TODAY -

Naga - Dimasa conflict

Mithu Choudhury *

The tribal Dimasas have been inhabitants of the land in and around the Dhansiri river since quite long. However the demarcation of the state boundary after the formation of the Nagaland state meant that the contiguous population of the Dimasas and their land across river Dhansiri got divided between Assam and Nagaland.

For those Dimasas whose fate got sealed in Nagaland, life has had been far from normal . Hajadisa is such a village in the Nagaland side where the inhabitant Dimasa population is continuously facing harassment for almost two decades now with the situation particularly plummeting for the worse this year due to continuous encroachment and grabbing of their land .

At the present moment the situation in Hajadisa village is tense following attack and alleged destruction of properties and houses by youths from Khekiho village under Dhansiripar sub-division of Dimapur on 16th and 17th of this month.

Most of the Hajadisa villagers , including the ones who have been directly targeted , refuse to speak and tell the harrowing story of the harassment and torture that they are subjected to out of sheer fear. It was the Chairman of Hajadisa Village Council, Robin Langthasa who spoke up on behalf of his villagers.

He said that around 10 to 15 youths from Khekiho village came to Hajadisa on June 16 last at 7.30 p.m. and beat up Manen Langthasa, the VCM of the village. On June 17, around 30 to 40 youths of Khekiho village came and attacked the villagers and destroyed the household materials worth Rs 10 lakhs, besides taking away valuable goods such as motorcycles and cash amounting around Rs 60,000, he stated.

The Village Council Chairman(VCC) alleged that since the establishment of Khekiho village in 1992, the Khekiho villagers have been encroaching the land of Hajadisa village, which is going on unabated till date.

“The Hajadisa Village Council has been complaining against illegal encroachment to the district administration again and again but so far no concrete action has been taken by the authorities,” the VC Chairman alleged.

Narrating the series of incidents in Hajadisa village, the VC Chairman said that on April 26th last, a group of people numbering around 90 from Khekiho village forcefully ploughed a portion of land belonging to Devo and Subendra of Hajadisa and planted turmeric. “To add to the woes and resentment of our humble people, the Head GB of Khekiho village obstructed the ongoing construction of Hajadisa Village Gate and physically assaulted the artisans,” he said. The Chairman further said that some of the Hajadisa villagers were later falsely implicated on charge of having attempted to take the GB’s life and the matter was reported to the police for which they were summoned and interrogated on June 7.

The VCC said that despite several complaints to the ex-Minister and present Rajya Sabha MP, Khekiho Zhimomi for settlement of the said issue, they have not received any positive response so far.

The desperation of the Naga victimizers is clearly showing this month with stepped up targeting of the Dimasas in Hajadisa . On 11th June , around 5 persons came to meet the VCC of Hajadisa and later went to two residences of Bodo Kacharis, who are permanent inhabitants of the village , and warned them to vacate the land and move to their own native place within June 15th by falsely impressing that the plots have been bought by the Khekiho village.

Again on June 12th , around 8 persons arrived at Hajadisa and pelted stones on the light bulbs and destroyed the existing drinking ring well without any reason. Even on June 18th last, around 10 to 12 persons from Khekiho village came on an auto rickshaw and beat up 5 persons, informed Langthasa.

“These incidents of obstructing the gate construction, repeated land encroachment and physical harassment to the villagers by them clearly indicates the motive that they have the single minded intention to drive away the Hajadisa villagers and grab the entire village ,” the Chairman said.

The Village Council has made an appeal to the law enforcing agencies to intervene and settle the matter at the earliest. It has also appealed to all the right thinking and likeminded citizens, unions and organizations to condemn such inhuman acts and torture directed at the Hajadisa villagers. It is lear nt that an FIR has been lodged with the police by the Hajadisa Village Council in this connection.

Although the Hajadisa villagers cannot speak up openly for fear , but through media sources in Nagaland it has come to light that Khekiho is actually Rajya Sabha MP, Khekiho Zhimomis village and he is the one who is masterminding these offences by instigating the Naga youths to attack the Dimasa villagers of Hajadisa.

The Dima Halam Daogah(DHD), the Dimasa group in ceasefire now with the Govt of India, has also leveled the same allegation. It is apparent that the main ambition behind such eviction is to forcefully and illegally occupy the agricultural land property of the Dimasa villagers who are the rightful owners .

The Nagas have been illegally occupying the land property of the Dimasa villagers in these areas since long back. The minority Dimasa villagers, numbering around 500, who are Hindu by religion , are being tortured & evicted by majority Nagas who are Christian by faith .Interestingly, the Hebron camp of the NSCN –IM lies very close to this place…...one hopes that there is nothing more to it than mere geographical proximity.

The Peoples’ Supreme Council of Dimaraji, Dima Halam Daogah (DHD)/Sengya Bojhom through an issued release have strongly condemned the ruthless attack on the rural poor agriculturists of Dimasa village of Hajadisa by a group of Naga youths, particularly the one that happened on the night of June 17th .

The release issued by the organization’s publicity secretary, Ringbar Diphusa stated that more than 15 houses of the villagers were broken and evicted while one elderly Dimasa woman was injured. The firings by the Naga miscreants are still continuing in the nearby areas to threaten Dimasa villagers, charge the DHD.

Alleging that the ambition behind such eviction is to forcefully and illegally occupy the agricultural land property of the villagers, the DHD claimed that despite several complaints, the Government of Nagaland has not taken any action to check such illegal atrocities.

The DHD also rued the inaction on the part of the Central Govt and urged the concerned authorities to take prompt action to stop such illegal human activities.

One might recollect that just a couple of years back bloody clashes had broken out in NC Hills dist (now Dima Hasao)of Assam between the local Dimasas and the Jemi Nagas ,who are settled there since a long time.


* Mithu Choudhury (Guwahati based journalist) contributes to e-pao.net regularly . The sender can be contacted at arnabchoudhury21(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on June 22, 2011.



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