Land And Western Sumi Hoho

Joel Nillo Kath

In a moment of lust, a beautiful girl was raped by a man. Unfortunately, the accused got away scot free. However, another man, emboldened by the fact that the accused was never caught, went and brutally raped the girl the second time. The attitude of Western Sumi Hoho and its affiliates is that of the second rapist. The stance of WSH that they would vacate ‘Inavi Village' only if Beisumpukam village does so is inexcusable and flimsy. That Intanki is a declared Reserved Forest is a fact. If Beisumpukam village is indeed illegal, and if this fact is causing so much heartburn to WSH (no other Hoho is having sleepless nights over this issue), then let it approach the courts or any other forum since Nagaland govt. has shown much impotence on this issue. This correspondent has been to ‘Inavi village' and it is shocking that acres and acres of virgin forest have been cleared for settlement. Once the village is permanently settled, it is only a matter of time before the forest literally disappears to timber mafia apart from wildlife. Well, the stakes are high. I want to remind the readers that these so called villagers are not your usual poor, landless tribals as seen in other parts of India where there is genuine exploitation and deportation of tribals from their lands in the name of development. Every Naga has a home and a village somewhere. These so called victims of NSCN-IM excesses whose homes were razed down are professional land grabbers backed by vested interests like WSH. These people are such thorough professionals that they had already constructed a 'church' and 'Women Mission Centre' because they know that the burning down of these two structures would make quick headlines and hopefully much sympathy. That their strategy partially succeeded is shown by the prompt manner in which relief in cash and kind was given out by the chief minister and the district administration respectively. The government, instead of taking a firm and decisive stand on this protracted issue, is pandering to a policy of appeasement. It clearly shows that the govt. lacks the political will due powerful interests in the government. The Forest Minister was indignant that the NSCN-IM arrogated for itself what was clearly his job. But somebody had to take a decision and as usual it was not the government.

Every Naga organization worth its name talks of peace and reconciliation in the land and WSH and its affiliates are no exception. However, the actions of the latter do not reflect the attitude of a responsible organization but mischief. The Naga public knows only too well why it is only the WSH which is so ego-involved in this issue. We also know that no other tribal Hoho has issued a statement condemning the razing of 'Naga United Village' consisting of' 14 tribes' as claimed by WSH and others. Instead of engaging in divisive issues and being in news for all the wrong reasons, one wonders whether the organization has even issued a press statement condemning the slaughter of Zemes in NC Hills as a responsible organization should be doing. We also wonder why Peren district is so high on WSH wish list. It is high time Sumi religious leaders ponder over this issue amongst many others and not let some vested organizations like WSH propagate enmity amongst tribes lest you too be implicated by your silence.