Kangpokpi: A joint mass peace rally organized by Kuki Students Organisation-GHQ along with tribal civil organizations and forums in some parts of Manipur on March 10 turned ugly in Kangpokpi district as protesters and police confronted violently at the proposed peace rally.
The organizers of the peace rally, according to news report had appealed people participating in the rally not to indulge in an “untoward incidents.”
”We appeal to the general public of Kangpokpi District to be united and exercise their fundamental right to peaceful assembly and protest without any apprehension. God be with us,” KSO statement added.
According to information available, the mass peace rally is spearheaded by Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), joined by Kuki Inpi Manipur, Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, Hmar Inpui, Gangte Tribe Union (HQ), Simte Tribe Council, Komrem Students’ Union, United Zou Organisation, Paite Tribe Council among others.
The ITLF alleged that the government carried out forceful eviction of traditional land ownership under chieftainship without due process, are wrongly declared as Reserved Forest, Protected areas and wetlands in the state.
The KSO-GHQ on March 9 in a notification had appealed the public of Kangpokpi District that KSO-SH will carry out the proposed peaceful rally at any cost, calling out the notification of Deputy Commissioner to enforce Crpc 144 as “ill motive.” The Kuki civil body had stated in its official statement that any misuse of power under Crpc 144 notification by the State government will be duly addressed in a court of Law, adding that no one is above the law.
However, a day before the proposed mass rally on March 10, Crpc 144 was clamped with “immediate effect” by the District Magistrates of Tengnoupal Ranjan Yumnam, IAS and Churachandpur Sharath Chandra Arroju, IAS and Kangpokpi respectively.
In a viral video of police and civilian confrontation on Friday, a police personnel is seen hitting an unarmed women with a stick in Kangpokpi.
It is worth noting that the Joint Coordination Committee on Tribal Rights, Manipur (JCCOTR-M) in January 23, said it took the recent eviction drive by the State government in the hill areas particularly at kangchup Chiru in Kangchup Geljang sub-division and K. Songjang village in Henglep sub-division “where hundreds of villagers were made homeless shows its rough treatment, violence and devoid of any care for humanitarian values”. The JCCOTR-M said this “inhumane act” of the State Government is condemned in the strongest term.
The JCCOTR-M had said that the tribals in the hills were traditionally forest dwellers and their livelihood depends on the forests and its produce. “The tribal communities have lived in these forest lands for years and at the same time nurture the environment through the tribal traditional methods of conservation by using the forests judiciously,” it added.
Reacting to media reports on forceful evictions in the state, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh had sharply responded at the ongoing budget session of the 3rd session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.
Taking to Twitter, N Biren wrote, “Please stop interpreting our actions into communal lines through the media. Our efforts are solely directed towards protecting the indigenous people who have been unitedly living together in the state.”