Kohima, Oct 8 (UNI) The Southern Angami Public Organization (SAPO) today asserted its ownership over the occupation of the picturesque Dzukou valley in Kohima district and refuted Manipur's claims that 70 per cent of the valley belonged to it.
In a statement here SAPO president Phelukhwe Kirha and general secretary Ketsodil Neikha rubbished the claims of Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who had made the claim in the Assembly recently.
''The Southern Angamis are the only owners of the Dzukou valley and the people had exercised their authority as the only owner over the valley for protection of the land and its resources prior to the Britishers' arrival. They have been in possession of the valley and its surroundings since time immemorial,'' the statement said.
The SAPO leaders also asserted that no government had ''any authority or rights'' to execute any document or draw boundaries for their ''own convenience'' without the consent of the owner of the land.
UNI AS PL/src1127