Khezhakeno Village Council (KVC) has strongly condemned the alleged criminal act of kidnapping and physical assault on T Ngolo Koza, dobashi (DB) to extra assistant commissioner, while on official duty in Chida Resort area by villagers of Tungjoy in Manipur led by Tungjoy Village Authority Council chairman Mahru, secretary D Lakhu, Tungjoy Youth president Veinni and GB on February 15.
In a statement, KVC chairman D Lhouchinyi, head GB T Kamo Koza and Khezhakeno Youth Organisation president Senovielhou Koza called upon law enforcing agencies and the government to book all criminals involved in the act and immediately initiate strict action as per the law of the land.
They also condemned the Manipur government for conniving and conspiring in such criminal and illegal activities.
Alleging that around 1,000 villagers from Tungjoy village armed with guns and other weapons and under full protection of Manipur Police intruded into Nagaland, which is also the traditional Khezhakeno village boundary, they said they suspected that the intruders had come with the intention of grabbing/encroaching the demarcated land by cutting down trees and in the process attacked T Ngolo Koza, who was deputed by the administration there to control the situation.
Mentioning that the inhuman physical assault and kidnapping took place in broad daylight by overpowering the few stationed Nagaland Police and IRB personnel at the border site, KVC alleged that the victim was dragged and taken away to Manipur with his hands tied from behind and then punched, kicked and beaten with axe butt and lathis. Further, the assailants took him from village to village in Manipur and assaulted him continuously, the statement claimed.
The victim was released towards midnight only after repeated appeals and interventions made by the highest authorities of Nagaland government, Phek district administration and police, community and frontal organisations, etc, but of course after being tortured the whole day. The DB was later taken to Kohima for medical treatment.
Stating that this was not the first instance of such a criminal activity, KVC alleged that Tungjoy villagers were regular offenders and known for committing such notorious criminal acts in “our traditional land” since long. It recalled the incident of July 31, 1956 in which they allegedly led Indian Army and Manipur Rifles personnel in illegally torching down the entire Khezhakeno village to ashes, besides shooting dead six villagers, forcing the villagers to live in the wilderness of jungle without proper food and amenities nearly for two years.
“And more recently, they had burnt down our traditional huts constructed during 2018 and 2019 Khezhakeno People’s Festival held under the aegis of Nagaland tourism department. There are uncountable incidences in the past which we tolerated for long,” the statement specified.
Questioning how long this would continue, KVC pointed out that while they claimed to be fighting for Naga integration too, they were actually trying to grab land, adding “Let us not be fooled anymore.”
As far as the boundary demarcation was concerned, the council said Nagaland’s boundary and Khezhakeno’s traditional village boundary ran along the same line. The council also claimed of having sufficient documentary proof and judgments justifying the “Watershed Principles” of boundary demarcation between the two States since the British-India administration’s survey by Captain Butler and Dr Gordon, which recognised that from Kapamedzü Peak to Telezu Peak “water that falls into Barak river, the land belongs to Tunjoy, Manipur and water that falls into Sidzü will belong to Khezhakeno, Nagaland”.
Subsequent political boundary settlement cases were resolved based on it, the council added.
Citing two political cases and the reaffirmation by chief secretaries of both Manipur and Nagaland in 1982 to adhere to the 1872 survey by Butler and Gordon as final and inalienable vis-à-vis the inter-State boundary, KVC called upon all right-thinking people and Nagas at large to come together to voice out and protect the rightfully demarcated territory.