Consequent upon the vandalism of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) office at its Oking in the wee hour, nay – under the cover of midnight darkness, of the 27th May 2023, by some unknown miscreants then at that point in time, the Federation as required by law, filed an FIR (First Information Report) to the nearest Police Station, which was at the North Police Station Kohima for information and necessary action. Following which, media reports say, that the driver of the JCB which was used to vandalize and destroy the Naga Club Building, which houses the office of the NSF, All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) and Kohima Press club was arrested. This was followed by arrest of two more unnamed culprits.
And as the Naga students community all over the Naga country were demanding the immediate arrest of all other culprits involved, with condemnations coming from many social and tribal organizations of the Naga society, including the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister who is also Home Minister of Nagaland, and many other Ministers and Legislators, who not only expressed their deepest resentments but also physically visited the “battered and humiliated” building to stand in solidarity with the NSF, came the shocking revelation that the Naga Club Building was “demolished” by some people calling themselves as officials of Naga Club, who then went applying for anticipatory bails from the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court, without anybody framing charges against them.
In the meantime, on June 7 2023, the Angami Public Organization (APO) and the Kohima Village Council (KVC) issued a Joint Appeal, asking NSF amongst others; “to withdraw the FIR soonest possible as a good gesture to find an amicable solution”, for which, the Federation after due consultations with the seniors and its Federating units and sub-ordinate bodies have decided to withdraw the FIR with immediate effect. NSF therefore, request all concerned, not to misconstrue this decision as a sign of weakness, but rather of upholding the resolution adopted at the Emergency Senior Consultative Meeting held on the 30th of May 2023. And that this decision is being taken with the deepest faith and trust in the wisdom of the APO and KVC for which we re-pose our full trust and confidence.
The present incumbent, who also only occupied the office of NSF from our predecessors and will be passing our responsibilities on to upcoming leaders, have nothing to gain or to lose from this dispute. But history will be unkind if we are to let ‘greed and falsehood triumph’ without any prejudice to anyone. NSF has and will remain steadfast in upholding the interests of the Naga youths and all Nagas in general for Unified Lim and Glory of the Nagas. In light of the same, the continued peddling of ‘Half truth and Half lies’ to mislead the Naga people and polarize their thoughts, the Naga Students’ Federation, despite our unwillingness to go into details of countering the lies put across in public domain by those claiming to be leaders of the Naga Club, is compelled to put on record some relevant historical truth for the consumption of the Naga people.
a) It was on 31st October 1974 Eno. Vilalhoulie Angami, Retd. Deputy SP wrote to the President of NSF explaining about the Genesis and the subsequent disappearance of the Naga Club while also requesting everyone that the NSF take over the charge of the Naga Students’ Federation cum Naga club for the welfare of the Nagas.
b) 0n 7th January 1982, a meeting was held at Kohima village Panchayat hall wherein the Naga Club was revamped with Eno. Azuto Rengma as its President.
c) In 1983, Late Vizolie Sorhie, the then President NSF and his General Secretary, Eno. Imkong Imchen among other officials were approached by the Naga Club office bearers and Naga Elders Conference to reclaim the Naga Club building which was earlier occupied by the Forest Department and vacated by then. It should be noted that even after shifting their office, the department kept the building locked and never handed over the keys to the Naga Club. Many more efforts were made to reclaim the Naga Club building in the most appropriate manner but the government refused to cooperate. Subsequently, NSF led by Late. Vizolie Sorhie President NSF, Late Machimvu Ritse, Finance Secretary, Eno. Neingulo Krome, Member Action Committee NSF and Eno Kewezu G Kenye President ANCSU went and broke the lock and occupied the Naga Club Building. Following which Mr. Neivor Rutsa volunteered his vehicle bearing Registration No. NLT-309 to assist in shifting the NSF office to Naga Club. Later on, rooms were also provided for ANCSU, Naga Elders Conference and gradually office of the Oking Times and also the Naga Mothers’ Association.
