Kohima: Hundreds gathered at the Kohima Local Ground on Wednesday night to observe a candlelight vigil and demand justice for the three people killed in Lamhainamdi in Peren on March 22.

The vigil, organised by the Zeliangrong Students’ Kohima, was attended by people from various tribes, despite the pouring rain.

In an introductory note, President of the Zeme Council, Dr Tumda Newme, briefly narrated the “barbaric act” where three were killed and two vehicles burnt in Peren. He also mentioned that few handwritten notes were also left behind by the murderers warning that it is “just the beginning”, and also warnings that advised encroachers to “leave peacefully”.

He also recalled several incidents in the past where houses were burnt and residents were kidnapped by Naga political groups.

He mentioned how people in the district live in peaceful coexistence with many tribes with due acknowledgement of land ownership.

The President said that in September 2019, a letter was submitted to the Chief Minister where it proposed to have peaceful coexistence as Naga family with due acknowledgement of the land ownership, following which a joint press statement was also issued with the Western Sumi Hoho.

He also revealed that a coordination committee with five members each from both the Zeliangrong and Sumi community was formed in February this year with the hope to take a peaceful approach over the land dispute forward, further expressing grief and anger over the killing incident. 

Newme clarified that while it does not intend to malign the whole Sumi community, it wants the community to help them identify the culprit and hand them over to the law.

Dr Hiabe Zeliang, President of the Zeliangrong Baudi Kohima said that gun culture must not flourish in the state.

He urged the government to arrest the culprits immediately and those involved in the unfortunate event and also take action against police officers and personnel posted at Lamhainamdi for failing to protect the public.

He also urged the state government to the demarcated boundary between Dimapur and Peren based on traditional history.

Saying that “No man’s land” is advocated by some in Peren district, he said that no land in Nagaland is without an owner. He added that the Lamhainamdi village area was donated to the Zeliang community by the Lamhai village.

Angami Public Organization (APO) President Kepelhusie Terhuja, in his address, said one must settle differences through deliberation, reasoning, and debates rather than intimidation and violence. 

He said also said that the advocacy of no man’s land does not exist in Nagaland. Condemning the incident, he said that the community does not subscribe to the idea of using arms in its land.

President of the Lotha Hoho, Kohima, urged the need for a vigorous and serious investigation into the matter. He stated that the incident is a violation of human rights.

Timikha Koza, the president of the Tenyimi People’s Organization (TPO) also urged the public to come together and speak till justice is delivered. He said that the culprits should not be allowed to run away from justice and urged the government and law enforcing agencies to immediately apprehend those who committed the crime.

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