Imphal: Residents of the nine villages located along the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur’s Ukhrul and Kamjong districts staged a sit-in protest on Monday, September 12 against the Assam Rifles for forcefully setting up camps in their villages.
Locals of Kangpat Khullen, Chatric, Ramphoi, Lamlang, New Tusom, Khamasom, Mapum, Kasom Khullen and Poi staged the protest in their respective villages pronouncing against the Assam Rifles for occupying their land while setting up camps without taking prior permission.
The protest 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.
Speaking to EastMojo over the phone, president Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long (TNWL), an apex body of Tangkhul headmen’s association, SA Ramnganing alleged that 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. He claimed that the Act and the presence of the security forces have created a ‘fear psychosis’ among the locals, especially the women.
“When the Naga political talks have been going on at the highest level with the Prime Minister of India, then why does the Indian government lift the AFSPA only from the Imphal valley, not repeal from the entire state?” questioned Ramnganing.
Ramnganing further stated that the ownership of land situated in the hill villages of Manipur vests with the locals. Likewise, according to our 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 on the traditional spaces and did not seek any permission from the village authority/headman/land owner while setting up camps.
In regards to this issue, Ramnganing said that the Tangkhul apex bodies have submitted memorandums 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 said.
To further press the issue, a mega peace rally has been proposed on September 15 in the 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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