UNTABA criticizes Assam Minister Rockybul Hussain’s statement  

KOHIMA, Mar 5 (NEPS): The United Naga Tribes Association of Border Areas (UNTABA) has dismissed the statement made by Assam State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rockybul Hussain that 161 people had been killed by “Naga miscreants” since 1972.

It may be mentioned that Hussain gave response to a query by AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam that 161 people have been killed by ‘Naga miscreants’ since 1972.

In a rejoinder to the charges, Hukavi T. Yepthomi, UNTABA Chairman, said the assertion that Naga people were ‘miscreant’ was nothing but utter disregard to the very dignity of the “Nagas as a community of people who have unique identity of their own with honesty and straight-forwardness as an impeccable trait that distinguishes them from other communities.” “Nagas may be different but never a ‘miscreant’ who kills,” he stated.

He also said that it was regrettable to recount the clashes that very often occurred in the border areas wherein many precious lives had been lost from across the two States. “Yet such ugly incidences could have been avoided if only Assam Government could withhold such posture as maintained by Rockybul Hussain,” he pointed out. “Mr. Rockybul Hussain and the Government of Assam must admit that all the unwarranted clashes in the border areas have happened because of the instigations, covert actions and policies adopted by the Assam Government to claim all the traditional and ancestral land of the Naga people especially in the border areas,” claimed the UNTABA.

Yepthomi also said the Assam government’s claim in the Assembly that “around 59,159.77 hectares in Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar districts are under the encroachment of Nagaland” was nothing but a complete negation of recorded history of the land and their people. “On the contrary, the actual area of Naga people’s land under the illegal occupation of Assam is approximately 4,974.16 Square Miles accounted from the Notification of the erstwhile ‘Naga Hill Agency’ in 1852 headquartered at Asaloo, the records of which are readily available in Government Archives of both the States,” he added.

The UNTABA chairman further alleged that the Civil Suit No. 2 of 1988 filed by the Government of Assam against Nagaland Government in the Supreme Court of India was also an “excuse to grab more Naga lands by Assam.” While the case was pending in the Supreme Court, the Government of Assam with all its available Government machineries had deforested thousands of square miles of Reserve Forests that were traditionally, historically and politically belongs to Naga people and had systematically established hundreds and thousands of settlements of villages, townships and industrial centers, he further alleged.

Yepthomi also asserted that they were appalled by the “complete silence of the Government of Nagaland all these decades on such important issue of the Naga people.” Instead of raising the issue in all the appropriate level on the right perspective, maintaining mute silence on such an important issue was simply selling the history of the Naga people, he said.

He also strongly urged the Government of the day to be vociferous on the issue and prepared a ‘white paper’ and tabled the same in the forthcoming Assembly Session in the interest of all the Naga people.


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