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Sushanta Roy is a journalist in the north eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora, and the things that affect them.

Diphu June 17: Mounting an unusual sort of psychosomatic strain on Karbi Students’ Association, the Nagaland Socialists (NSCN-IM) on Monday, suggested quite a lot of history books over its differences on the status of the Rengma Nagas in Assam in regard to the proposed Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council accord to be signed shortly.

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland group also listed details of books for reference: Assamese history book, Rengma Naga Jonogosty Otit and Bortoman (Rengma Naga History Past and Present, Book of the Year-1841, page no. 34) which highlights the recognition of 52 Rengma villages; book on the province of Assam written by AJ Moffat Mills (page No 216 and 217)-The Rengma Naga; Travel In Assam by John Bulter; North East Frontier of India by Alexander Mac Kenzie; and Map detail on Rengma Hills (year 1845 – 1846, year – 1848, 1875 and 1884).

NSCN-IM Statement

Through a statement issued by one of its leaders, they said the KSA is “befooling the people by being ignorant of their roots, blinded by the proposed Karbi-Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council syndrome.”

The NSCN (IM) in its elongated press communiqué stated that “Historical references are available in plenty about the bona fide status of the Rengma Nagas, or for that matter about the Karbis in the socio-political melee of Assam history,”

The group said that irrespective of tribal affiliations, nobody can play fool with the well documented historical records.

“The Government of India’s scheme of things as proposed under the controversial KAATC should find their support from historical legitimacy. Simply to appease the Karbi militants at the cost of overlooking the indigenous Rengma Nagas will only complicate the matter,” it said.

The NSCN-IM said that the Karbi Students Association should study the issue from credible historical perspective and not allow itself to be carried away by the “unjustified generosity of the Government of India and state government of Assam in the good name of controlling Assam militants,” further advising the student body to know where it stand and scrutinize their claims with historical facts.

“The Karbis who are immigrants from different places like Sivasagar, Nagaon, Cachar, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, Silchar and Khasi and Jaintia Hills during the British Rule cannot claim themselves the status of original inhabitants. The British Ruler has declared the present Karbi Anglong areas as Rengma Naga Hills for the legitimate reason as they find the areas inhabited by the Rengma Nagas. The declaration came into effect vide 1841 Official Gazette,” said NSCN-IM.

It goes on to say that the status Karbis are now enjoying in the Rengma Naga Hills is rooted in immigration from other places, courtesy the British rule. In this regard, it advised the student body to refer to some books on history.

Karbi Students Association Response

Whatever may be the claims of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM) on this sensitive issue concerning the autonomous hill region of Assam, most of civil society, student’s organizations such as Karbi Students Association and political parties view the interference of NSCN (IM) as gratuitous and unjustified.

Yesterday, the Congress party stressed on the need to resolve the whole issue within the ambit of Article 244(A) of the Indian Constitution. This provision of the 6th schedule assures an autonomous state encompassing the self-governing hill region of Assam.

Beside individual responses, no organization has put forward any retort to NSCN (IM)’s status of the Rengma Naga issue until this missive from Karbi Students Association.

unofficial nagaland flag
Unofficial Nagaland flag.