Konsakhul Area Joint Action Committee (KAJAC) has expressed its “shock to learn that recently some villagers of Senjam Chirang and Senjam Khunou issued a press release in local newspapers claiming over the National Sports University (NSU) site by referring darbar paper”. However, KAJAC said that “the fact of the matter is that the proposed NSU project site belongs to Konsakhul village since time immemorial”.
According to KAJAC, there are several legal documents in support of “our claims”. One is, according to KAJAC, “in the court of PMSD hill misc case no.388 of 1920-21 signed by C Gimson ICS, President, Manipur State darbar dated 06/12/1920. Another one is in the report of Chakravarty, LRO dated 24/01/1922, according to KAJAC. It is also in the court of Hill Minister misc case no.94 of 1947-48 signed by Major Bob khathing, BA, MBE, M-C Minister i/c hill administration dated 02/07/1948. Another document is also in the court of SDC Sadar + Thoubal hills criminal case no.131/S + Th hills 1952, signed by Maisnam Nabakumar Singh sadar dated 08/11/1950, according to KAJAC. It is also in the court of the chief Commissioner, Manipur CC hill cril appeal case no.5 of 1953 signed by RP Bhargava, chief Commissioner, Manipur dated 07/08/1953, KAJAC said.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, KAJAC said that the same darbar which often referred to by the aforesaid villagers had also clearly stated in its order under first para misc case No.434 of 1927-28 signed by SJ Duncan in the court of the President, Manipur State darbar. Quote – ” the contention of plaintiff in the present case is that the defendant was allowed to cut thatching grass only in the area between the Chirang Lok and Pakhra Lok”.
According to KAJAC, SJ Duncan judgement in the last paragraph stated that the defendants were allowed to cut grass taking into consideration that there is no other thatching reserve except the area in question. “Had the plaintiff actually sold the land for Rs 13, SJ Duncan would have said it differently. Hence, any person having basic knowledge of English can understand the above mentioned order that the sentence ‘defendant was allowed to cut thatching grass only’ can not be construed as transfer of title/ownership or sold off,” it added.
According to KAJAC, the argument put forth by the aforementioned villagers is that though the traditional rightful owner of the said land is Konsakhul village, they had bought from one PenaKhongba by Rs.13. “Their claims over the NSU site itself has already proved that the said land falls under hill and belongs to Konsakhul village,” KAJAC further said, adding, “It is also proved that the villagers are enjoying the product of the forest land without any interference from any quarter as the title is perfected”.
KAJAC then said that the land and forest in the hill areas are absolutely within the purview of Hill Area Committee which was constituted under Article 371(C) of the constitution of India and it’s subsequent order dated June 20, 1972 issued by the then President V.V. Giri. And by virtue of Rule 19 of the Manipur Forest Rules, 1971, the rights and privileges of the Hill people remains protected. Further, KAJAC also said that under Article 371(C) of the constitution, the Centre Government as well as State has nothing to do with the land and forest of Konsakhul tribal village. “Because the right of the Konsakhul tribal village is protected by Section 16(1)(a) of the Manipur (Village Authorities in Hill Areas) Act, 1956,” it aded.
KAJAC press statement then said that the claims of the villagers of Senjam Chirang and Senjam Khunou over the NSU site is baseless and unfounded. “Therefore, in order to ensure peace and harmony in the region such bogus claims should not be made in public domain,” it added.