After 65 years of animosity, peace prevails between two Naga villages
Residents of Chepoketa and Ikiye had turned foes overnight after the alleged murder of a government employee in February, 1952.india Updated: Jan 11, 2017 16:30 IST
Time does heal wounds.
Two villages in Nagaland, just eight km apart, ended 65 years of animosity recently by signing a reconciliation agreement to live in peace and harmony, an official said on Wednesday.
Fratricidal killings by Naga tribes have dominated headlines in the northeastern state over the years though officials say such incidents are gradually decreasing.
Differences between the tribes is also said to be one of the reasons for the dominant Naga militant group NSCN-IM’s failure to strike a peace with the Centre despite several attempts.
Officials said residents of Chepoketa and Ikiye had turned foes overnight after the alleged murder of a government employee in February, 1952.
Sakiye Aye from Ikiye was allegedly killed by some residents of Chepoketa, populated by the Chakhesang tribe. Aye was from the Sema tribe.
In retaliation, villagers from Ikiye burnt down the Chepoketa village, the official added.
“The murdered person was a government servant. Since that incident there was no good relation between both villages. Now there is peace,” Murohu Chotso, deputy commissioner of Phek, told HT.
While Ikiye is in Zunheboto district, Chepoketa is in adjoining Phek.
Chotso said last month the villagers decided to bury their enmity, five days ahead of Christmas.
The reconciliation meeting was held at Chepoketa Baptist church on December 20, said to be due to the efforts of a retired police officer JP Vikhuga Jimo.
According to a delayed press statement by the administration, Jimo “took the initiative to pave the way for reconciliation to bring peace between the two villages”.
Church elders spoke on forgiveness and blessed residents of both the villages present at the meeting.
To express their sincerity to the peace deal, the gaonburas – traditional village headmen -- gave copies of the Bible and signed reconciliation papers
Ironically, the headman of Ikiye, Hekheto, is the son of the murdered Sakiye.
There are 16 major Naga tribes spread over the state, besides Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. Some Naga tribes are also based in Myanmar.
Headhunting, the practice of killing enemies and severing their heads for trophy as a rite of passage for men, was prevalent among some tribes, such as the Konyaks, till the early 20th century.