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‘Let our boundary be a zone of peace’

Member of the Naga civil society alongside their Karbi counterparts are seen here addressing a press conference at the end of their joint meeting held today at Diphu, Karbi Anglong.

Naga civil society meets Karbi counterparts for restoring peace

Diphu | January 14
Taking another step to what could become a strength for the Karbi and Rengma communities of Karbi Anglong, the Naga civil society led by the Naga Hoho met the Karbi Anglong Peace Forum (KAPF) for a joint meeting here today. The first of its kind was even more informal, but just as essential, held on the campus of the Dimapur civil hospital earlier this month.

“What has happened has happened. Let us work together henceforth and bring the situation to normalcy,” said president of Naga Hoho, Chuba Ozukum at the meeting. The joint meeting has appealed to all the people of Karbi Anglong, particularly the KPLT and the NRHPF, to maintain peace “at any cost.” According to Ozukum, this should continue through more meetings towards developing “peaceful feelings” between the two communities. As Hukheli Wotsa, president of Naga Women’s Hoho Dimapur said, “let our boundary not be a zone of war, rather a zone of peace.”

And dialogue is the “best mode of bringing people together,” said Kenneth Mao, co-convenor of the Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights, while acknowledging the “maturity” shown by the Karbi civil society in handling the situation in Karbi Anglong and Dimapur. He stated that the need of the hour is to find ways to properly rehabilitate the displaced people and find ways to foster better relationships as indigenous peoples of the region. Similar messages of peace were relayed by the Naga Council Dimapur and Naga Students’ Federation.

Beyond dialogue, there are “things to do now,” as president of the Rengma Naga Students’ Union, Phenpiga Rengma, put it. The Government of Assam will provide ration to relief camps for only 10 more days and though the people continue to feel insecure about going back home, said Rengma, they have little option. A large number of security personnel has been moved to the violence hit areas of Karbi Anglong but “our people are not secure enough with even that,” he asserted.

“We, the Karbi, Dimasa, Kuki, Rengma and others, have been living together and that is what will continue to happen in the upcoming days,” assured Benting Teron, chairman of the KAPF. The KAPF was formed on January 2, 2014 by members of the Karbi civil society in order to restore peaceful coexistence between the various tribes that reside Karbi Anglong. It is because of their efforts that Nagas could meet the Karbis today “as a family” said Naga Hoho general secretary, Mutsikhoyo Yhobu. The KAPF, in their messages to the Naga delegation, was able to highlight issues of the “third force(s)” that has remained evasive to day.

The Karbi and Naga delegations also met the DC of Karbi Anglong, P K Buragohain, in his office to discuss the situation. The DC assured the delegation that an ex gratia amount of Rs. 3 lakh will be given by the Government of Assam to the families of the deceased Rengma people in the December violence. The displaced persons will also be provided with ration for 15 days after they go back home and begin to resettle. The DC informed the delegation that 16 “sensitive areas” have been identified by the State administration where security will be beefed up. Building material will be provided to families and all steps will be taken to rehabilitate people on the same land that they had to leave behind. 


KPLT withdraws bandh

DIMAPUR, JANUARY 14 (MExN): The proposal of a 96-hour Karbi-Anglong bandh called by the Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT) has been withdrawn. The bandh was called by the KPLT in protest of the reported killing of two of its members on December 27, 2013 and was to take effect from 5:00am, January 15. Karbi Anglong police quoting reports from its sources said that the decision to revoke the bandh was made on Tuesday.

Reports from Diphu also confirmed the withdrawal of the bandh. A source from Diphu said that a number of factors resulted in the revocation of the bandh. The KPLT must have heeded the appeal of the Karbi civil society to reconsider the bandh call on humanitarian grounds, the source said. Further, Karbi Anglong is in the midst of celebrating traditional Bihu and Hacha Kekan festivals, and the Nihang Karbi Baptist Association convention is set to begin on January 16. 


Joint Declaration of KAPF and Naga Hoho:

1.    The joint meeting between the Naga civil societies led by Naga Hoho and the Karbi civil societies led by Karbi Anglong Peace Forum at Diphu, on January 14, 2014 appeals to all the people of Karbi Anglong, particularly the KPLT and the NRHPF, to maintain peace at any cost.
2.    The Joint Meeting demands that the enquiry being ordered in the killing of nine Karbi youths in Nagaland should also include the killing and arson incidents in Karbi Anglong. The meeting was of the opinion that a third force was involved in the killings and arson both in Dimapur and Karbi Anglong. The third force must be identified and eliminated once and for all. Also, the enquiry must include all the incidents of ethnic violence in Karbi Anglong since 2003.
3.    The Ex-gratia payments announced by the Government of Assam must be given to families of the victims of both the Rengmas and the Karbis adequately and without partiality within 31st January 2014.
4.    We urge upon the Government of Assam to rehabilitate the affected families after taking a proper assessment of all the losses and damages of houses, crops, livestock, and other properties, and to complete the resettlement of all the displaced families by the 31st of January 2014. The meeting also urge upon the Government to provide rations for one year to all the affected families, and also provide seeds for cultivation.
5.    The Joint Meeting urge upon the Government of Assam to provide proper and adequate security in all affected areas including the approach roads to the villages to prevent any reoccurrence of the incidents. If there is any reoccurrence of such incidents the Government of Assam shall be held responsible.
6.    The Joint Meeting appeals to the armed groups of people to shun violence and not to fall into the trap of the third force.
7.    Many students have lost their books and study materials. Therefore the Government of Assam is urged to provide all necessary books study materials and tuition fees for one year. The Government of Assam is also urged to provide immediate hostel facilities separately for both boys and girls, especially those who are appearing in the forthcoming HSLC, HSSLC, and degree examinations, along with rations for at least six months.
8.    The Joint Meeting agreed upon to visit all the relief camps jointly by the KAPF and the Naga Hoho.
9.    The body of the meeting urged the public not to be misled by media publication either by print media or electronic media before ascertaining the facts. Also appeal to groups and individuals of any community to refrain from issuing any statements that may jeopardize the process of bringing normalcy by the two bodies.

P. Chuba Ozukum,
President, Naga Hoho  

Benting Teron,
Chairman, KAPF


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