Abduction case: Tungjoy bodies refute charges

DIMAPUR, MAR 4 (NPN) | Publish Date: 3/4/2021 1:06:25 PM IST

The controversy over the alleged abduction and physical abuse of T Ngolo Koza, dobashi (DB) to EAC Phek district, while on official duty in Chida Resort area by villagers of Tungjoy, in Manipur’s Senapati district on February 15 is refusing to die down.

Two organisations from Tungjoy– Tungjoy Village Authority Council (TVAC) and Tungjoy Youth & Students’ Organisation (TYSO)– have issued separate statements on the issue.

While TVAC refuted the allegation levelled by Khezhakeno Village Council (KVC), TYSO accused Chakhesang Youth Front (CYF) of trying to communalise the issue.

Terming KVC’s allegation of abduction and physical assault as baseless, TVAC chairman MS Marcus claimed that T Ngolo Koza was captured for allegedly masterminding many illegal activities in and around disputed land. 

He accused the DB of leading villagers of Khezhakeno to cut inter village road (IVR) connecting Tungjoy village to neighbouring Chakhesang villages of Nagaland, cutting trees and ferrying them away for firewood within the jurisdiction of Tungjoy village, setting on fire from below working place with an intention to burn workers alive, attempting to disturb and arrest the workers in connivance with NAP and IRB personnel stationed there on February 15, damaging vegetables in farm in recently and harassing picnickers in the vicinity of the disputed land.

Reacting to KVC chairman, head GB and youth president of Khezhakeno demanding law enforcing agency to book the criminals and immediately initiate strict action, Marcus said action should be initiated against the dobashi.

Claiming that villagers of Tungjoy had cleared forest on February 15 for raising a farm in their own land, he said agricultural farming by landowners could not be implied as grabbing or intrusion into anyone’s land

The TVAC chairman rejected the allegation by Khezhakeno Students’ Union president Viekhrolo Koza and general secretary Bano Koza made in November 2000 that Tungjoy villagers had instigated Indian security forces and 15 youth from Tungjoy in 1956 to conduct an operation and ransack Khezhakeno village, killing nine persons and torching down the entire village to ashes.

He also rejected another allegation of KVC made on February 17 this year that Tungjoy villagers had led Indian Army and Manipur Rifles personnel in torching down the entire Khezhakeno village to ashes, besides shooting death six villagers, forcing the villagers to live in the wilderness of jungles without proper food and amenities nearly for two years. 

Pointing out the contradictions in the claims of the same incident in 2000 and 2021 in terms of the number of persons (from nine persons to six) and 15 youth from Tungjoy village to inclusion of Manipur Rifles, he said these exposed their own fallacy.

He clarified that the 1956 raid carried out by Indian Army was not only confined to Khezhakeno alone, but also in many parts of Nagaland and Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur. Hence, he said it was crystal clear that the people of Khezhakeno only wanted to tarnish the image of Tungjoy out of sheer frustration.

Further reacting to the allegation of burning down of traditional huts constructed in 2018 and 2019 for Khezhakeno People’s Festival under the aegis of Nagaland tourism department, Marcus said this was justified as the huts were forcibly constructed in “our land”. 

He said the political boundary of the two States and traditional boundary of the two villages were completely two different subjects. He recalled that the meeting of the chief secretaries of Manipur and Nagaland had on May 29, 1982 called for exploring the possibility of finding a solution for settling village boundary through traditional systems.

Meanwhile, in a rejoinder, TYSO president ZS Veini accused CYF of backing the cause of Khezhakeno village, which had the potential to communalise the February 15 issue. 

He claimed that the DB was captured by Tungjoy people in broad daylight when the former attempted to disturb and arrest the workers in connivance with NAP and IRB personnel stationed there that day, before being safely handed over to Tadubi police the same day. 

Claiming that the dobashi was responsible for hatching all the sinister designs carried out in and around the disputed land, the TYSO president alleged that the former led Khezhakeno villagers in cutting off the IVR connecting Tungjoy to other neighbouring Chakhesang villages of Nagaland, cut off trees in “our land” for fuel on February 12, damaging vegetables in the farm recently and harassing picnickers in the surrounding area of the disputed land.

Veini clarified that though CYF came to Koza’s rescue and termed his capture as a direct challenge to Chakhesang community and Nagaland government, the people of Tungjoy enjoyed good relations with all neighbouring Chakhesang villages and no cases of animosity surfaced with any village till date. 

Wondering what was driving CYF to continue issuing press statement in favour of Khezhakeno against Tungjoy, he said the attempt to magnify the individual identity through the identity of community and government in order to cover up the crime of the person would be of futile exercise and could invite severe repercussion.

Responding to the press statement by CYF regarding the land dispute between Tungjoy and Khezhakeno, the TYSO president stressed that the land dispute was exclusively between the two villages. 

He said though both the governments of Manipur and Nagaland had on several occasions passed various decisions to this effect, the land dispute remained pending till date following delayed survey by Survey of India. 

Stating that he did not see any reason why the front was meddling in the issue and issuing partial documents of the land dispute, Veini cautioned that this would only create confusion and further complicate the issue, besides bringing about misunderstanding among various sections of people in the region. 

Asserting that its involvement in the land dispute would not bring a step closer to the solution, Veini said, “If at all Chakhesang Youth Front is really earnest about the land dispute between Tungjoy and Khezhakeno villages, it may play a mediating role in resolving it to restore peace and tranquillity between the two villages.”


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