Kohima: The Angami Students’ Union (ASU), the apex student body of the Angami Naga tribe, is set to host its 29th biennial general conference from April 23-25 under the theme “Reflections” at Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, Nagaland.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday evening, ASU president Vizokho Zashumo informed that the conference will coincide with the commemoration of 75 years of Kohima Sub-Division Students’ Conference and 50 years of ASU’s existence.

He said that the conference will provide an opportunity for the student community to reflect on understanding the valued past, present and the possibilities of what can be and what is required to be done in the future. Zashumo shared that the Angami Naga’s ways of life and norms to always do what is right needs to be reflected upon.

“The alarming worldwide pandemic has affected humanity in all dimensions of life. In the face of this challenge, the question of how to wrestle with this difficult reality to restore our traditional ethos must be explored both individually and collectively,” he said.

Zashumo informed that students from tribal bodies such as Chakhesang, Kuki, Rengma, Sumi (Pughoboto), and Zeliangrong will also be part of the conference. The conference will witness a cultural exchange programme among the six tribes, including the Angami Naga tribe. He added that the six tribes have been in association with one another since 1946. Further, he invited all former executives of the union and their families to attend the convention.

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Convenor of the organising committee Kesosul Christopher Ltu told reporters that a maximum of 500 students from its four regional units — the Northern Angami Students’ Union (ASU), Southern Angami Students’ Union (SASU), Western Angami Students’ Union (ASU), and Chakhroma Students’ Union (CSU) — are expected to camp at Kisama for the three-day programme.

He assured that SOPs issued by the state government will be ensured during the conference to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In this regard, he informed that the state tourism department will be providing with the infrastructural facilities at the heritage site.

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio will grace the inaugural session as the special guest for the session. Adviser of technical education and election Medo Yhokha; secretary general Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) Neingule Krome; minister for higher education & tribal affairs Temjen Imna Along; adviser IT, science and technology, NRE Mmhonlumo Kikon, will address the introductory session, cultural session, academic session and valedictory session respectively.

Ltu informed that the venue for the conference has been booked from April 20-27 and has advised public to avoid loitering around the area in the evening and at night as the district administration and police personnel along with the local volunteers will be on duty.

Competitions for indigenous games such as cart race, local rice pounding, war cry, traditional fire making, and bamboo slit walking will be conducted.

During the literary session, there will be a debate competition. For the first time, intending candidates to the forthcoming ASU election will be participating in the extempore rather than students from the regional units competing. Ltu said that this will provide a public-speaking opportunity for the nominated candidates to the proposed election.

Election commissioner Zakie Khate informed that the nominations to 18 posts of ASU began on Thursday and will continue till April 19. So far, 18 candidates—five each from SASU and NASU, and four each from WASU and CSU, has filed for nomination to various posts. The date of withdrawal of nomination form is April 22, and the date of election is April 25.

According to him, there is a system in place called “kethezie” which is beyond the parameters of the Constitution, for conducting election to the student body, with the aim to maintain peace and unity. In this process, he said that the election commission, in consultation with the regional units elects office bearers (uncontested) rather than conducting elections.

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However, if this system of election cannot be applied, he said that the entire electoral process will be followed where all affiliated student units will be eligible to cast their votes for the desired candidates.

During the conference, two hours (one hour a day) will be dedicated for sanitation where the delegates will be required to clean the surroundings. On the last day of the conference, there will be a devotional service led by Kethoser Aniu Kevichusa. Ltu informed that the collection from the Sunday offering will be used for charity activities.

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