Unrest in Tuensang district
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he unrest in Tuensang district has pained me. Perhaps it has equally pained Nagas by in large in the loss of precious innocent lives and properties. It also has seriously dented the credibility of the State Government and the Christian character of Nagaland.
I have limited knowledge in the matter however, in the light of law of the land, Customary Law that we practice and in the spirit of Christianity, I am making these observations:Christians are the most peaceful citizens in the World. Here in Nagaland, we often forget the Christian doctrine when it comes to culture, land disputes and factional politics. Other civilised societies see us as if we are in a semi-conscious state through many of our unpalatable actions. Modern Nagaland with 95% Christians and 82% literacy is no better off now than in the history of the 19thcentury way of life. The news of merciless killing of innocent brothers and destruction of properties is not acceptable in the spirit.
I learn that in the matter, the then D.C. Tuensang, S. S. Rai’s judgement delivered in 1973 was not contested by the parties concerned. Therefore, in the eyes of law, the judgement stands valid. Subsequent judgements delivered by the Judiciary and the Administration in the related matter have no authority to distort the standing judgement that has been accepted by both the parties or is presumed to have been accepted for not appealing against the said judgement in the higher court. Surely, they have handled with best intention and knowledge. If there is any doubt, dispute or misinterpretation, it should be clarified from the honourable courts, and also, senior citizens who have lived through the dispute and are still alive to witness, could have been consulted.
In Nagaland we have Customary Laws. It is an even better device in solving land disputes and other civil and criminal cases. Our ancestors have followed oaths in finding the bottom of justice and truth – Oath in inviting condemnation and curse to self and including for whom one stands. In some customary laws the oath takers are asked to eat the disputed soil and the oath spelt by the Judge are seen and heard by the opponent in witness. However, if one party does not like to take the oath, they can see and hear in witness and give right of property or claim to the oath taker. There are many more ways practiced by various tribes and villages in finding the bottom of the truth.
As Christians, we may ask the parties represented by specified number of people or number of souls to affirm the oath, casting their hand upon The Holy Bible and taking oath on the claims that it is the truth and only the truth. If any false claim, let the curse of God befall on the oath taker and the people the oath taker stands for. Oath of solution is better than confrontation. We have heard and seen that false oaths have faced punishment within our lifetime. We also have seen generations being lost. The period of punishment befalling is left God.
‘No’ is not the answer to any problem. There should be room for both the parties in the solution. Obedience and co-operation are the duties of citizens when the law or customary or religious doctrine speaks to us. The Govt. is not helpless to disobedience.
The matter is related to interested persons/parties and not the communities or tribes. Communities should not involve. Govt. and Christian Organizations should forbid Christian members from involving in hate campaigns and killings. Huge fund raising is in the process from Government employees, business houses and villages to fund confrontation. This should be forbidden by the Christian Organizations and Government.
The Government should urgently compensate and resettle the displaced people.
I appeal to NBCC to intervene by forming a Truce Commission.
The Church and the Government are the two apex establishments that have moral responsibility to ensure peace, security to life and property.
NBCC and the Govt. must press the tribes concerned for voluntarily dissolution of SDF and YLA forces and endeavour to solve the problem in the light of above practices.