d) When the rent for the month of April 1983 was paid and received by the then General Secretary of the then Naga Club, Late Vilavor Liegese, it was clearly mentioned as ‘with the Good consent of Mutual understanding’ which was to facilitate and legitimize that ‘Naga Club’ was the owner of the same building which at that point in time was also being claimed by another group of individuals in the name of another Naga Club , and the dispute matter was lying under the court of Deputy Commissioner, Kohima for hearing. And this receipt of Rs. 500 for the month of April 1983 paid by NSF became evident of proof and the court ruled in favor of the Naga club, which was never ever contested again. Otherwise, there was ‘mutual understanding’ that the building will always belong to Naga Club and NSF will only be the guardian and custodian of the building according to demands of situations. And ever since the building was taken over in April 1983, NSF did all repair and renovation works of the building and its premises, including additional construction which still stands majestically, despite its agedness.
e) On 22 June 1983 A Kevichusa gave a statement about how, when, who and for whom the Naga Club Building was constructed. In it, it was clearly stated that the ‘The building was not constructed for any particular person. It does not belong to the Angamis in particular. Neither does it belong exclusively to the Kohima people nor to the Christians. It belongs to the Naga people as a whole.’
f) 27 May 1984: 12 individuals claiming to be of the descendants of donors of the Naga club building wrote to the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima requesting for an eviction order against the ‘self style Secretary’ of the then mandated Naga club and the Naga students Federation claiming that they are the original Naga club.
g) On 17 July 1984, DC Kohima Convened a meeting of the prominent Naga leaders in Kohima for a meeting to discuss issues relating to Naga Club on 17th August 1984.
h) On 17 August 1984, DC Kohima, S Lima Aier ‘dissolved the two parallel Naga club organizations with the condition that ‘the Naga club will be reorganized giving wide publicity to all tribes of Nagas and wide publicity to all the tribes of Nagas and sub-committee was appointed with Mr. Wezhuli Krome as convenor’. It was clearly stated in the order that the re-organization should be completed by 17th September 1984.
i) On 26 October 1984, the committee constituted by the DC kohima had a meeting and resolved the following:
1) That, the office bearers of the Naga Club duly elected on 7th January, 1982 was re-elected and shall be legitimate recognized body.
2) That, the tenure of the office shall be 3 (three) calendar years.
3) That, in addition to the existing office bearers, 7 (Seven) Joint secretaries, each representing 1 (one) district of Nagaland, shall man the office of the Naga club.
j) With regards to the proposed Building Project, a “Seniors’ Conclave” was convened by NSF on 21.11.2015 at the De Oriental Hotel, Kohima, which constituted a 5-Member Committee, with Mr. Neivor Rutsa as Convenor, and Mr. Lhouvitsu, Mr. Yesonyu Veyie, Mr. Zaku Tsukru and Mr. Z. Lohe. This Committee as entrusted pursued the Plot related issue and in its first meeting held on 06.12.2015 at the residence of Z. Lohe and decided that the Plot is free from all encumbrances and therefore the NSF may go ahead with the Building Project which will house all the Apex Naga organizations under one roof and also provide for the livelihood of the surviving members of the then Naga Club. This was not even in the thought of any other individuals at that point of time.
k) It was on 15 July 2017, that the decision was taken to make plans to celebrate 100th Year of Naga Club at the NSF senior consultative Meeting held at Japfu hotel.
l) On 5th October 2017 the Executive Council NSF set up a 15 members Naga Club Building Committee with Nivor Rutsa as the convenor of the committee.
m) On 9 December 2017, the Federal Assembly held at Mokokchung village hosted by AKM reaffirmed the decision to celebrate the 100th Year of Naga Club and endorsed the then executive council to constitute a committee for the same.
n) On 29th June 2018, a 15 Member organizing Committee for ‘100 Year of Naga Club’ was constituted by the NSF Executive.
o) On 21st November 2018, A public Declaration was made by 11 ‘concerned senior individuals not representing any organization or body’ after a marathon meeting held at De Oriental Hotel, Kohima wherein it was clearly stated that ‘to undertake all future developments taking the Naga public, especially the NSF, a major stakeholder, into confidence always’. However, to the dismay of NSF, the same was not honored by the Naga Club.
