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M.C. Konyak serves legal notice
Published on 17 Feb. 2010 12:28 AM IST
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Altogether 15 persons have been served legal notice for issuing “defamatory articles” in connection with the “official visit” to Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary, Mon on December 16, 2009 and January 9, 2010 by Nagaland minister for forest and environment, ecology, wildlife and excise, M. C. Konyak. A copy of the legal notice addressed to 15 persons issued by Advocate, Zhasakhoto Vupru representing the minister was made available to the media. The advocate asked the 15 addressees to tender “public apology” within one week from the date of receipt of the notice and refrain from further publication of such articles in the newspapers in the near future. The advocate said that in the event of failure to carry out the requisition by the addressees, his client would be constrained to institute appropriate legal proceedings against them for damages amounting to Rs 10, 00, 00, 000 (Rs Ten Crore) only. The minister’s official visit to the wildlife sanctuary on two occasions was detailed in the legal notice besides making chronological mention of the “defamatory articles” issued by the addressees in the local dailies. It was stated that the minister had paid an official visit to the Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary, Mon on January 9, 2010 where top officials of the concerned department were also present for an on-the-spot assessment to draw up a comprehensive development programme for management of the sanctuary. The purpose of the visit was also to assess the physical damage from coal mining in upper Tiru and to study the effects of environment and eco-system from the mining site and around. The advocate said his client reached the Singphan Forest Camp at about 4 p.m that day after spending time at a students’ jubilee celebrations at the native village of ACCC 42 A/C Wakching president, Tangba Konyak who was also present at the celebration till 2 p.m. The minister inspected the unfenced area of the sanctuary’s boundary and had a meeting with the Angh and chairman of the concerned village and departmental officials. The advocate said that his client, after the meeting, had food and left for Naginimora, Mon to spend the night. However, the advocate said that to the “utter surprise and shock” of his client, an article under the heading, “DAN ministers alleged for violation of Wildlife Act” was published in a local daily on January 10. The advocate quoted from the article, “In a clear violation of Wildlife Act, two ministers under the DAN ministry, M.C. Konyak, minister of forest and environment, ecology, wildlife and excise and Nyeiwang Konyak, minister of education and SCERT organized a hunting party and camped at the private residence of the Chairman, Oting Village Council at Lower Tiru.” The hunting party was also alleged to have killed “two boars, two deer and countless other small animals and birds such as porcupines, squirrels, fowls and wildcats etc.” Reacting immediately to the ‘totally false and baseless report,’ the advocate said his client had issued a rejoinder which appeared on January 12 that he never visited Lower Tiru nor organized any hunting party. Similarly, a rejoinder issued by the chief conservator of forest (HQ) was also published on January 13 clarifying that the visit to the sanctuary from January 9-10 by a team of senior forest officials led by minister in-charge was ‘purely official.’ The advocate said another “highly defamatory article” was issued by the Mon DCC which appeared in the local dailies on January 14 commenting on the rejoinder by his client that he had never visited Lower Tiru nor organized any hunting party. The Mon DCC had “fully endorsed” the statement made by the ACCC 42 A/C Wakching on the “illegal misconduct of M.C. Konyak.” The Mon DCC had also reiterated that on December 16, “M.C. Konyak and his cohorts put up at Singphan Reserved Forest Guest House and he supplied ammunition to his followers out of which one Nahlei Konyak shoot one wild boar and Angmong Konyak killing a deer and others killing countless animal and birds.” The advocate said to set the record straight to this allegations, the village councils of Oting and Lemphang Tiru in Mon issued respective clarifications which appeared on January 14 in a local daily. The village councils clarified that the minister never camped in Lower Tiru village and also that M.C Konyak and Nyeiwang Konyak never came together to Tiru area and Singphan Forest. Further, another “false and misleading article” was written by Angyang Oting village Mon which appeared on January 20 in a local daily, the advocate said. He said the Lower Tiru villagers, elders and public leaders issued an article on January 25 declaring that all “such accusations as false and baseless.” The 42 A/C Wakching NPF unit also issued a clarification on January 31 stating that the allegations against M.C. Konyak was “completely baseless and politically motivated.” The advocate said his client finally broke silence on the allegations stating that the entire issue was “politically motivated,” which appeared on February 1 in the local dailies. He said another article was published on February 8 wherein the minister was again accused of having provided arms and ammunition on his “denial” trip to the reserved forest on December 16. The advocate said that his client indeed visited the Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary on December 16. He said the minister reached the project area at around 3 p.m and immediately went for an inspection of the unfenced area. The minister then had a meeting with the Lower Tiru villagers and party workers. After having dinner with them, the minister left for Naginimora to spend the night, the advocate said. “…my client has never been to Lower Tiru village except during the general elections in the year 2003. The allegation that my client and Nyeiwang Konyak… undertook a joint tour to Lower Tiru village and that they organized a hunting party and camped at the private residence of the chairman, Oting village council, Lower Tiru are blatant lies,” the advocate said. Having detailed the sequence of the various articles and rejoinders and counter rejoinders on the issue of his client’s visit to the wildlife sanctuary, the advocate said the minister’s reputation has been made a mockery before the public who have “started believing in the wild allegations…consequently, my client has lost his face among the public.” He said all the 15 addressees were conducting trial of his client through media without resorting to legal remedies. “He has never done any such acts, deeds or things as alleged by you, all the addressees,” the advocated added. The 15 addressees to whom the legal notice has been issued included: 1 Tangba Konyak, President ACCC 42 A/C Wakching, Mon, Nagaland 2 Takyong Konyak, General Secretary, DCC Mon, Nagaland 3 Angyang, Oting village Mon Nagaland 4 Chingwang, Deputy Angh, Lower Tiru Village Mon Nagaland 5 Tunwang, Deputy Angh, Lower Tiru Village Mon Nagaland 6 Noksha, Head GB, Lower Tiru Village Mon Nagaland 7 Patwang, GB, Lower Tiru Village Mon Nagaland 8 Khamwang, GB, Lower Tiru Village Mon Nagaland 9 Mongnei, GB, Lower Tiru Village. Mon, Nagaland 10 Lapwang VCM, Lower Tiru Village, Mon Nagaland 11 Chemwang, VCM, Lower Tiru Village, Mon Nagaland 12 Longwang, VCM, Lower Tiru Village, Mon Nagaland 13 Halwang, VCM, Lower Tiru Village, Mon Nagaland 14 Hewang, ex VDB secretary Lower Tiru Village, Mon, Nagaland 15 Lemton, Lower Tiru Village Mon Nagaland.

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