Kamjong incident: Ukhrul citizens start online petition
R LESTER MAKANG
UKHRUL, 9th Apr: Despite promising overtures shown by various civil societies, the much-anticipated prospect of restoring normalcy and harmony in Kamjong township apparently remains evasive or is stuck in the balance.
Behind the facade of uneasy calm and respite, an undercurrent of tension reportedly continues to pervade the border region.
The social atmosphere in the border township has been marred by a series of unwanted incidents over the past few weeks. Lack of settlement over the continued 'fictitious claim' of ownership by Chassad village in Sampui territory is being reportedly blamed for the simmering tension between the two villages.
Concerned about the prevailing sorry state of affairs, a group christened 'Concerned Citizens of Ukhrul District' (CCUD) have launched an online petition to urge upon the state government the urgency of restoring normalcy and concrete peace in the tension-gripped township.
A day after starting it at 5 pm on Wednesday, the online petition has been able to garner more than 1,850 signatures so far. Supporting the cause, a large number of people were seen sharing the petition on different social media platforms like facebook and whatsapp till Thursday evening. In the online petition addressed to chief minister N Biren Singh, the group wrote, "We urge the state government to recognise the imperative need to settle the matter of land ownership for long- term peaceful co-existence".
Asserting that land was not something that could be compensated with money for the Nagas, it said: "For us, land and ownership are a sacred relationship which we have defended for generations.”
At the same time, the online group urged the government to refer the matter to the Hill Area Committee (HAC) for an amicable settlement between Chassad and Sampui villages, citing coverage of the subject under the committee's jurisdiction.
"We envision a lasting peace to help re-establish the bonding, trust and comfort among the villagers/communities living together in the area. In this regard, we urge the government to abstain from any forceful action that could heighten the already tense situation," it continued, while exuding confidence in the state government in the collective appeal for refraining from any action that could vitiate the process for a long-term peace in the region.
The group further reminded apart from Sampui Village Authority, the four zonal bodies had also appealed to the state government to settle the land rights/ownership issue and rectify the household list before initiating any rehabilitation efforts. It then urged state government to recognise the urgency of resolving the said matter, in the interest of averting violence in future.
Meanwhile, touching on the current lockdown situation, the online group also extended its support and cooperation to the nationwide effort against COVID-19 pandemic.
"In this situation, we have suspended even our basic livelihood practices in compliance with the government directives of preventive measures," it said.
Regarding the Shangching incident of April 7, the petition maintained that the entry of vehicles in different village jurisdictions where CrPc 144 is in force, violates the lockdown norms, apart from creating panic among the people. "We request state government to focus all its energy and resources on combating the pandemic as much as we are asked to cease all other activities and stay home", the group pleaded and added that one-way approach is not the way to fight the pandemic situation.