Zeliang Calls For Balance In Safeguarding Article 371 (A) - Eastern Mirror
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Zeliang calls for balance in safeguarding Article 371 (A)

By EMN Updated: Nov 14, 2023 10:19 pm
T R Zeliang speaking at Ahuna festival 2023
TR Zeliang speaking at the Ahuna festival and Zunheboto district golden jubilee celebration at Zunheboto on Tuesday.

DIMAPUR — Acknowledging the significance of Article 371(A), Deputy Chief Minister TR Zeliang has called for a balance between safeguarding the rights contained in the article and ensuring that they do not impede developmental activities in Nagaland.

Speaking at the Ahuna festival celebration, which coincided with Zunheboto district’s golden jubilee on Tuesday in Zunheboto town, Zeliang addressed the intricacies of land ownership and holding patterns within Naga communities. He highlighted the repercussions of land ownership and holding patterns on state development projects, with specific emphasis on compensation issues related to road projects.

As the minister in charge of the National Highway department, Zeliang said that his primary aim was to resolve the land compensation issues, terming them as a ‘major stumbling block’ for the successful implementation of projects. Given the state government’s limitations in constructing quality roads due to financial constraints, he highlighted the central government’s willingness to construct National Highways in Nagaland, depending on the availability of land. In this scenario, he requested tribal hohos, in collaboration with village councils, to collectively adopt a strong and binding resolution on this matter.

Additionally, he mentioned that National Highway 702-A will now be passing through the heart of Zunheboto district. If the technical formalities work out, the Showuba-Pangsha road can also bring substantial benefits to the residents of Zunheboto district, as it covers a significant stretch within the district. Expressing confidence in the landowners’ collaboration and cooperation with the department, he said that a collective effort can contribute to a transformative impact on the state’s landscape.

In his address, Zeliang highlighted that the ongoing celebration goes beyond the Ahuna festival, extending to the golden jubilee of Zunheboto district. He noted the absence of a common Indigenous festival, akin to Christmas, which is a Christian festival celebrated by all Nagas. Instead, each tribe observes its distinct festival at various times, each with its narrative and significance.

Highlighting the unique ability of Naga festivals to unite the community without distinction, cultivating a sense of unity among its members, he emphasised the significance of safeguarding and perpetuating these traditions and practices. He urged for their continuation and transmission to younger generations.

Referring to Zunheboto as the ‘Land of Warriors,’ he acknowledged its historical significance as the birthplace of many notable individuals across various fields, contributing significantly to the Naga cause and the state’s development. Positioned strategically, bordering seven districts in the state, he envisioned that with the right impetus, Zunheboto could emerge as a central hub for growth, catering to the needs of its neighbouring districts.

As the district celebrates 50 years, Zeliang called on the people to reflect on the past and chart their path for the future. With collective and sincere effort, Nagaland can be at par with the rest of the states, he maintained.

Meanwhile, the guest of honour, Advisor of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AH&VS), Kazheto Kinimi, called on the youth to give importance to tribal festivals and preserve the rich culture and traditions. Citing the example of the Hornbill Festival, where people from all around the world come to see the rich cultural traditions of the Nagas, he encouraged the people to preserve the culture and traditions and to keep them intact.

He said that Zunheboto is a place for all Sumis, and therefore, improvement in Zunheboto cannot be solely reliant on outsiders; instead, it requires collective efforts from the Sumi community. While acknowledging the courage and bravery of Sumis, he expressed concern about the prevailing disunity and urged everyone to unite, casting aside hatred in the spirit of the jubilee celebration.

Greetings speeches were delivered by Tsapikiu Sangtam, president of Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO); Kekhwengulo Lea, president of Tenyimia Union Nagaland; and Khondad Ngully, president of Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC).

The welcome speech was delivered by Kasheto Yeptho, president of SKH; lot casting (Asakiqhi) by Hovishe Arkha, former President Sumi Hoho; introduction and representation by Nikheto Zhimo, president of Sumi Hoho. The program was chaired by Vihoshe Murru, chairman SLB, and the vote of thanks was delivered by Hokishe Kiba, VP, Sumi Hoho.

Highlights of the event included various cultural songs and dances by Alahuto colony (Ahuna display), Laghilato colony (men’s folk dance), Project colony (Thishele), Amiphoto colony (women’s folk dance), and South Point colony (Indigenous song).

By EMN Updated: Nov 14, 2023 10:19:52 pm
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