Manipur: Border villagers stage protest against Assam Rifles over infringing their land

Imphal: A sit-in-protest was held across nine villages located along the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur’s Ukhrul and Kamjong district against the Assam Rifles for forcefully setting up camps in their villages on Monday.

The protest which was organised by Tangkhul apex bodies such as Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long (TNWL), Tangkhul Shanao Long (TSL), Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) and four other apex bodies were held at Kangpat Khullen, Chatric, Ramphoi, Lamlang, New Tusom, Khamasom, Mapum, Kasom Khullen and Poi, respectively.

According to president TNWL SA Ramnganing, on the pretext of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, the government has deployed security forces, including Assam Rifles, in many villages in the hills, including the border villages.

The draconian Act and the presence of the security forces in the hills has given ‘fear psychosis’ among the locals, especially the womenfolks, claimed Ramnganing.

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“When the Naga political talks has been going on at the highest level with the Prime Minister of India, then why does the Indian government lifted the AFSPA only from the Imphal valley, and not repeal from the entire state,” questioned Ramnganing.

Ramnganing further stated as per the customary law, the land holding system in the Naga-inhabited area in Manipur is very intricate and different from the rest of India.

However, he alleged that Assam Rifles encroached the traditional spaces and did not seek any permission from the village authority/headman/land owner while setting up camps.

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In regards to this issue, Ramnganing said that the Tangkhul apex bodies have submitted memorandum to chief minister N Biren Singh and Union defence minister Rajnath Singh during his recent visit to Manipur. However, so far we have not received any response from them, he added.

To further press the issue, a mega peace rally has been proposed on September 15 in Ukhrul district headquarters.

We are also planning to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi after the mega peace rally, informed Ramnganing.

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