Sunday, May 16, 2010

Congress opposes move to rename Dimapur

Taking a clear stand on the issue of renaming of Dimapur, the Congress party in Nagaland has opposed the change in the nomenclature of Dimapur as proposed by chief Minister Neiphiu Rio led-DAN government. Making their stand loud and clear on the issue of renaming of Dimapur by chief minister Neiphiu Rio-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government; the opposition Congress party has unanimously resolved to oppose the renaming of Dimapur stating that the place is of historical importance, and hence it is not the question that the name has been given by the minority or majority. Talking to NETV, Nagaland Congress Legislative Party Leader Tokheho Yepthomi said that they will try their best to protect the name of Dimapur. Referring to Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker’s statement over the proposed renaming, Tokheho said the DAN government had not consulted the opposition members on the issue. He alleged that Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie gave a wrong statement. The Congress also denied that the matter was discussed in the Assembly or that a consensus could not be arrived at. The decision to oppose the issue was taken during a recently held CLP meeting. Congress MLA Hewoto Awomi asserted that it was not a question of “minority” or “majority” but about historical fact and added that it was the duty of the government to protect the minorities. Further, he clarified that besides addressing the Naga political problem; there was no discussion among the legislators for renaming of Dimapur as stated earlier by chief minister, Neiphiu Rio. He also said that the party, together with the citizens of Dimapur, will take action if the government decides to rename Dimapur. According to a section of historians, the name Dimapur comes from the Kachari dialect. However, etymologically, di means "river", ma means "big" and pur means "city". Dimapur, once the capital city of the Dimasa kingdom up to the 13th century, has reminiscences of the Dimasa kingdom scattered around it. Therefore, the state government’s decision to rename Dimapur is also likely to evoke strong protests from the Dimasa community. The government argues that the name “Dimapur” did not originate from any Naga language and hence it needed a Naga name. The Kachari Tribal Council has warned the state government that it would oppose such a move tooth and nail, stating that the Kacharis have been kept in dark about the proposed renaming of Dimapur,. They said that renaming of Dimapur would tantamount to erasing the history of the Kacharis. Among the Naga tribes, the Angamis claim Dimapur as theirs, though mostly the Sumi Nagas inhabit in and around Dimapur. The Nagaland government has already started renaming colonies, wards and villages in and around Dimapur which have non-Naga names. The government however got the backing of the Naga Hoho. In such circumstances, whether the government succeeds in its move to rename Dimapur or not will remain to be seen in the near future.


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