Imphal, April 15,
Armed rebel group Manipur Naga Peoples’ Front (MNPF) have exposed an aged old issue which have been concealed for years. The issue highlighted the division created be some vested interested persons among the Tangkhul community.
A statement by the outfit said that the fight to change the Tangkhul Baptist Churches nomenclature from TBL to TBCA is a complex issue and only the tip of the iceberg is known by many of the other MBC Churches leaders and that is the very reason why the conflict is not being resolved after such a long fifteen years and more of conflict. It involves a monetary fund awarded to one Mr. N. Shangkahao of Mapum village by the California ministry funding agency which was undeniably misused by the Association leaders namely, Wungnaoting Konghar and group who were by that time was working under TBL leadership but also became a TBCA leader and also an MBC leader along with the NSCN IM leaders. Taking the advantage of Mr. N. Shangkahao’s simplicity, sincerity and ignorance, the leader of TBL diverted the United Team Leadership Ministry (UTLM) fund directly under UADP in collaboration with TBL and withdraw the money in the first phase a sum of rupees fourty lakhs (40 lacs) in the month of December 1995 without the consent of Mr. Shangkahao to whom the monetary fund was awarded. In the process uncountable incidence of force were used by the NSCN IM to the church leaders and the public who were aware of the issues, for e.g. Nine pastors were taken captive forcefully and make them sign to withdraw the fund without the proper consent of the owner Mr. N. Shangkahao, seven times the church leaders were summon to Hebron in which two of the meetings were chaired by Th. Muivah himself, Phungyo Baptist Church women were beaten up, Mr. Wungchipai and Mr. Shangam shipro were taken captive to Sirui jungle during the time of Christmas and new year, Mr. N. Shangkahao himself was threatened and was asked to surrender his funding agency file etc. so on and so forth and all this were done by the NSCN IM in lieu of Wungnaoting Konghar and friends. And after such a chaotic mess of corruption and betrayal the vested individuals who are working hand in glove with the NSCN IM came up with an idea of creating a new nomenclature called TBCA instead of TBL, base on a call to start a new beginning as the Tangkhul Baptist Churches along with the whole world step into a new millennium just to cover up the crime and corruption committed by them. Formation of TBCA has nothing to do with the better future of the Tangkhul Baptist Churches but it is just to cover up the crafty struggle of evil schemes and crimes of corruption among few Tangkhul Christian leaders which in turn is the root cause of attitude for creating the Tangkhul Baptist Churches Association (TBCA) even though there are some good fabricated elements attached to it.
The prevailing conflict in the Tangkhul churches are an aged old conflict caused due to the egoistic mindset among the leadership of the western Tangkhuls, especially by the somdal village. The Tangkhul churches were under one administrative association called ‘North-east Baptist Association Manipur (NEBAM) from 1929 among the Tangkhul Baptist Christians until 1959. On the occasion of convening a general meeting at Lungphu village in the year 1959, fro, 27th Jan. to 1st Feb. under the banner of NEBAM, the vested elders from the western tangkhul churches tabled the agenda to segregate the tangkhul Christian association into four different associations as per the jurisdictions of the tangkhul landmark. But on that auspicious occasion, the Southern Tangkhuls especially opposed the agenda and pleaded the rest of the tangkhul Christian leaders not to accept the agenda and continue to work together under one administrative association, but sadly in response to the plead of the Southern tangkhuls, one of the elders from somdal village, namely Mr. Ringkahao Ruivanao openly declared before the congregation with a defaming statement that, ‘is not the southern Tangkhuls a man born with a testical organs? Are not the southern Tangkhuls born as a man? With such statements, the Tangkhul Baptist churches were segregated into four different associations and the southern Tangkhuls Baptist were left with no option but to struggle as an orphan, as an ignored Christian group within and without from the rest of the more versed and experienced Tangkhul Christian groups. The reason for such plead was since, the southern Tangkhuls villages by that time was mostly on the process of converting and new to Christianity and were poorly educated in most of the field and was lacking every essential leadership quality in Christianity. So, with every possible means of enduring shame and hardships that one could ever bear, the southern Tangkhuls endured and was affiliated to MBC as an independent association in the year 1963 forcefully since no other option was left for them. Following the last North-East Baptist Association Manipur (NEBAM) meeting at Lungphu village the ‘Tangkhul Naga Baptist Convention’ (TNBC) was adopted under the resolution no. 18 clause ‘C’ within a certain frame of constitution which allows Northern Tangkhul Naga Baptist Association (NTNBA), Western Tangkhl Naga Baptist Association (WTNBA), Eastern Tangkhul Naga Baptist Association (ETNBA) and Southern Tangkhul Naga Baptist Association (STNBA) to exist as an independent association with each of them affiliated to MBC within the parental body of Tangkhul Naga Baptist Association (TNBC).
After enduring many hardships of experiences, in the 1980’s the tangkhul nagas decided to re-structure its Christian administration under one administrative umbrella called the ‘Tnagkhul Baptist Long (TBL)’ in which, the Southern Tangkhul Naga Baptist Association (STNBA) was also invited, but the STNBA leaders openly and bluntly refused to join the formation since they were forcefully caste out at first hand without any consideration for their instability to exist as an independent Christian association at that time of initial stage. Under the banner of TBL, all the three Tangkhul Christian associations which was previously formed as North, East, and West Tangkhul Christian Baptist associations as a result of 1959 resolution at Lungphu village withdrawn its region wise affiliation from MBC and came to affiliate under one administrative association called “The Tangkhul Baptist Long (TBL)” at MBC.
Even the celebration of the Tangkhul Baptist Christian centenary was proposed by most of the leaders to celebrate under the old banner of TNBC since there was some disunity among the sections of Tangkhul leaders but the response from the western tangkhul Christian leaders were the same of old repeating that ‘the STNBA will come like a dog wagging its tail, so just keep the decision to organize the centenary in the name of TBL’, as a result the STNBA wasn’t a part of the Tangkhul Baptist Christian Centenary celebration. But soon later, when the new millennium 2000 AD hit its new journey, the Tangkhul leaders were consulted due to some political leaderships influences and monetary corruption as mentioned above was calling the three corners of the Tangkhul Christian associations to re-structure the association as TBCA, at which the East and North Tangkhul associations refused to accept the proposal of forming another new Association but to remain as it is, which is within the banner of TNBC, since it was so uncertain and cheap before the whole Christian community to change its set-ups and nomenclature now and then.
The Tangkhul churches caste a mandate vote in those days either to accept the new association called TBCA or to stay as NTNBA, ETNBA, STNBA under TNBC and the churches in absolute majority preferred to stay as it was under TNBC and its voice still remains the same. Even the STNBA were approached and threatened to join TBCA, the new union, but STNBA executive secretary of that time Mr. Samuel bluntly replied that “until Christ came for the second time, STNBA will exist as an independent association and will never be abolished no matter what”. Therefore, it is the prayer and the voice of the whole Tangkhul peace loving Church members that MBC will honor the CBCNEI president’s letter of 19th Feb. 2018 and revoked NTNBA and ETNBA’s affiliation without delay. This agenda has been prevailing during the tenure of Peter Chothe, the then the president of MBC but because of the threat from NSCN IM that the process of revoking NTNBA and ETNBA’s affiliation was withheld.