2007 AD: That was the year that was…

Longrangty Longchar
Dimapur | December 31 

2007, for many people have been a year of many developments that will leave a scar and a milestone in the history of the Naga society.  It was the year that saw Naga students in Manipur appearing the NBSE exams in Nagaland for the first time and in the process stirring up a hornet nest transcending the state borders and being reverberated in the neighboring Manipur state. A sense of mixed reaction of welcome and opposition was expressed by the people from different quarters of the society. 

Speaking from a pragmatic point of view, Dr Chubatola Aier, Principal of Zunheboto Government College, said that ‘academically’ the affiliation issue is not an issue at all, since Board of School Educations can move across border and go to any state, like the existence of CBSE, ICSE etc in the state. However, Dr Aier expressed her doubt that since the affiliation issue was also politically motivated, it will have negative implications on the careers of the students. A point of concern shared by many intellectuals. 

Ao Senden President, speaking about the significance of year 2007, said that the people could enjoy peace and harmony in the society and that the state government could properly maintain law and order in the society. Konyak Union Joint Secretary, Minphong Konyak said that Mon district saw a lot of development this year and that the district experienced peace and tranquility with no major clashes between the warring Naga underground factions. 

Veteran Congress politician, ET Ezung said that the ‘unification’ process of the two warring Naga underground factions is the most significant thing that have happened in 2007; a happening which is a realization of the yearning of the people of the state. 

2007 has also been a year where tribalism raised its ugly heads resulting in the Wungrum incident in Dimapur in the month of April. The Naga people thought that tribal acrimony would erupt in the state. Similarly, it was also the case of the Seyochung welcome gate, which brought two tribes at each other’s neck. It was also the killing of seven members of a family in Kiphire that shocked the people; the murder of eminent personality, Vincent Dzuvchü by his own son and also the murder of an auto driver, Denny Achumi by a class nine student and the killing of an old man by two motorbike borne students in an accident. 

It was the year of land disputes and most notably was the villages of Jalukie Zangdi and Inavi which bore the brunt of this conflict. Besides other flash points was over the ownership claims of Intangki Reserve Forest between two major tribes in Nagaland and also the escalation of the land dispute at the border area in Assam-Nagaland border that saw the arming up of the youths in Mokokchung to defend the district from the Assamese students who threatened to come up to Tsutapela gate in Nagaland. 

Peace and reconciliation was also in the limelight with the GBs and DBs of Nagaland taking a lead in their quest to bring the warring Naga underground factions to understanding.  2007 has also been the year of the firsts; holding of ceasefire talks between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India in Naga soil for the first time and high hopes that a solution to the vexed Naga problem might be arrived at; the Rice festival at the Agri Expo site; introduction of Air Bus service and Chopper service in Nagaland, the release of Abiogenisis album Aeon Spell by HMV, formation of Nagaland State Women Commission and the completion of CIHSR and the inauguration of a management school in Nagaland.  

It was also the year that saw the homecoming of the ‘Daring Ninth’ Naga IRB Battalion to the State after three years of operations in Chhattishgarh, and also the raising of new IRB Battalions.2007 has also been year of controversial SSA Scandal in the Education Department which went even to the High Court. Politics also got highlighted towards the latter part of the year, with the passing of Azhas against Education Minister Imkong Imchen by NSCN (K), and the Governor of Goa Dr SC Jamir and Senior bureaucrat, Alemtemshi by the NSCN (IM) which created much hue and cry from different quarters. 

However, the most significant development might as well be the ‘unification’ of the two Naga underground faction under one umbrella on November 23 and the fourth assassination attempt on SC Jamir near Mokokchung town the next day, November 24. Politics reigned supreme towards the end of the year, with resignation of MLAs and defection and joining of political workers from one party to another which comes as a prelude to the 2008 State Assembly Election. Nonetheless, the disqualification of 12 votes by NLA speaker created much sensation.  

It might be barely hours before the year 2008 is welcomed by the people, however, the year 2007, if ones go by the events that have taken place, some might leave a mark on the Naga history, for better or for worse.