Kohima: After the expiry of the 24-hour ultimatum served by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) to the Nagaland government to book culprits responsible for vandalising the Naga Club building, the student body announced its decision to hold a sit-in protest on Monday.
The historic Naga club building housed the office of the NSF, All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU), and a temporary office of the Kohima Press Club (KPC), along with four shops and two printing presses.
“With the expiry of the 24 hours ultimatum, we held an official meeting where we resolved to go for democratic agitation in the form of a sit-in protest. We have received verbal communication from the investigating authority that the culprits could not be booked. So, we are not very satisfied with it,” NSF President Kegwayhun Tep told reporters on Sunday night.
He appealed to all subordinate bodies of the Federation to join the protest which will begin at 9 am outside the vandalised office. Tep also urged other frontal organisations to extend support and cooperation.
When asked for the Naga Club’s clarification on the “demolition” of the building which the NSF “did not vacate”, Tep said, “We have received 45 days vacation notice and it expired a long time back. We were informed by the deputy commissioner that a letter was written to the DC office to organise social work at our office on May 13.”
However, with the intervention of the district authority, Tep said that the club members did not turn up for the proposed social work.
“So, from that day onwards, things were very silent and we, the NSF family, did not expect the vandalisation in the form of this terrorism act,” Tep said.
With regard to the ongoing controversy between the NSF and the Naga club, Tep reiterated that the student body, in all its official records, maintained that the building belongs to the Nagas and that the NSF was the custodian of the heritage house.
“As for the existing Naga club, the Naga people do not recognise its existence. So, if Naga people do not give the mandate to any organisation, the Naga Students’ Federation in no way can recognise their existence,” Tep added.
Naga Club claims demolition:
Meanwhile, the Naga Club, through a letter to the officer-in-charge of the North Police Station, clarified that tenants of the building were asked to vacate it. “As such, those empty houses and rooms were demolished about three weeks ago. However, since the place is in the middle of the town and heavy machinery/vehicle is required to dispose the debris it was decided that in order to avoid public inconvenience, the same shall be removed in the early hours of 27-05-2023,” the Club said.
The Naga Club, it said, did not keep any other tenant in the building except the NSF. Accordingly, the Club entrusted a few youths to demolish the building on Saturday morning so that the debris can be removed on the same day without creating any public inconvenience.
“Therefore, the question of vandalising public property or criminal trespass by unknown miscreants as alleged by the NSF does not arise. It is expected that the NSF, being a highly respected organisation, which has produced many tall Naga leaders over the years, shall act in an honest, fair, transparent and reasonable manner,” the letter said.
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Signed by Naga club president Kuolachalie Seyie and Secretary K Gwanilo Himb, it said that the members are not miscreants, but bonafide owners of the land and building.
The FIR filed by the NSF, it said, is malicious, baseless, misconceived and misleading. “The present issue between the NSF and Naga Club is a civil issue competent to be tried and decided by a Hon’ble Civil Court having jurisdiction,” it said.
As the dispute is regarding immovable property, it said that filing of FIR for offences under IPC is misconceived as the said statute is ill-equipped for deciding such cases. It then requested the police not to take cognizance in the case so as to allow the matter to be resolved in an appropriate court of law or before an appropriate forum.
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