Border Dispute in Nagaland's Peren District Leads to Firing, Torching of Houses

Reported by

Sarup SinhaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

June 10, 2021

Location of Conflict

Lamhainamdi

Peren

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Border Dispute

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

21

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2004

State

Nagaland

Sector

Land Use

The DimapurPeren border area is a disputed territory inhabited by different Naga tribes on each side of the border. The two major tribes are the Sumis in Dimapur and the Zeliangrong community (representative of the three Naga tribes of Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei) in Peren district. In a communique issued in June 2019 by the Nagaland Home Department, Principal Secretary Abhijit Sinha noted that the disputed land has been the cause of friction between the two tribal communities – Sumi and Zeme and that the endless vigilance of local authorities has helped keep possible flareups at bay. In the communiqu, Sinha urged people in the disputed area to restrain from engaging in any unruly behaviour. Invoking the ties of Naga unity, the government also appealed to the respective tribe leaders to maintain peace in the area. But two months later, on September 6, 2019, unidentified gunmen stormed Lamhainamdi village, located on the border of the two districts, and opened indiscriminate fire. They burnt down several makeshift huts, tents and structures as well as the village church. No casualties were reported as the village residents fled to the surrounding forests. Sentiwapang Aier, deputy commissioner of Peren, told LCW that the border between Peren and Dimapur districts has been a matter of longstanding contention and that the dispute existed even before Peren was created as a separate district in 2004 following its bifurcation from Kohima. The dispute continues even now because several villages, of which many are unrecognised, still share the same unsettled boundary with Dimapur that they did before, only Peren had then existed as a subdivision of Kohima and not as a separate district. Though an exact time of the creation of Lamhainamdi village could not be ascertained, it is reportedly newly established and its current status remains unrecognised, as confirmed by the district commissioner. Following the attack, Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton constituted a Cabinet Sub Committee to resolve the dispute amicably while also undertaking measures to demarcate the entire district boundary. He called for an immediate status quo in the disputed area, alongside a halt to all infrastructure and developmentrelated activities. The Sub Committee visited the disputed area and interacted with the communities later in September. According to Patton, the border dispute intensified with the formation of Peren district. At that time, clearcut demarcation of the boundary could not be established due to competing claims by the two communities. That led to the present quagmire, with half of the disputed area falling under Dimapur district and the other half under Peren. Several organisations representing the Zeliangrong community condemned the attack. On October 22, 2019, Zeliangrong Baudi, a civil society organisation, staged a rally demanding a just demarcation of the district boundary, which takes into account history and rights of the people. Other civil society organisations Zeme Council, Liangmai Council, Rongmei Council Peren, All Zeliangrong Students Union demanded in a joint statement that the government evict the unrecognised neighbouring villages of Lamhainamdi. These villages include Kehoi, Pushito, Vihuto and Hetoi. The organisations have blamed these villages for the attack, which they believe was an attempt to grab land. Although the police had initiated an investigation, the gunmen remained unidentified and no arrests have been made so far. When asked about the current status of the dispute, the deputy commissioner told LCW that the progress was interrupted due to the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic and that the status of Lamhainamdi village, the exact details about the land negotiation and the outcome of the Sub Committee will be announced in due time. Yet, on March 22, 2021, at least three people were killed and two vehicles burnt down by unknown assailants in what is considered an issue relating to the border dispute. According to a news report, a search operation was conducted and the area was inspected by the police, who recovered prohibited arms and ammunition from the site. On March 23, a shutdown was announced in the district by the Nagaland Zeliang People Organisation.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Constitutional Law, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Attempted killing, Torching of houses, Displacement, Killing

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Houses were torched and shots were fired indiscriminately. A church was also burnt down. On March 22, 2021, three individuals were killed and two vehicles were burnt down.

Date of Violation

September 6, 2019

Location of Violation

Lamhainamdi Village

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Nagaland, District Administration of Dimapur and Peren, Directorate of Land Records and Revenue

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Sentiwapang Aier, deputy commissioner of Peren, told LCW that the district boundary where Lamhainamdi village is situated has been a matter of longstanding contention and that the dispute existed even before the creation of Peren district in 2004 when it broke away from Kohima.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Sarup Sinha

Reviewed By

Sarup Sinha

Updated By

Sarup Sinha

Edited By

Sarup SinhaLand Conflict Watch
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