DIMAPUR, May 14 � The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) public rally against recognition of Rongmei tribe as one of the Naga tribes of Nagaland drew an encouraging response here today. Though it did not compare in numbers to the October 31 rally by the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) last year, it made up in sending out a message as clearly as that of the ACAUT rally.
Today�s rally unambiguously sent a strong message to the State Government to revoke the Cabinet decision on Rongmei tribe recognition.
Braving the scorching heat, over 7000 rallyists representing different organisations and tribes of Nagaland lent their support to the NTC as it pursues the demand for total revocation of the July 23, 2012 Cabinet decision for recognition of Rongmeis as �one of the Naga tribes�. Even the Gauhati High Court had on November 22, 2012 directed the State Government not to issue the �Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate �to members of the Rongmei community as these names did not appear in the Electoral Roll of December 5,1963.
The message of today�s rally was amply clear � �Recognition of tribes without its ancestral land is an anti-people decision and a total sellout. If any tribe wants to be recognised, come with your ancestral land.�
It further went on to say that �every inch of Nagaland belongs to the Nagas of Nagaland who are the aboriginals. We are the true sons of the soil; therefore, the issue of tribe recognition to any floating population does not arise. Therefore, we demand the abrogation of the Cabinet decision. The blatant act of the State Government is one glaring instance of the State allowing the non-aboriginal tribes to take advantage in snatching away the rightful share of the genuine citizens of the State.�
Convenor of the NTC public rally Theja Therieh said the protest and rejection of recognition of Rongmei tribe has begun today with the voice and support of the people. He said this while making it clear that neither NTC nor Nagas of Nagaland have any adverse intents against the Rongmei Nagas, who he said are aborigines of present Manipur.
�Our land belongs to us exclusively, and your land belongs to you exclusively. We don�t have the right to interfere within the privileges granted to you in your ancestral land, and it�s neither our business of interest. The population here in Nagaland will grow, but the 16,000 square km of the State won�t grow. So here lies the concern,� he said adding that �We the Nagas, wherever we are settled, are one common family of the same racial stock and we will continue to work together as one people.�
NTC acting president Lendinoktang Ao reiterated that NTC is totally against the recognition of Rongmei tribe while reminding the government that it (NTC) will go to the fullest to denounce the Cabinet decision.
�Nagaland State was formed with the 14 aboriginal tribes and later Kacharis and Kukis were included. Go back to history. Rongmei tribe is from Manipur, and there was never a point of time when they (Rongmeis) are considered Nagas of Nagaland. The claim of 1313 Rongmeis to have permanent settlement in Nagaland prior to December 1, 1963 is bogus and misleading,� he said reiterating that floating population shouldn�t be given recognition.
Former Speaker Zhovehu Lohe, who no doubt was the loudest speaker at the rally, made no hesitation in denouncing the State Government�s decision on Rongmei tribe recognition as anti-people.
�We are not bothered with the 1313 population as claimed by the Rongmeis. Let the population exceed one lakh or even 10 lakhs, we will oppose it if you don�t come with your ancestral land,� Lohe sternly said.