The Mao Council on Friday issued a clarification on the Kozürü and Dziiko issue in a bid to reach an understanding and clear the air between the Southern Angami Public Organisation (SAPO) and the Council.
To set right the record and to let the general public know that the Mao Council had solid ground, the following clarifications are given so that peace and understanding among the Tenyimi brothers will prevail in the interest of everyone, the Mao Council stated:
It may be first noted that the land where Khuzama village has been established was earlier the grazing land of Pudunamei and Punanamei and much after the establishment of the new village of Khuzama, dispute arose between Pudunamei and Punanamei on one side and Viswema on the other side over ownership of land.
The person who took oath on behalf of Pudunamei and Punanamei is Neni, son of Kopfujü from Pudunamei village and his generations runs from Pforo, Lokho, Asosüro up to Sibo. This means that the oath-taking must have happened about 130-135 years ago as of date and the boundary of Koziirii and Mao Dziiko is very clear to us.
The SAPO also admitted in their statement dated July 26, 2016 that there was a land dispute near "Mitotsii" around 120-30 years ago. "Mitotsii" was the first landmark of the land boundary sworn by Neni son of Kopfujü.
Mao Dziiko measures about 11.28 km which is only about 1/5 of the total area of the entire Dziiko valley which lies within Manipur and is marked by the stream flowing from the foot of Isii peak, the Emei Chikhe (Mao Cave) and the willow trees planted on Dziiko river by our ancestors. Mao Dziiko lies next to North of Koziirii forest.
The first friction on Dziiko valley occurred in 1985 when a team of 19 people comprising nine Manipur government officials and 10 Mao youths went to visit Dziiko valley.
While returning through Viswema jurisdiction they were detained, coerced into tendering written apology for trespassing and then handed over to Nagaland police custody.
The issue of Kozürü started in the year 2000, wherein on April 11, 2000, the volunteers of Song Song Village raised objections to construction of a new rest house by Daniel of Viswema Village at Chitekayi Ingho about 1 Km (Aerial distance) inside the traditional land of the Mao people to mark the boundary of Viswema land.
Later, the Song Song village informed Kalinamei and Rubunamei about the encroachment of Mao traditional boundary. At that time the Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) was not at all in
picture and the issue was restricted to Viswema village only.
On May 13, 2000, six delegates came from Viswema to Song Song village and stated that since they cannot handle the case alone, the matter had been referred to Japfüphiki Angami Public Organisation (JAPO).
On November 23, 2000, some youths from Song Song village came and dismantled the rest house constructed by Viswema village and situation became tense and the Tenyimi Central Union (TCU) temporarily brought the matter under control.
The TCU directed the Mao Council to tell the Song Song village to reconstruct the rest house, however Song Song village refused to do so stating that the rest house was constructed in their traditional land.
Sensing the volatile situation, the National workers of the NSCN-IM reconstructed the rest house to save the situation.
The TCU had set up the Standing Committee to resolve the Kozürü (Kezoltsa) issue on February 14, 2001 but the standing Committee could not resolve the issue.
In the year 2010 when some members of the Pfonemei Development Association were attempting to transport felled trees from Kozürü, they were caught by volunteers of Southern Angami and detained and the incident created a volatile situation.
However, with the intervention from TCU now rechristened as Tenyimi People's Organisation (TPO) had entered into an agreement with the Angami Public Organisation (APO) and Mao Council on March 19, 2010 and it was agreed that no party will be allowed to undertake any development activities till the dispute will be solved by the TPO.
The TPO standing Committee had several sittings and also undertook verification visits to the disputed area and they also had separate consultations with the two parties, however when the process had reached the stage for settlement of the case, the Southern Angami Public Organisation(SAPO) (earlier Japfüphiki Angami Public Organisation) withdrew from the TPO Court on 24th August, 2012 questioning the integrity of the members of the TPO court and it is not known whether they have taken the consent of the APO.
In October 2014 the SAPO had encroached into Kozürü areas by constructing roads using heavy machineries and under the vigil of volunteers armed with sophisticated weapons. To avoid any direct confrontation with the encroachers which would lead to bloodshed, the Committee for Kozürü and Dzüko Land Boundary Resolution(CKDLBR) under the aegis of Mao Council submitted an ultimatum to the Government of Manipur on 23rd April 2015 to stop the encroachment on or before May 7, 2015 failing which the Mao Council would take up democratic course of action.
When the Manipur Government did not act, the democratic protest of bandh and economic blockade against the inaction of Manipur state Government a 24 hour bandh commenced on May 22, 2015 which was followed with an indefinite economic blockade w.e.f June 1, 2015.
Then the SAPO reacted strongly with a counter ban on movement of Mao people in SAPO area and through the advice and intervention of the Naga Hoho the economic blockade of the Mao Council was called off on the midnight of June 3, 2015.
As advised by the TPO and after much consultation and taking into account the need to uphold the unity and integrity of the Naga people, the Mao Council issued a public statement stating that the memorandum submitted to the Government of Manipur stands withdrawn with effect from October 25, 2015.
There is already a 1933 decree of the Manipur Darbar, settling the boundary between Maram Khullen and Mao people (largely Mao Pungdong village), which was reaffirmed by the parties in the year 1995 and honoured by both parties.
Till March 23, 2016, the Kozürü issue was only between the Mao Council and the SAPO but all of a sudden, the Maram Khullen came into picture after the TPO Board of Arbitrators was already constituted.
This boundary between Maram Khullen and Mao Pungdong with stone markers was pointed out to the T PO and the Board of Arbitrators(BOA) during the field visit in the presence of the Maram Khullen representatives, who stated that south of the boundary is Maram Khullen land, while north of the boundary belongs to Mao Pungdong .
The Mao Council is unable to understand how the T PO is now giving so much importance to
Due to the provocative actions of the SAPO even to the extent of firing guns and using abusive language against the Manipur administrative and security officers who were deployed to control the Dzüko fire in later part of December 2020, the Government of Manipur was forced to enforce 144 CRPC on the Manipur side to control the situation.
While thanking various organizations both in Nagaland and Manipur for requesting the SAPO to withdraw the indefinite ban on movement of Mao people in Southern Angami areas, we are of the opinion that good sense will prevail once the true stories are made known to all.
We also take this opportunity to wish all our Christian brothers and sisters a Merry Christmas and advance Happy New Year.