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Displaced Sumis of Seyochung: HC gives AAG one last chance for compliance

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 26: Asserting that the matter has been dragging on for too long, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on Tuesday gave the Additional Advocate General of Nagaland one last chance to comply with the Court’s order concerning the displaced Sumis of Seyochung Village in Kiphire District.
“By producing the communication dated September 25, 2023 before this Court, Mr. Imti Imsong, learned Additional AG, submits that he may be granted some time as the matter which relates to communal conflict at Seyochung Village, under Kiphire District, and the matter has been resubmitted to the Cabinet on September 4, 2023 for consideration and further directions, for which appropriate instruction is still awaited.
“This Court noticed that the matter has been dragging for so long for compliance of the order of this Court on one or other pretext by seeking time again and again which this Court deprecates. However, in the interest of justice, Mr. Imti Imsong, learned Additional AG, is granted another two weeks’ time as a last chance to either comply with the Court’s order or face the consequential proceedings thereafter”, stated an order passed by Justice Kardak Ete.
The Judge fixed the next hearing to be held after two weeks.
As Nagaland Page has reported previously, this particular case pertains to a Contempt of Court petition filed on October 30, 2019 against the Chief Secretary, the Commissioner of Nagaland and the Home Commissioner by a resident of Dimapur, Inashe Awomi.
During the course of hearing, the Court was informed that since 2008, the displaced Sumis of Seyochung Village were staying at different places ~ including Supply godown and PWD/PHED vacant quarters at Seyochung Town.
According to Court records, “certain dispute arose in Seyochung Village amongst two tribes, i.e. Sumi and Sangtam, relating to claim of customary rights of the original inhabitants of the village” and the contesting parties had approached the Court by filing writ petitions.
Back then, the Court had disposed of the case on the ground that a one-man Enquiry Committee constituted to resolve the issue had already submitted its report to the Government.
Therefore, it had directed the Chief Secretary of Nagaland and the Home Commissioner to pass appropriate order within three months (from November 28, 2018) in terms of the report of the one-man Enquiry Committee.
Records show that the one-man Enquiry Committee had recommended two alternative options to the State Government.
The first option included three suggestions: the displaced Sumi community members of Seyochung Village should be provided with security protection if they are prepared to go back to their village; explore ways and means to locate a separate Sumi Khel within the village area; and establish a separate place of worship for Sumi community members “for free expression in their own dialect during worship without changing village polity, culture customary law, VDB, village council, etc., (like a similar case settled by NBCC at Sitimi Village in 1987)”.
According to the other option, a village wounded by division, hatred and manipulated fears “may not have peaceful mind to live together again and survive because they no longer agree on fact and do not agree their own village history”.
Hence, it stated, the best option available was to settle down elsewhere and retain certain privileges like avail backward certificate against the name of Seyochung Village for limited period; allow them to have EPIVS against the name of Seyochung Village as long as they wants their names enrolled under 60 A/C Seyochung-Sitimi; no restriction to use of Seyochung Village’s name, even though they stay elsewhere; immediate relief cash grant to deserving displaced families living under Kiphire District; and no restriction to using their properties, either movable or immovable, even if they live elsewhere.
Since then, the Court has been asking the Additional AG to file an affidavit containing records of the steps the State Government had taken for displaced Sumis of Seyochung Village in Kiphire District as recommended by the one-man Enquiry Committee.
(Page News Service)