p) As the NSF launched the celebration of its 75 years of existence under the theme ‘Call to Oneness’ for all Nagas to come together, this same Naga Club issued ‘notice to vacate the Naga Club building in toto on or before the 27th of August 2022.
q) This time around, as the NSF was preparing to hold its General Conference, its office was vandalized, documents destroyed, and its office materials such as computers, furniture, gadgets etc. all damaged.
r) On December 13,2022: Daniel Shiu, A Burma Naga brought to public domain, a document entitled ‘The paradox of the Naga Club then and now’ wherein it was written ‘Therefore, going by the Lakhuti resolution of 1955 of the mandated Naga national organization ie, NNC, the Naga club of today should be branded as unlawful and treacherous’.
The rest of the unfortunate events that transpired is in public domain including the criminal act of vandalizing the NSF Oking which is a common Naga heritage site and is a treasure trove of documents pertaining to the Naga people.
The NSF would like to clearly state that it has no intention of antagonizing or confronting any group or individual but will function guided by the fundamental principles that are clearly enshrined in its constitution for Unified Lim and Glory of Nagas by all means and will always remain open to the idea of inclusiveness.
A lot of bold statements were made by Mr. Kuilochalie Seyie, the self proclaimed President of the unrecognized Naga Club, during his recent interview with a prominent regional News channel. He claimed that the unrecognized Naga Club is for all the Nagas while also accusing NSF of never having met them in the last 7 (seven) years.
Both the claim as well as the accusation are baseless and hold no water whatsoever. The Federation would like to refresh his over-used brain by taking his memories back to the time when NSF was planning to celebrate the ‘100 year of Naga Club’. It was through the meetings between some members of the Ad-hoc Naga Club and the then officials of NSF on several occasions that the proposal to organize the occasion together was mooted. After due consultations with the stakeholders, the NSF officials met the then Chairman of the Ad-hoc Naga Club Mr. Krurovi Peseyie in the month of March at his residence in Jotsoma where he clearly mentioned that Naga Club will celebrate only for the tribes of Nagaland State. It was due to this stark contrast in the concepts of celebrating the occasion that the Ad-hoc Naga Club and NSF could not organize the occasion.
With the facts placed before the public, how can he claim that the Ad-hoc Naga club is for the entire Nagas without borders and that NSF had never met them? The audacity of Mr. Kuolochalie Seyie to mislead the Naga people through lies is unfortunate.
The main accusation as per their ‘notice to vacate’ was ‘that your esteemed organization has paid Rs. 500/- (five hundred only) in rent for the month of April 1983 on 07.04.1983 after which you have never paid our Naga Club house rent from May 1983 till date’. But how do NSF pay rent to an organization from May 1983 till whichever date to an organization which was formed only in 2017/18?
The NSF reiterates that the Naga club belongs to all the Naga people and that no individual or group can claim ownership of the same. The Naga issue, the Naga political history and the resulting rights of the Naga people cannot be owned nor inherited by some individuals.
The NSF has always been honoring our ancestors who laid the foundation of the Naga nationhood, for which NSF is a proud descendent, however, the present Naga Club which is not recognized by the Naga people was formed suddenly in 2017/18 with ulterior motives to hijack a certain planned celebration of the NSF which was not even in their thoughts then.
The NSF is uncompromisingly of the view that the Present Naga club is unmandated and that the Naga people as a whole should decide the relevance of its existence in the present context and that a proper Naga Club should be re-constituted, based on the foundation of the Memorandum that was submitted to the Simon Commission in 1929.
Henceforth, the Naga Students’ Federation and the All Nagaland college Students’ Union (ANCSU) shall resume its normal functioning at its Oking, Naga Club building.
Nevertheless, with God and the Naga general public as our witness, we leave the matter to the best wisdom of the Nagas and the APO as the messenger of Peace to uphold the legacy of the Naga club and bring the Naga people together in the true spirit of the memorandum submitted to the Simon commission by the Naga Club in 1929.
KEGWAYHUN TEP, President
SIIPUNI NG PHILO, General Secretary