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By Oken Jeet Sandham
When state Home Minister Y Patton landed in Shamator Subdivision HQ under Tuensang district on March 30, a mammoth Yimchunger crowd in their public ground was waiting to hear from him of what the government was thinking about the recent clashes between the Chang and Yimchunger people in the district.
After three days, the Home Minister visited the Tuensang HQ on April 2 and interacted with the leaders of various Chang frontal organizations. They also narrated their side of the stories as to how the unwanted Chang-Yimchunger clashes happened in the district. They, however, did not buy the idea that the current issue as “tribal issue.” “This incident is not a tribal issue. It is an issue that started in a small village due to land dispute and it should be handled and solved locally,” said S Ato Chang, former CKS president.
They told the Home Minister that they had neither asked the Yimchunger people to leave the Tuensang town nor did they have any ill-feeling towards Yimchunger brothers till date. The Chang leaders urged the state law enforcement agencies to arrest the actual culprits responsible for the recent incidents.
Many NGOs including church leaders have already met leaders of both Chang and Yimchunger tribes and appealed them to maintain peace and tranquility, besides interacting with the affected people taking shelter in nearby villages and at Shamator town with aids. The ENLU team led by Medical Minister P Longon also visited the affected people with monetary aids.
While acknowledging efforts and contributions of various NGOs and church leaders for helping normalize the situation in the areas, the ENLU also appealed to Chang leaders to show their magnanimity as they were the big brothers in the district. They even urged the Chang people to call the fleeing Yimchunger people back to the Town to live as before and open channels for “dialogue” between them for an amicable and permanent solution to their problem.
According to intelligence report, some underground cadres are trying to penetrate into Tuensang town to create further problem which according them will worsen the already fragile situation in the district. The NSCN (IM) has already directed its cadres not to involve in the current Chang and Yimchunger issues.
It is reported that the police and paramilitary forces in the district are keeping close vigil on all the points suspected to be used by the underground cadres to penetrate into the Tuensang town. They are making coordinated vigil to thwart any such attempt.
From the interactions with the Chang and Yimchunger leaders and sequence of the incidents, it appears that things are not that easy to solve. However, one very positive development prevailing in the district is both Chang and Yimchunger tribes have not uttered any undesirable words so far. They are seen maintaining such a maturity and this shows that they understand who they are and what their future is.
The government or for that matter others may try to intervene in the clash and they are, no doubt, good gestures. But the ultimate solution lies between the Chang and Yimchunger people who have been living as one family and even heaven falls, they will continue to live as one family. This is the reality and they understand it.
The Chang and Yimchunger people should use the opportunity of “April 7 Tripartite Talk” to resolve their differences. “Without sharing your problems, how can we know your problems,” Patton said while appealing the Yimchunger and Chang people to attend the “Tripartite Talk.” “Only after knowing your problems, we will be able to move forward for finding solution to the problems.”
Yet, there is a perception around the region that the state government has not acted to live up to its noble rhetoric as a peace-loving power with lofty ideals. However, a little humility would go a long way in advancing government’s attempt to find solution through its initiative of “Tripartite talk.” Humility is demonstrated by understanding the history, culture, traditions, language, and current issues and concerns of the conflicting parties. We have also to listen to the views of the conflicting parties while treating them on an equal footing.
If we allow the unrest and turmoil to continue, the region will become a boiling cauldron and a huge security concern for the state government. As such, the post Chang-Yimchunger clashes, constant efforts should be there to promote reconciliation and reconstruction with the two tribes so as to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in future. In a larger sense, such reconciliation and reconstruction needs larger transformation toward manageable, peaceful relationships and governance structures.
The leaders of Chang and Yimchunger tribes should not miss the opportunity to attend the “April-7 Tripartite Talk” where government representatives will sit as one of them. They should bring up all their points across the table and discuss honestly and find the loopholes to plug. There is nothing that cannot be resolved.