The land dispute case between Chakha and Rajaimai villages under Tamhazan (Senapati) district took new turn with the chairman of the joint court constituted to settle the case, tendering his resignation from chairmanship owing to moral responsibility.
Chairman of the joint court Maram Elders’ Forum and Zeliangrong Land Preservation Committee (MEF & ZLPC), Th. Tungchapbou, in a letter to the court convenor dated July 24, 2009, also disowned the “order/verdict” declared by the joint court on June 12 under his chairmanship.
Giving reasons for his resignation, Tungchapbou said while exercising his duties and chairman of MEF & ZLPC, he had overlooked certain genuine development and failed to pay due attention to objections posed from some quarters such as ZLR villages’ chiefs, the Chakha village itself and from even among the court members, ignoring timely action towards ultimate dispensation of justice which would have been acceptable and honourable to all parties.
The resignation of the chairman comes in the wake of 21 Zeliangrong villages including Chakha village demanding a review of the joint court’s verdict, which the ZLR villages alleged was in favour of Rajaimai village, though the court was “fully aware” that the land had been “encroached upon by Rajaimai village by force, taking its toll in terms of property damage and human injury.”
The village chief/chairman and headman of the 21 Zeliangrong villages in a letter addressed to chairman, MEF & ZLPC, also alleged that though Chakha village had maintained maximum restraint in the face of “all such barbaric acts committed by Rajaimai village,” the verdict of the so-called joint court had turned out to be a “shameless defeat of truth by trampling the age-old and time-tested customary law of the land by pathetically confused court members/judges.”
The main points raised by the 20 ZLR villages are: (1) On what ground the joint court had permitted the chief of Rajaimai village, Pung, to depute his son to water-dipping ritual when Pung himself was alive and healthy and had not handed over the chairmanship to anyone else. (2) The court had failed to lay down certain strictures and rules to be followed during the course of ritual as percustomary practice. (3) Instead of bringing about an amicable solution, as per the directive of the GPRN, the two bodies (MEF and ZLPC) went overboard and proclaimed themselves as joint court.
The letter further stated that Chakha village would be compelled to move “higher court” if the June 12 verdict was not reviewed.