TVAC refutes claims of stone pillars at border

DIMAPUR, MAR 11 (NPN) | Publish Date: 3/11/2021 1:44:16 PM IST

The boundary dispute between Khezhakeno village in Phek district and Tungjoy village in Manipur’s Senapati district is showing no signs of abating with Tungjoy Village Authority Council (TVAC) now disputing the claim of stone pillars having been erected by Captain Butler and Dr Gordon in 1872 by Khezhakeno villagers.

Reacting to news items published in this regard on March 6, TVAC chairman MS Marcus in a statement termed the claim as not only misleading but also distorting the truth of land in question. 
TVAC claimed that neither Captain Butler nor Dr Gordon or any other British officer made any survey of the land. 
The  council said as head hunting prevailing during those days among different villages did not allow free movement of British administrators, the question of erecting stone pillars by the British did not arise. 
Pointing out that in traditional Naga society, no such huge stones were used for demarcation of land between villages and inter- State boundaries, TVAC argued that, however, after much correspondence from their respective offices, the two British officials made a temporary inter-district boundary between Manipur and Nagaland without the consent of land owners in 1872.
Therefore, he maintained that the recent claim made by Khezhakeno villagers of erection of stone pillars as boundary by Captain Butler and Dr Gordon in 1872 was not based on facts. 
According to the TVAC, the matter becomes evident when the temporary boundary drawn by Captain Butler and Dr Gordon in 1872 was superimposed by the orders of political case no.41 of 1934 by JH Hutton and GP Steward, which stated that “this boundary does not of course necessarily determine the right of villages in regard to their land.” 
Responding to the claim by Tenyimi People’s Organisation (TPO) president Timikha Koza of another stone pillar having been erected by Captain Butler and Dr Gordon in 1872 and that since then watershed principle was well maintained, TVAC asserted that watershed principle of demarcation was not applied anywhere in the inter-State boundary of Nagaland and Manipur.
Therefore, TVAC said enforcement of this principle in the lad dispute between Tungjoy and Khezhakeno was irrelevant. It also pointed out that the only traditional boundary that was agreed upon by the two villages without any conflict was Ziri where a sacrificial cat was cut alive.
Mentioning that pine tree plantation was carried out by an individual that had nothing to do with the boundary of the two villages, the council further specified that the question of destruction of stone pillar in 1992 by Tungjoy villagers and re-erection of the same in 2018 by district administration of Nagaland did not have any link to the demarcation of the disputed land between the two villages. 
Had it been inter-State boundary, then the erection of stone pillar would have been carried out by the administration of the two State governments, he pointed out.
TVAC further asserted that the measures adopted by Koza were very questionable, adding that it was not very prudent of him to issue one-sided press statement in the land dispute between the two villages. 
The council alleged that while the TPO president was advocating resolving of land disputes in other areas through traditional system and urging the Manipur government not to interfere by carrying out any developmental activities till the matters were amicably settled on one hand, he was on the other hand pressing for involvement of the Nagaland government in resolution of the land dispute between Tungjoy and Khezhakeno villages.
TVAC clarified that the council did not have any intention to malign anybody, but the matter was left to the public to question Koza’s wisdom.

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