The Rengma Naga community held a peace march in Guwahati on January 30, 2014, seeking justice and empowerment
With justice in mind, nearly 200 people from the Rengma Naga community of Assam and Nagaland today held a peace march in Guwahati and submitted a memorandum each to the Governor and Chief Minister of Assam. The peace march was carried out from 11am to 2pm from Paan Bazaar to Didholi Pukhuri.
In a first of its kind, the 17-page memorandum postulates three core points: subjugation of the indigenous rights of the Rengma Naga people of Karbi Anglong, compensation for attacks on the Rengma Naga people from December 27, 2013 and ex-gratia to the bereaved at the earliest, and political empowerment.
“Since the attack on 27th Dec 2013, altogether 6 villages have been burnt down and approximately 250-300 houses destroyed. Therefore, unless, the compensation demand is settled, the question of the refugees going back to their villages does not arise,” noted the memorandum, also seeking ex-gratia payment for the “serious human rights violation committed” on December 27, 2013. With the Governor and Chief Minister of Assam both out of station, the memorandum was collected on their behalf by the district administration and representatives from the Chief Minister’s secretariat.
The memorandum requested the Governor to “order an investigation into the whole matter since the role of the law enforcing agencies, both before and after the 27th Dec episode is suspect or atleast cause for apprehension.” It was signed by representatives of the Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council, Assam (RNPC), Rengma Naga Students’ Union, Assam, Rengma Gaon Bura Committee, Assam and the Rengma Hills Autonomous District Demand Committee, Karbi Anglong, Assam. The peace march was organized by the RNPC with support from the Rengma Hoho, the Rengma Students’ Union, Nagaland and Naga Students’ Union, Guwahati. The memorandum questioned the “dehumanization of Rengmas through systematic non-interventionist government policies through diversion of development funds, centrally sponsored schemes and human resources development away from Rengma inhabited areas.” It therefore called for “rectification of the dehumanizing episode through creation of Rengma Hills Autonomous Council to check the plight of Rengma Nagas of Assam.”