Guwahati: The 118th (1904-2022) Foundation Day of Longtong (Atuphu) Sema Naga village at Margherita sub-division in upper Assam’s Tinsukia district was commemorated on January 25.
Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu attended as chief guest, while senior IAS officer of Nagaland Y Kikheto Sema (agriculture production commissioner, Nagaland government) graced the event as the special guest.
Arunachal Pradesh MLA Laisam Simai (advisor tourism, IPR and Printing, Arunachal Pradesh) and retired director of health and family welfare, Nagaland, Dr Hotokhu Chishi were also present.
Pegu inaugurated the 118th Foundation stone of Longtong (Atuphu) Sema Naga Village after Rev Pughoto Aye, executive secretary, Western Sumi Baptist Akukuhou, pronounced a dedicatory prayer for the stone unveiling.
The minister congratulated the people of Longtong Sema Naga village for completing 118 years of its existence and said he was honoured to be given the privilege of unveiling the foundation stone.
Pegu revealed that despite of his tight schedule he wanted to attend the ceremony as he loved and respected the Naga people. The minister also spoke about his affinity with the Naga people back in his younger days as a medical student as well as a student leader and called the Nagas “beautiful people, who were brave warriors, loving and caring”.
The minister also reminisced stopping by the Longtong Sema village while on a bike riding spree to the area during his younger days.
On the matter of those villages that have nomenclature issues, Pegu stated that the Assam government has already decided to tackle it by opening a portal where the villages concerned could apply their case and redress their issue.
He further stated that the government has specific laws that protect the land and rights of the minority people in Assam and, therefore, encouraged the Sema Naga villages to be optimistic as they are in safe hands.
Speaking as the special guest, Y. Kikheto Sema said back in the days, the Nagas and the Sümis in particular were fierce warriors and dreaded head hunters.
History has recorded that the Sümis came from Central Nagaland and established their village in 1904, long before India had freed herself from the yoke of the British regime which is astounding and must be acknowledged.
Sema urged the Longtong Village in particular, and the remaining 5 villages in general, to retrospect back to 118 years where their forefathers had the resilience to set up villages – struggling with wild animals, mosquitoes and leeches, and established these villages.
Kikheto said to the Nagas and Sümis in particular that our forefathers were head hunters, but the present generation should instead hunt for peace, development and unity with all our neighbouring states.
He said that the Ahoms and the Nagas had historical ties and friendly relationships over the years. And the present generation should sustain and strengthen the cordial relationships like in the past.
He also thanked and acknowledged the following dignitaries who had visited this village in the past, Kawoto Zhimo, Sheiypu, Assistant Political Officer, Margherita Sub-Division, Tinsukia district during 1955-57.
Khelhoshe Chishi, the first Naga Minister of Assam, was then the minister of forest in 1958. Dr SC Jamir, Union Deputy Minister of Railways in 1969. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India on January 16, 2003.
And today, the 118th Foundation Day of Longtong Village is graced by education minister Ranuj Pegu.
In his speech, Laisam Simai stated that the Tangsa people had blood relations with the Nagas and they would gladly yield to their aid if the need arises.
Sumi Hoho general secretary Dr Vihuto Asumi greeted the gathering and read out the message of the Sümi Hoho president.
Dr Hotokhu Chishi read out a three-point memorandum and submitted it to Ranuj Pegu on behalf of the Longtong Sema Naga village Council.
Kikheto Sema was accompanied by Rev Pughoto Aye executive secretary, Western Sumi Baptist Akukuhou and his team, Sumi Hoho, WSKH, WSYF, Student leaders and a host of other Sumi leaders from different fields.
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