Heated scuffle at Nongmeipal turns ugly; 8 villagers detained

Kangpokpi: A scuffled over a tree plantation at Thangting area in Churachandpur resurfaced today at Kangpokpi’s Nongmaipal village under the Island block. The tree plantation drive was reportedly organized by the Central Forest Division, Forest Department, and Government of Manipur under a people’s participatory initiative plantation drive which kicked off today to culminate on June 15 at Nongmaiching Reserve Forest and Khamenlok Gwaltabi Reserve Forest.

Owing to several such incident, the Kuki Student Organisation (KSO) in a release during May 2022 had said it was “perturbed about the frequent attempt to create a chaotic, irrational and unsolicited activities in and around Loikhai (Thangting Areas) by the valley based individuals and groups”.

Today’s heated scuffle, according to a news report in The Hills Journal (THJ) reportedly occurred after a stand-off went out of control between a large number of people along with the forest department officials and the police who went for a tree plantation drive at Nongmaiching Reserve Forest with the local populace of Langmaiching area.

In connection with the incident, eight persons including three women and an aged village chief of Nongmaipal village, Jangkhosat Haokip (80) were reportedly detained by the police for a statement at Lamlai Police Station, THJ reported.

According to Nongmaipal’s villagers, hundreds of people along with forest officials and the police arrived at the village at around 8:00 am for the plantation drive and the local populace confronted them as they were not informed and consulted about the plantation drive. “We told the DFO and those coming for the plantation drive clearly that we are not against the plantation drive but we are against planting saplings without the knowledge and consent of the village chiefs while conveying our willingness to carry out the drive jointly with the participation of the local populace after due consultation with the village chiefs of the area, one of the villagers said,” THJ reported.

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The stand-off reportedly occurred when a banner inscribed with “Reserve Forest” was hung at the plantation site by the plantation team, causing minor injuries on both sides during the scuffle.

THJ also reported that the plantation drive was carried out reportedly after the huge plantation drive goers outnumbered the local populace on Pentecost day for the villagers, an important Christian day.

“On Pentecost day, as we believe, the Holy Spirit of God descended on us to indwell with blessing but, unfortunately, today the sinister spirit of the Government descended on us with adversity and tribulation”, the irked villager added, reported THJ.

An appealed to the state government has been forwarded to release the detained villagers, including the aged village chief of Nongmaipal village without any condition to strengthen the faith of the people, THJ reported.

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