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Nagaland

Rengmas and Karbis resolve to maintain age-old relationship

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By EMN Updated: Jan 09, 2014 11:39 pm
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Correspondent
KOHIMA, JANUARY 9

IN the aftermath of ongoing tension between the Karbis and Rengmas in Karbi Anglong and Dimapur, the first official meeting between the Karbi Anglong Peace Forum (KAPF) and Naga civil societies today resolved to maintain the firm age-old relationship between the two communities and also fight the ‘third force’ effort of disunity till the end.The 12-member KAPF team comprising 30 different Karbi civil organizations and led by its advisor JI Kathar arrived Kohima last evening and called on Nagaland Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Levi Rengma, Home Commissioner Temjen Toy, Director General of Police Besüsayo Kezo, Deputy Commissioner W. Honje Konyak, SP Rothihü Tetseo and officials of Rengma Hoho today.
Later in the evening, they had a closed door marathon meeting with the Naga civil societies – Naga Hoho, Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights, Angami Public Organisation and Angami Students’ Union, Angami Youth Organisation. Today’s meeting of the KAPF with the government agencies and Naga civil societies was felicitated by ASU.
Meanwhile, jointly addressing a hurriedly called press conference late evening, KAPF advisor JI Kathar said the basic purpose of the forum to come to the State was to clarify the certain misconception about the Karbi people in Assam and also to meet the Karbi people working here, specially in Dimapur and Kohima.
He asserted that despite the unfortunate incidents in Karbi Anglong and Dimapur, the KAPF was hopeful that the Karbis in Nagaland are safe and that there is no need for worry.
“There is no hatred between the Karbis and Nagas and we will continue to exist as brothers and sisters,” he asserted.
He also alleged that the tension has been created by some ‘third front’ in Assam and unless the government of Assam flush out those involved, it will be difficult to restore normalcy.
Stating that his team met the Karbi people residing in Kohima today, Kathar said, “We didn’t think that Karbis are unsafe here. We knew that Karbis are safe here in Kohima. And they have been made safe in Dimapur too. They do not need to fear”.
He also asserted that the team would meet the Karbis in Dimapur tomorrow.
Kathar also asserted that both the Karbis and Rengma Nagas in Assam have been living peacefully for centuries while attributing the present tension to the creation of people who do not want to see the peaceful coexistence between the two Karbi and Naga communities.
“Our message is that peace and normalcy must be restored,” he said while affirming to maintain the centuries old relationship between the two communities by fighting against any force trying to work against them till the end.
Kathar expressed surprise on the demand of the Assam government for NIA and CBI to enquire into the killing of nine Karbi people in Dimapur. When the tribal clashes have been taking place since 2003 in Assam, why is the government demanding CBI or NIA enquiry only into the Dimapur killing, he asked.
He also said whichever agency comes, it should not only enquire into the Dimapur killing of the Karbis but should also investigate the burning of villages and killings of Rengma people and before and after the December 27 attack in Karbi Anglong.
Kathar also acknowledged the constitution of the SIT and HPEC by the Nagaland government to enquire into the death of the nine Karbis in Dimapur. “Nagaland government has done their part and we want that the Assam government or the Centre should seriously enquire into the tribal clashes in Assam which have been taking place since 2003,” Kathar added.
He further assured that the KAPF would certainly work towards safely taking back the thousands of displaced Rengma Nagas housed in various relief camps.
He conveyed the message that “peace must be restored. Rengma Nagas and Karbis – we have always been brothers and sisters for centuries and will continue to remain so… whoever is against us, we will continue to fight till the end. And not only that, there are also Lotha Nagas in Karbi Anglong. We will continue to maintain the relationship,” he said.
Meanwhile, the KAPF acknowledged the help rendered to the relatives of the nine victims by the Naga people and Dimapur police after recovery of bodies in Chumukedima ‘A’. He also expressed gratitude to all the Naga society for their help and support.
Naga Hoho general secretary Mutsikhoyo Yhobu lambasted that the granting of ex-gratia by the Assam government only to the Dimapur victims shows that the government has been trying to create situation by giving step motherly treatment to the tribal people in Assam.
He reiterated that the Assam government should treat all the tribal people equally and also provide equal ex-gratia to the victims amongst the Rengma Nagas and compensate for the loss of their produce and other properties.
Yhobu also requested the peace forum to find the possible way to safely send back the displaced Nagas to their homes and also take up the matter of equal treatment of all the communities by Assam government.
NSF president Tongpang Ozukum asserted that Karbis in Nagaland are safe and they also expect that the Nagas in Assam are safe. He maintained that because of some unwanted elements, the age-old relation between the Rengmas and Karbi people cannot be spoiled.
Appreciating the efforts of the KAPF for coming to Nagaland with a peaceful mission, Ozukum expressed the hope that such frequent meetings between the Karbis and Nagas would strengthen the ties.
“We hope the meeting will be harbinger of peace and cordial relationship amongst the two communities,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, briefing on the outcome of the meeting, senior NSF leader Achumbemo Kikon said today’s meeting has come to a certain understanding to condemn the killing of Rengmas as well as the Karbis.
Accepting that there are certain forces working to divide the Nagas and Karbis, he said the House resolved to remain firm on the age-old relationship as good neighbours and strengthen our relationship.
He also maintained that both sides will not polarize whatever incident has already taken place but since dialogue has began between the two communities, we will continue this and resolve all the issues through dialogue.

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By EMN Updated: Jan 09, 2014 11:39:36 pm