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DIMAPUR, September 24, 2018: Rich tributes were paid to late Imtikumzuk on Sunday, whose body arrived in Dimapur from New Delhi, where he passed away on Saturday following a sudden cardiac arrest.
Late Imtikumzuk leaves behind his wife Imkongzenla, four daughters and one son.
On arrival at Dimapur airport, chief minister Neiphiu Rio including several cabinet ministers, NDPP and PDA alliance party workers, NPF legislators and mourners received the coffin containing the dead body of late Imtikumzuk where a brief prayer service was held.
Speaking at the service, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio recalled his personal association with late Imtikumzuk whom he described as a friend, colleague and a gentleman of few words who always meant what he said.
Rio recalled the event heralding traditional friendship between his native village Tuophema and late Imtikuizumk's native Ungma villages and also his association with late Imtikumzuk at the political level. Rio said late Imtikumzuk fell ill after being elected to the assembly in February 2018. Rio said he had met late Imtikumzuk with the latter's wife and sister in New Delhi recently where he was undergoing treatment.
Rio mentioned that he was touched by the kind words of Ungma villagers who had told him that they had faith in his leadership when he visited Ungma village this year during the Lok Sabha by-poll campaign.
NDPP president Chingwang Konyak in his speech, paid glowing tributes to late Imtikumzuk, while also recalling his association with the departed soul since the 1990s, as NPCC president when late Imtikumzuk was president of youth Congress of Aonglenden A/C.
Chingwang attributed late Imtikumzuk's rise in politics to his active involvement from the grass root.
He described the two-time MLA as "upright and promising" but his untimely demise has caused a huge loss. Chingwang conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the late leader's wife and children.
Also speaking on the occasion, minister Higher & Technical Education and State BJP president Temjen Imna Along thanked Imtikumzuk's family for allowing him to be a part of the final journey.
Temjen Imna Along had visited the hospital where late Imtikumzuk was admitted and had also provided financial assistance for bringing the body to Nagaland from Delhi.
Imna Along also expressed condolences to the family on behalf of BJP party and the legislature led by deputy chief minister Y Patton. He said Patton expressed regrets for not being able to be present at the funeral service owing to prior commitment. Along also thanked leader of opposition TR Zeliang and his family members and all MLAs from NPF who came forward to express their solidarity and help in New Delhi and Dimapur.
In another condolence message, Ao Senso Telongjem Dimapur (ASTD) expressed condolences to the bereaved family and also thanked Ungma Senso Telongjem Dimapur for giving time to ASTD to show honour and respect to the departed leader. ASTD said the demise of Imtikumzuk was a great loss for the Ao community and Nagas in general and conveyed deepest sympathies to the bereaved family.
Speaking on behalf of the Ungma Senso Telongjem Dimapur, Ungma Village Council and Ungma Baptist Church, Supulepden Jamir conveyed gratitude and happiness to all who came forward to help and to express solidarity with the bereaved family and kith and kin. Later Supu led the gathering in observing two-minute of silence in memory of the departed soul.
Imkongzenla, wife of late Imtikumzuik who spoke towards the conclusion, expressed heartfelt gratitude to all well-wishers and all those who came forward to help.
She also thanked God for giving them divine strength to overcome their grief. She also thanked Imna Along, PRO to chief minister Rusemtong Longkumer, Nagaland House officials and students in Delhi for their untiring efforts to ensure early transportation of the mortal remains back to Nagaland.
Also speaking at the service, Imtikumzuk's daughter added that it would not have been so easy to bring back her father's mortal remains without the help of all those who had came forward in their time of tragedy. She described her father as the most wonderful and humble person she ever knew. "He lives on in our hearts. The only thing that keeps us going is the fact that one day we will be together again," she added.
The service was chaired by Dimapur Ao Baptist Arogo pastor Imnatoshi Longkumer, who said late Imtikumzuk would be sorely missed by all. However, the pastor said despite the immense sorrow, it was the super-natural joy that came was from knowing the reality of Jesus and the reality of God's love that the joy of eternal peace and reunion overcame all these.
The service ended with a mass prayer after which the body was taken to Kohima to be kept at late Imtikumzuk's official residence before being taken to Ungma.
In Kohima, a brief send off service will be held on Monday at late Imtikumzuk's residence at 8 a.m., after which the body will be taken to his native village, Ungma for burial.
According to officials, a state funeral service will be held at Ungma village on Tuesday at 10 a.m. State chief minister Neiphiu Rio, cabinet members and other state dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral.