KANGPOKPI: As announced by the civil society organizations of Kangpokpi district, the total bandh over L. Tangnaum village (Haraothel) in connection with National Sports University began Monday afternoon at 1:00 along the National Highway-2 and National Highway-37 in Kangpokpi district.
While confronting police personnel from entering L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village, twelve individuals mostly women were reportedly injured when police allegedly blank fire several rounds of bullets and teargas shell to disperse the mob.
The injured persons are identified as Neishi, Kimma and Henei Chongloi of Leimakhong, Ngahhoikim of L. Munlai, Kamneimang Chongloi of L. Phaikot, Gegen Vaiphei and Veitineng Vaiphei of Kharam Vaiphei, Kamgen Vaiphei of Leilon Vaiphei, Chongkim Vaiphei of L. Tangnaum (Haraothel), Joujam Vaiphei and Lhingpha of L. Phaijang village and Lhingneineng Kipgen of K. Patbung.
Led by TSA Sadar Hills, the agitating mob also shouted slogan against the alleged illegitimate demarcation, highhandedness of the Imphal West District Police personnel and the hemogenic act of the Biren Singh led-BJP Government over the disputed NSU site at L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village under Kangpokpi district.
Lianboi Vaiphei, General Secretary of Zillai, the apex student body of Vaiphei student’s organization said that a sensitive situation and a crisis has occurred at L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village owing to the illegitimate demarcation work carried out solely by Imphal West district administration which is very unhealthy to the opinion of the hill people especially for L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) under Kangpokpi District.
He continued that at such juncture they want a negotiation in a very peaceful manner but the Government is paying no heed rather it let the security personnel torture them and that they are suffering a lot especially the young innocent women and children.
We are a peace loving community and we don’t want any illegal confiscation of our rightful property, Vaiphei said adding that the Imphal West security personnel tortured and treated them like wild animal with the instruction from the higher authorities which they cannot tolerate as such barbaric act is never expected from the law enforcing agency in this century.
“Land is our right. We will fight and stand tooth and nail for our land. Nobody can continue confiscating our rightful land in the National Sports University site. We will now fight back whatsoever it takes”, he asserted and added that since Congress rule till the present BJP era, the Government has always been taking one-sided decision over the disputed NSU site.
Vehicular movement was completely restricted at Gamgiphai, Kangpokpi DHQs and Taphou Kuki while all business establishments in the district were closed. Many vehicles were seen stopped at Gamgiphai by the bandh volunteers. The total bandh was also strongly enforced along NH-37 under the aegis of Kuki Inpi and KSO Moltam Lhang.
Meanwhile, hundreds of men and women thronged DC Kangpokpi office to meet with the District Administrator to highlight their grievances owing to the alleged hemogenic act of the Biren Singh led-BJP Government over the disputed NSU site at L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village under Kangpokpi district.
In the lengthy discussion of almost two hours in front of the DC office, Kangpokpi, Somorjit Salam, IAS said that L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village is legitimately under Kangpokpi District Administration and assured the people that he will bring to the knowledge of Chief Minister and the state Chief Secretary about the current crisis at L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village along with the people’s demands.
The demands includes immediate withdrawal of Imphal West District Police from L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) in Kangpokpi district, to declare the current illegitimate demarcation as null and void, to constitute a proper legitimate demarcation committee, publicize the findings of the state Government’s District Boundary Commission first before conducting demarcation at NSU site.
Meanwhile, Sadar Hills Chiefs’ Association (SAHILCA) and KSO General Headquarters also condemned the alleged illegitimate demarcation and endorse the total bandh called by the CSOs of Kangpokpi over the disputed NSU at L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village.
Taking serious note of the alleged violence perpetrated by state forces today at L. Tangnaum village (Haraothel), KSO-GHQ strongly condemned the unlawful act of violence while stating that despite several appeals for peaceful settlement of the land demarcation issue, the abrupt deployment of the state security forces with anti-riot equipment at the disputed site and the use of teargas, lathi charge and firing bullets against the peaceful villagers are seen as a stern manifestation of the state’s cold-hearted treatment of the tribal interest.
It said that the tribal people have been pressing for a peaceful settlement of the issue by involving all stake holders. It is important for the state government to delineate steps to successfully solve the land dispute. These steps should include proper delimitation committee, compensation, allocation of lands, the naming of the varsity by involving the tribal people which should have been long resolved even before the construction begins. However, the sinister act of the state government to hastily go ahead with the construction of the university when the case is still pending at different levels such as the High Court and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is nothing but a malicious attempt to grab tribal land forcefully.
Redresses have sought many times in the form of peaceful protests, press releases, and memorandums but to no avail. Rather the state government prudently chooses to ignore the cries of tribal people for justice and equal rights over their land. We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a citizen of the state. It cannot be met by mere police repressive actions, it added.
Reiterating that land is our identity and any forceful attempt to grab them will be resisted tooth and nail, the student body urges the state government to denounce violence and find a possible peaceful solution at the earliest and appeal to withdraw security forces deployed at the disputed site immediately while cautioning that if tension at L. Tangnaum village (Haraothel) gets worsen in the coming days, the state government shall be held responsible.
