Clarification on Moreh Border Town; Response to Concocted Claims & Confusion: HTC

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Tengnoupal: The Hill Tribal Council issued a statement clarifying claims and confusion surrounding Moreh border town through various concocted and misleading narratives and expressing the resolute stand of the people.

According to the statement, “As always, Moreh (originally called Mollenphai or Mollen) is within the hilly area of the post independent Indian state called Manipur. Being the indigenous first settler and owner of the land, it was through the consent and acknowledgement of the then chief of Sibong-Sutpong village that the border town, now called Moreh was established and inhabited and has been under chieftainship long before the partition of Burma from British India.”

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Furthermore, with the passage of time after India’s independence and following the Burmese Government programme to drive out foreigners from Burma, people of Indian origin such as Punjabis, Tamils, Biharis, Bengalese and others came to take shelter in Moreh, which was then a thinly populated village on the Indian side. Our compassionate forefathers, the original settlers were too happy to accommodate people in distress and wished to co-exist as a gesture of love and understanding. Since then and today, we see a cosmopolitan population in this border town of Moreh. The history of a place or people cannot be manipulated to suit one’s whims and fancies.

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“Article 371C of the constitution of India provides special provisions to safeguard the hill areas of Manipur. As per that, Autonomous District Councils under Hill area administration have been functioning in the hill districts of Manipur and to this date there are three elected Members of District Council in Moreh alone,” it also stated.

Additionally, the claim and proposal made to the Honourable Prime Minister by a parliamentarian representing Inner Manipur reflects either his ignorance about his own state or, it could well be an outburst of wistful thought. Moreh is a civilian inhabited border hill town. So the idea of establishment of a cantonment is absurd. Except for the war-monger Meitei who have deserted, all Indian communities co-exist peacefully in this cosmopolitan border town.

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Elaborating on the matter, it further states that, trade and business which have been crippled following the ethnic clash since May 3 can be revived once the Meira Paibis backed by radical Meitei elements who have been blockading and creating havoc on the highways are dealt with effectively as per law. As much as we want development in Moreh, we want and urge the Government of India to act swiftly and bring political settlement to the present political impasse in Manipur.

The statement maintains that, as there no longer is the possibility for resettlement of the Kuki-Zo in Imphal valley having been slaughtered and properties looted and destroyed, the only solution to the problem now lies in the union Government to arrange and grant self determination to the Kuki-Zo admissible under available provisions of the constitution of India.

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In order to prevent escalation of the prevailing tense situation and to avoid creating further misunderstandings among conflicting communities in Manipur, the state Government must refrain from trying to implement plans and policies in the name of development in Moreh and the hill areas as a whole until a political settlement is in place, it added.

Press Release of Hill Tribal Council dated December 29, 2023

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