Jongpha, September 12 (MExN): The Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council (RNPC) has claimed that the Rengma Nagas of Karbi Anglong were not included in the list of the committee constituted by the Assam Government to study/survey the lands belonging to the indigenous people and to find measures to protect the same.
While conveying sincere gratitude to the Assam Government for constituting the committee, the RNPC representing the Rengma Nagas of Karbi Anglong expressed that it was “disheartened and unhappy” that the Committee excluded the Rengma Nagas in their list.
Insisting that Rengma Nagas are one of the indigenous people of present Karbi Anglong “since time immemorial”, the RNPC regretted that no one from the Rengma Naga apex bodies were invited or officially intimated. “Neither did the committee visited this group of indigenous people in Karbi Anglong for verification of their existence and their lands, let alone study,” it alleged.
The RNPC claimed that the meeting called at Diphu for indigenous leaders by the committee was not informed officially to the Rengma Nagas. “Such ignorance is very unbecoming of a responsible committee entrusted by the government for the welfare of indigenous people and their lands,” it maintained.
“Time and again the Rengma Nagas has been ignored of all rights of being indigenous and being sons of the soil,” the RNPC stated and further questioned if the Rengma Nagas were being “deliberately ignored”.
In this regard, the RNPC reminded the concerned authorities of the historical facts that the Rengma Nagas existed since time immemorial in the present day Karbi Anglong and is reflected in all important historical documentations.
The Rengma Hills was created during the British Regime on April 18, 1841, recognizing the Rengma Nagas as sons of the soil, it stated.
The RNPC also cited A.J Moffatt Mills in the “Mills report on the province of Assam” wherein it stated that the first Revenue settlement of the Rengma Nagas with the British was in 1848. The said revenue was paid for a period of 10 years and the total amount was 459 rupees.
Out of 52 Rengma Naga villages, only 32 villages could pay the revenue while the rest of the villages could not be visited by collectors due to dense forest, it added.
Land Revenues of the Rengma Nagas were deposited at the Nowgaon Treasury and the Golaghat Treasury. Later on the Rengma Nagas were asked to pay their revenue at the Kohima treasury. The first revenue deposited at Kohima treasury was Rs. 742 in 1887. Again the Rengma Nagas were later on directed back to the Golaghat treasury for administrative convenience, the RNPC stated.
In light of the above facts and records, the Rengma Nagas appealed the committee in question as well as the Government of Assam to do a thorough verification and consultation with all the stake holders and let there be inclusive progress, prosperity and identity.