Mokokchung land issue: Land Owners’ Board demands evidence of settlement

Mokokchung, February 21 (MExN): The Land Owners’ Board (Lika Board), representing Mokokchung, Ungma, and Khensa villages, has urged the Deputy Commissioner of Mokokchung to provide documented evidence regarding the Government's procurement of "rights over the land" in Mokokchung Town.

In a representation to the DC, the Board called for the disclosure of the utilisation of sanctioned funds, sale deeds, the village or clan from whom the purchase was made, and evidence of transactions between the British and any parties or individuals regarding the sale or gifting of land.

This, the Board stated, would help settle any current or future disputes arising from claims by parties or individuals.

According to the Board, the demand is rooted in the Compilation of Land Records 1890-1990, which indicates that in 1889, the Government acquired rights over the land in Mokokchung for Rs 100 to build the new subdivision station. 

Subsequently, many parties and individuals have claimed to acquire land from the British, as per the representation submitted by Lika Board Chairman Imtisungkum Pongen and Secretary Imlikumzuk Longkumer.

The representation emphasised that Naga land ownership follows customary laws and practices transmitted through generations. 

Ancestral properties are carefully guarded, and according to cultural ethos, Nagas have refrained from selling, mortgaging, leasing, bartering, or gifting land to outsiders.

It asserted that an individual cannot independently sell clan land, and in rare cases when selling individual land, priority is given to the nearest family, clan, or villagers before selling to a prospective buyer, always from the same village.

Highlighting the strict land ownership system practiced by the Nagas, the Board argued that the British, with overwhelming military power, unilaterally declared Mokokchung district as part of their territory in 1889, disrupting and subjugating the cultural ethos and value systems of the original inhabitants.

The Board asserted that describing the British acquisition of land as a simple "buying" process oversimplifies their colonial actions and creates opportunities for interested parties or individuals to exploit this incongruity. 

Therefore, the Board has requested detailed evidence regarding the settlement of land issues in Mokokchung Town.