Meanwhile, the International Human Rights Association, Manipur called for immediate resolve on land dispute at L. Tangnaum (Haraothel) village in connection with the prestigious National Sports University.
Mark Thangmang Haokip, President, IHRA (Manipur) said that it has come to the notice of the IHRA, India, that the Manipur government has ordered demarcation of land allotted for establishment of National Sports University, Manipur.
He also said that it is also learnt that the allotted land is a disputed land with different claims and it find the government’s order immoderately alarming. Further, it is regrettably immature that the government would take such critical resolutions without prior consent of the stakeholders concerned, which is besides an extensively sensitive issue that could spark communal violence and unrest in the state.
Therefore, the International Human Rights Association, with a strict suspicion that this may come to disrupt social cohesion and peace and harmony, is compelled to advise and warn the state government and concerned departments to judiciously overview the prevailing situation and call off the demarcation order until the government reaches an understanding or an agreement with the stakeholders concerned, he added.
He further said that the International Human Rights Association, India, is an organization incorporated under the legislation of India and co-operated by the United Nations and International Bar Associations. It resolutely aims to defend and promote Human Rights, and therefore any violations or in appropriations of Human Rights will not be tolerated and will be strictly dealt with in a court of Justice.
Tension erupts between two communities over NSU site
Tension erupted between two communities in a very unfortunate turn of events on the issue of land demarcation of the National Sports University at the area which falls on the border of Kangpokpi and Imphal west districts.
According to the local source, the site for the said University was one of contention between the L. Tangnuam (Haraothel Village, Kangpokpi District) and Koutruk Village (Imphal West District). Despite the claims made by Koutruk villagers, the land belongs to the tribal people and falls under Kangpokpi district.
Amidst the contesting claims, the issue has been pending in the High Court of Manipur and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. On several occasions, while the tribal villagers had appealed to the state government for the settlement of the dispute by involving all the stakeholders but not to avail, sources added.
Moreover, the villagers said that in against this backdrop, the sudden deployment of security forces by Superintendent of Police, Imphal West District, (Vide: Office of the Order No. 50/1/C-4/RO/2020, dated 2nd October, 2020) for forceful demarcation of the NSU site clearly shows the high-handedness of the state government and is uncalled for.
It is said that the villagers and the security forces (Manipur Police) clashed at the site where the security forces fired teargas, bullets towards the protestors and lathi charged including 3 men and 9 women were severely injured.
The source continued to mention that the injuries were caused by the firing of tear gas shells while the locals retaliated with stones, in which the villagers viewed the process of land demarcation as illegal.
The incident occurred just ahead of the commencement of total bandh called off by some Kuki civil organization of Kangpokpi from 1pm of October 5th till October 10 midnight.
It was hapless to learn that force and terror is used to stop the protestors while the forceful demarcation of the disputed site was contrary to the general obligation of the state government not to regress in the level of their protections of human rights, including the tribal people.
Further, the organization has insisted the state government to solve the issue not by using force but rather by inviting all the stakeholders before the forceful demarcation is completed, source added.
Another reports stated that violence erupted among villagers and state forces upon final boundary demarcation process for the construction of National Sports University at Senjam Khunou Village No. 40 Sheet no. 4 which was conducted under DC Imphal West.
The villagers strongly protested against the authority of Imphal West DC for carrying out the order, which they claimed to have done the process of demarcation under Sadar Hills District, Kangpokpi DC.
It was reported that the state forces used tear gases and smoke bomb in order to take control of the violent situation between the villagers and state government authorities, and thereby successfully installed five pillars.
The demarcation process started a few days ago and is under process, and thereby Imphal West DC Naorem along with Settlement Department officials and numbers state forces under SP K. Meghachandra went for the inspection. The convoy that was driven to reach the location was firstly attacked by few persons reportedly from P.Moulding Nepali,P.Moulding,Govin Basti, NC Phai, Leimakhong Bazar, Ch Ebenezer, Mission Veng, Saleem Veng, Vengnom, Hengjang, T.Kho Vaiphei, Champhai, Phaikot, Leilon Vaiphei, Khunou, Haraothel, Khunkho Kuki, Khunkho Naga, Munlai, Konsaram, L.Songtun, L.Phaijang and villagers of Awlmun who started attacking by pelting stones.
The police forces defended themselves by firing smoke bomb and tear gas and continue their authoritative demarcation process until completion of installing the pillars.
The attack by the villagers consequently resulted in injuring one DSP and constable.
DC Imphal West mentioned that the demarcation process was conducted accordingly to the instructions received from the Prime Minister office.
On the other hand, at around 9:00 pm some unknown miscreants threw stones attacking Kounu Lairembi Temple of Leimakhong Chingmang. And after which CrPC 144 was enforced.
The Meira paibi members of Kanto Shabal and Leimakhong Chingmang held a protest against the attack on the temple by blocking roads, and after which Sekmai AC MLA came to the spot and tried to settle the people and stop them from carrying out agitation of blocking roads.