Kohima: The United Zeliangrong Youth Front (UZYF) on Tuesday expressed concern over the “disturbing and subtle call for violence” by the Western Sumi Youth Front (WSYF) over its demand for the release of the “suspected ringleaders”. The war of words took place over the March 22 killing incident at Peren which led to the arrest of four persons.
The WSYF had earlier threatened that if the state government fails to release “innocent citizens” (arrested accused) at the earliest, resolve the boundary dispute, and succumbed to undue pressure to terminate the post commander of 9th IRB from active service, it will be “compelled to initiate summoning all its resources to take stringent steps, the fallout of which remains unpredictable but the responsibility would be shouldered by the state government.”
In response to this, the UZYF, through its media cell, said the WSYF is confused about the illegal villages set up in Lamhai Village.
“If individuals holding power, and civil society organisations, start to demand and give an ultimatum to the government in support of suspected criminals and murderers, what is to become of a state which so proudly proclaims itself as a Christian State? ” it questioned.
The UZYF said that the chaos created by land encroachers and anti-social elements under the patronage of gun-wielding goons is no different than the acts perpetrated by terrorist organisations in the world.
The youth body said that it should depend on the investigating agency on keeping the suspected murderers behind bars to unearth the true identity of all those involved in the bloodbath.
It urged the WSYF not to side with “suspected criminals and murderers wilfully to serve some vested individual interest”. It asked them to cooperate and help the investigating team unearth the culprits if they desire justice and peace, instead of “deploying all kinds of pressure tactics on the government machinery involved in the investigation”.
Alleging that the IRB Commander failed to act, letting the “terrorists” have a “field day murdering and terrorising poor, innocent, unsuspecting villagers”, the youth body said that the inability of the IRB is “tantamount to dereliction of duty in the highest degree”.
“The excuse of not obtaining ‘Order’ from higher authority to retaliate or make an effort to desist the unhindered firing of the terrorists, speaks volume of the incapability of the personnel to make use of his common sense and is not fit to be in the line of duty,” it said.
It claimed that despite repeated requests made to “even open blank fire to deter the rampaging goons”, the commander failed to act and watched as the villagers were shot at point-blank and burnt.
“If this is not a fit case for termination, are we to assume that the state machinery is also hand in gloves with the terrorists? And was there some arrangement between the WSYF and the IRBs posted at the site, that the former is now openly supporting the inaction of the latter?” it questioned.
Further, the UZYF added that it strongly supports the complete eviction of the illegal villages, like evicting Inavi village from the Ntanki National Park under Peren District.
It also alleged that the WSYF is making an “unsavoury narrative” to rally support and sympathy of other Naga tribes by portraying that the lands of the Zeliangrongs under Peren District is being overwhelmed by the people of Manipur.
“In the years gone by, it was claimed that the Sumi villages under Peren District were established in ‘No Man’s Land’, however, when that narrative failed to hold any water, it is now being changed to Peren District being home to people from Manipur. It is beyond comprehension as to why a youth organisation fails to see and understand the factual reality and continue to live in denial,” it said.
Furthermore, it said that the “murder of innocents should not be confused with district boundary issue” and that justice should prevail for a sense of safety and security in one’s own land.
The UZYF then appealed to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and the State government not to “cower down to illogical demands but rather set a strong and exemplary precedent for criminals and murderers in our land by delivering justice as deemed fit”.