Role of the Village Guards in Tuensang District

Tuensang District is the largest and the easternmost district of Nagaland, a state in North-East India. Its headquarters is Tuensang. Tuensang is one of the original three districts, along with Mokokchung and Kohima formed at the time the state was created. Over the decades, the district has gradually diminished in size with the carving out of Mon, Longleng and Kiphire districts from it.

The district shares a long and porous international border with Myanmar all along its eastern sector. It is bounded by Mon in the north east, Longleng in the North, Mokokchung and Zunheboto in the West and Kiphire in the South. Tuensang town, the district headquarter, is situated at 1,372 meters above sea level and is 267 Kms from Kohima, the State capital via-Wokha-Mokokchung road. Dikhu and Zungki are the main rivers of the district. 

Chang, Sangtam, Yimchunger and Khiamnugan are the main indigenous tribes of this district. Besides, Semas also form a significant part of the district’s population. Christianity is the main religion though animistic beliefs are still practised by a small minority specially along the Myanmarese border.

The first administrative headquarter at Tuensang was established in the year 1948 under the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency. It became a district headquarter from 1951.

It was in this district that the Village Guards took its birth in the year 1957 as the Tuensang Frontier Division Scouts under NEFA, which was re-named as the Village Defense Force and finally as the Village Guards. Name might have changed but its role remains more or less the same, i.e., to guard and protect the frontier villages. The Village Guards came into being after the Pangsha incident, where a few villagers armed with crude weapons were able to hold back and defend their village against a well armed and well trained group of rebels.

The VGs of Tuensang have proved time and again that they mean business while they protect their villages. One, not so long ago, example being the Shamator incident in 1998.

On 21st Jan, 1998, a combined force of NSCN (K) and FGN cadres attacked Shamator Village , which is about 2 Kms from Shamator ADC HQ, with sophisticated weapons including LMG and 2 inch mortars, but the village was able to hold back the attacked as the Village Guards stood their ground steadfastly. Again, after a lapse of 6 days, the same group attacked the village, in which three old women were seriously injured, but on this day too the Village Guards were there ever to defend the village, even in the face of all odds. The attackers were finally driven back and the Village was saved from a certain disaster if the UGs had entered the village.

A DIPR Feature
(Source: Office of the Additional Chief Secretary & Commissioner, Nagaland)