent settlement in Nagaland prior to 1st December, 1963 is bogus and misleading,” he said reiterating that floating population shouldn’t be given recognition.
Former NLA Speaker Zhovehu Lohe, who no doubt was the loudest speaker of the rally, made no hesitance to denounce the state government’s decision on Rongmei tribe recognition as anti-people.
“We are not bothered with the 1313 population as claimed by the Rongmeis. Let the population exceed one lakh or even 10 lakhs, we will oppose it if you don’t come with your ancestral land,” Lohe sternly said.
He also wondered why NTC is branded as “anti-Naga, anti-unity, anti-integration”.
Observing the present scenario in Nagaland, he regretted that “People who are speaking or writing the truth are losing friends.”
Social worker and senior citizen Hekhevi Achumi, while questioning the motive of the State government in granting the tribal status to Rongmei asked which tribe is next to demand for recognition.
“We have so many domestic problems, so the government should first solve those issues. Why do we invite more problems to double our burden?” he said.
Former NTC president Thepfülhouvi Solo implored the gathering with the need to outdo the State Cabinet’s decision as it was taken without the consent of the people.
Lanu Imchen, who spoke on behalf of Ao Senden, mentioned the dangers looming within the people of Nagas of Nagaland if recognition is given to outsiders.
“As for the moment, the talk for greater Nagaland, integration and sovereignty is not primary for us. What is there left for us if our rights and privileges are taken away by outsiders,” he said.
Imchen assured the large gathering that Ao Senden will stay strong behind NTC as long as it continues to fight for the larger interest of the Nagas of Nagaland.
Others who spoke included Er. Mhondamo Ovung, representative from Wokha, Ketsore Mekro, general secretary, Tenyimi Public Organisation and former MLA Longbe Zeliang from Peren.
In today’s rally, three resolutions were also adopted. The resolutions were read out by NTC general secretary Nribemo Ngullie while the vote of thanks was tendered by NTC vice president Toniho Yepthomi, who is also the president of Sumi Hoho.

The three-point resolution

1. Resolved to reiterate the representations submitted to the govt of Nagaland by NTC against the inclusion of Rongmeis as recognized Tribe in the State of Nagaland and unequivocally reaffirm to pursue the matter spearheaded by NTC till the Notification is revoked in the larger interest of the people of Nagaland.
2. Resolved to denounce the 23rd July, 2012 Cabinet decision for recognition of “Rongmeis as one of the Naga tribes” entitling them all benefits of Scheduled tribe in the Sate as “anti people’s decision”.
3. Resolved to demand total revocation of the State Govt Notification NO. HOME/SCTA-6/ 2007 (PT-1) dated Kohima the 4th Aug/2012 granting “Rongmeis as one of the Naga Tribes” entitling them the benefits of Scheduled tribe in the State of Nagaland with immediate effect failing which it has no other option but would be compelled to resort to befitting action.

By EMN Updated: May 14, 2014 1:46:46 am