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KPLT's Settlement Creates a Stir in Naga Rengma Community

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After the publication of the news concerning the threat issued to the Naga Rengma community for the settlement of Karbi militant outfit the KPLT ( Karbi Peoples Liberation Tiger) in a Dimapur, the police and administration of Karbi Anglong hurriedly called a joint meeting of the representatives of civil societies, police, army and paramilitary forces chaired by prolific Karbi writer Padmashree Rongbong Tereng, ex president of Assam Sahitya Sabha.

After the threat of last Sunday a large number of Rengma villagers left their home with household belongings and cattle have taken refuge near Chokihola development block close to the police station for safety. Meanwhile the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council have started relief work among the displaced persons.

The Rengma Naga Peoples Council have submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner P K Buragohain in presence of SP, DIG Central range today demanding security and safety of the Rengmas.

Khenga Rengma president and Chento H Rengma general secretary of The Rengma Naga Peoples mentioned in the memo that "the Indigenous people of Karbi Anglong knows no communalism or discrimination since time immemorial, particularly between both this communities."

The memo sttes thatistory proves that they share the same political boundaries and demands, to develop the society and remains the same till date. And the history also states that we will strive together in any circumstances.

In addition, it stated that more than hundred years of brotherhood, the promises were not met out. Instead, they are being deprived of legal and legislative rights.

Sadly, due to an incident on the evening of 9th June, 2013, the act by Karbi Peoples Liberation Tiger (Karbi Militants) in the presence of the local Karbi public, the Rengma Public leaders, such as the Gaon Buras, Pasters, etc. were summoned at a remote jungle, at Nakoi Tisso village area under Chowkihola Police Station, where they made to sign an agreement stating that Rengma Public should make the Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force (NRHPF) to surrender in front of the KPLT within the 9th of July 2013. This task and pressure upon the Rengma Nagas is next to impossible.

And hence it brings forth the actual motive for a civil war among these two communities. This signed agreement was made under duress at gun point which has given birth of fear psychosis among the innocent villagers, who are bound to leave their villages for their safety. And the exodus of the people leaving the villages has started.

We want to appeal to all the concerned that whether the act by the KPLT is justified in the eyes of the law. And whether we as the Rengma Nagas on such threat can eventually convert our tribe to Karbis? A proper justification by all the communities, legal authorities and organization of Karbi Anglong should be given before the 9th of July 2013 to our Rengma Apex bodies for a communal harmony and peaceful co-existence.

The news item quoting the source of Keyhang Rengma chief of Naga Rengma Hills Protection Force (NRHPF) mentioned that the KPLT has issued an ultimatum to the Rengma community residing in Chokihola locality to adopt Karbi culture, dress code, language etc or quite the place within 30 days or by July 9th.

In the consultative meeting yesterday held at Diphu circuit house at the imitative of the district administration P K Buragohain Deputy Commissioner of the district, BB Chetri Superintendent of Police, officers of CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir rifles of Indian Army, Lorence Teron president of All India Karbi National Assembly, Kajak Tokbipi general secretary of Karbi women's organization Karbi Nimso Chingthur Asong, Laichen Engleng president of Karbi Students Association, Hukur Sing Rongpi general secretary of Karbi literary body Karbi Lammet Amei were present.

BB Chetri appealed the media and social organizations to help the police in tracing out anti social elements trying to create communal feud among the tribes. Kajak Tokbipi called up on the media to be more cautious regarding presentation of sensitive news. Lorence Teron suggested that a detail enquiry is necessary to unearth the reality; he mentioned that one should be certain whether it is clash between the militant groups or a conflict between the two communities.

It may be mentioned here that the news item published in the Dimapur based news daily quoting Keyhang Rengma also wrote that "KPLT has been carrying out extorting in Rengma Naga villages, villagers have been living in fear with daily harassment meted out to them by Karbi militants. Also, alleging that Assam government has "intentionally" neglected Rengmas, CNRH chairman said several representations and memorandums citing grievances of the Rengmas had been submitted to Assam government but so far nothing has been addressed. He said Rengma Nagas have about 21 villages, but there was no development, no employment avenues, and were facing a lot of grievances.

Keyhang Rengma said that they have been settled there even before the first Burmese invasion of Ahom in 1816, adding that traditional geographical boundary of the Rengma Hills was declared by the British on April 18, 1841. Keyhang Rengma said there were valid documents to substantiate the claim.

It may be mentioned that in January 2013, members of Rengma tribe demanding the creation of Naga Rengma Hills Autonomous Council (NRHAC) in Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) formed CNRH with an armed wing called NRHPF.

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them. Read more stories by Sushanta Roy.

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