Liangmai Naga Council, Eastern Zone (LNC-EZ) and Eastern Liangmai Chief Chairmen Association (ELCCA) said on Friday that they were deeply disturbed by the “thoughtless act” of the Manipur government regarding the measures the latter took on Mount Koubru issue. The two Liangmai bodies further said that the state government has been deliberately ignoring the rights of the “Liangmai Naga people” who have been guarding and protecting the Koubru Hills for centuries.
Chronicling the recent events, LNC-EZ and ELCCA mentioned in its press statement that a committee called Committee on Protection and Preservation of Mt Koubru (COPPK) was invited for a meeting on April 20, 2021 with the representatives only from a particular community in the presence of Letpao Haokip, Minister of YAS & WR and Awangbow Newmai, Minister of Forest, Environment & Climate Change by “sidelining the primary stakeholders and the indigenous people residing on Koubru Range since time immemorial”.
The two Liangmai bodies also recalled that a consultative meeting was convened on April 16, 2021 in Imphal in the presence of the Chief Minister of Manipur and the Minister of Forest, Environment and Climate Change in connection with the koubru issue. “In the said meeting, the Chief Minister in-principle acknowledged the indigenous Liangmai Naga community as the rightful owner of the koubru Hill range. However, the Chief Minister failed to keep his promise and without the knowledge and consent of the primary stakeholders the state government had gone ahead to acknowledge a particular community who has no iota of right to claim the ownership since Mt Koubru belongs to the indigenous people of Manipur”, said the Liangmai bodies.
The two Liangmai organizations then said that the state government seems to be playing with fire and “trying to flare up communal situations in the region with a short sighted and piecemeal approach by appeasing a particular community at the expense of the primary stakeholders”. The Liangmai bodies said that this intention of the state government over the Koubru issue is questionable.
LNC-EZ and ELCCA then said that “Liangmai Naga people” were the first settlers of the Koubru Range. “According to historical chronology, the Liangmai Naga people’s settlement on the Koubru Range after the Exodus of Makuilongdi Charanam ( Senapati district),” the statement further said. The ancient Liangmai Naga villages which surround the koubru Hills a 1000 years, it also said. According to the statement, all the indigenous Liangmai Naga villages are still intact with clear and distinct boundaries with one another. It further said that there are still many monumental evidences to prove the settlement of “our forefathers” on the Koubru Range. According to the statement, these ancient Liangmai villages are the descendants of Nguiba, the elder brother of Making who migrated from Makhel. “The younger brother Making moved towards the south to settle in the foothills of the Koubru Hills which is the abode of Lord Koubo ( Liangmai ). The descendants of Making are known as Makimai by the Liangmais who are also known as the Meiteis,” the two Liangmai bodies added.
According to the olden narratives told by “our forefathers, Making, our great grandfather, was a man of wisdom who was trusted by his elder brother Nguiba,” stated LNC-EZ and ELCCA. It was told that Making who used to helped his brother Nguiba in deciding the rightful heir to inherit the throne of Makuilongdi between his two sons, further said the statement of the two Liangmai organisations. Over the period of time, Making became a worshipper of Lord Koubo or Koubru. As Making acquired supernatural power which enabled him to foresee and predict the future for his brother and his people, the statement added.
“It may be noted that only in 1968, the virgin forest of Koubru Hills was declared as Kanglatongbi and Kangpokpi (KK) Reserve Forest by the Forest department of Manipur to conserve and protect the rich biodiversity of the Koubru Hills without the knowledge and consent of the indigenous Liangmai villages,” LNC-EZ and ELCCA reminded. They further said that the purpose of declaring the KK Reserved Forest was totally defeated as the Forest department completely failed to protect and preserve the rich forest and also to evict the encroachers on the Koubru Hills.
The Liangmai Naga Council, Eastern Zone and Eastern Liangmai Chief Chairmen Association then said they are deeply disturbed by the “thoughtless act” of the government of Manipur which “deliberately ignored the rights of the Liangmai people who have been guarding and protecting the Koubru Hills for centuries”. “Therefore, the LNC, Eastern Zone and Eastern Liangmai Chief chairmen Association condemned such politically immature behaviour of the state government and its total disregard and insult to time honoured history of our forefathers in the land of Manipur,” the statement further said. It added that such “blatant ignorant and indifferent attitude” towards the indigenous people of Manipur (Liangmai Naga) is highly regrettable and condemnable.
The statement also said that the act of the state government is “thoughtless” as it ignored the rich heritage and legends of the Liangmai Naga which shares a glorious history with other indigenous communities particularly with the Meiteis. “Such insensitive nature on the part of the state government is not in the interest of all and there is a potential to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the region,” the Liangmai bodies cautioned.