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Kiphire situation tense, Govt dismisses claims on Pungro area
Published on 22 Aug. 2010 12:36 AM IST
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Drawing attention to recent press releases issued by Yimchungrü and Sangtam bodies over the issue of Pungro land dispute, the state government today declared that those press statements were “devoid of legal sanctity.”
The GBs’ union Pungro sub-division, public forum of Pungro sub-division, and GBs’ association Kiphire district had, in a “public notice”, invited United Sangtam Likhum Bumji (USLB), any village or individual, who claimed the ownership of land within Pungro sub-division, to appear in person on August 24, 2010 to make their claim. It had also asked the government to depute its representative(s) to bear witness to the claims and objection, if any, to settle the dispute “once and all.”
In response to the above statement, the USLB, on August 17, had said that land was donated by Sangtams to the state government in the year 1953 for establishing administrative headquarters and not to Yimchungrüs to establish their villages.
Therefore, viewing both the press statements with seriousness, the state chief secretary Lalthara, in an official order, declared that “it is not the proper for the party to the dispute to summon the other party in the above manner for settlement of land disputes between different tribes/villages,” adding that government would not recognize any decision or settlement of land dispute in this manner which did not involve government agencies or the third party apex tribal bodies, as it would rather aggravate the misunderstanding between tribes.
Further, the state government appealed to all the members of the Yimchungrü and Sangtam tribes, and their various bodies to maintain peace and refrain from any activities or press statements that could create further tensions between the two tribes.
Restriction on movements
Meanwhile, the Kiphire district administration has imposed strict restrictions on movement of people/villagers in large numbers from one place to another, following a serious law and order situation created within Kiphire district particularly Kiphire and Pungro town over the issue of Pungro town land dispute between the Yimchunger and Sangtam.
In an order, the deputy commissioner Kiphire C.M. Tsanglao has also directed all VCCs and GBs to confine their villagers within the village with immediate effect till the issue between the two tribal communities was amicably settled.
The administration cautioned that if any village was found violating the order they shall be penalised with imposition of collective fine under the Rules and all VDB funds for the village shall be impounded.
YTC reacts to USLB claim
Reacting sharply to the claim made by USLB that the land was donated to state government to establish administrative headquarter but not to the Yimchungrüs to establish their village, the Yimchungrü Tribal Council today said “Yimchungrü of Pungro area has overruled and killed the mighty Sekhalu Sumi around 1918 (who forcefully established a village at Pungro range) where the dead body of Sekhalu lies at Pungro village before government exists or orders as claimed by USLB.”
Further, sating that the Pungren village should immediately shift their own land as the Pungren is owned and dominated by the head/blood of the Yimchungrü of Pungro area, the YTC president, in a press release, said if witness was so required the sons and grand sons of Sekhalu can justify on it.
Meanwhile, the Western Yimchungrü hoho, in an emergency meeting held August 21, has resolved to extend support to YTC’s demand placed before the government in connection with the issue that arose following the disruption of the state road show and Medemneo festival at Pungro by USLB. The WYH, in a statement issued by its secretary Mathew K. Janger, also urged the government to deliver justice without delay.
It may be mentioned that Yimchungrü Tribal Council (YTC) had submitted a memorandum, dated August 16, 2010, to the state chief minister to carve out a separate administrative district headquarters for the Yimchungrü tribe inclusive of all Yimchungrü inhabited areas of Tuensang and Kiphire districts. It also demanded that all Yimchungrüs employees of state government, posted at Kiphire, be transferred out immediately. The YTC had urged chief state chief minister to communicate “appropriate and satisfactory” action to its demand within August 25, 2010.
Appeal for peace
Kiphire Town Pastor’s Fellowship and Woman Welfare Society (WWS), Kiphire have appealed to both the communities to maintain the spirit of peace and harmony at the larger interest of peace and people living in the district.
Kiphire Ao Baptist Church pastor Meren Ao and Women Welfare Society, Kiphire Coordinator Z. Khekali, in a joint note, also urged the state government to settle the dispute issue at the earliest so as to restore peace and reconciliation.

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