Senapati: Residents of Makhan on Wednesday denounced the ‘attack’ on their village in Manipur’s Senapati district on Tuesday night as barbaric and inhuman and urged the state government to take up necessary action against the culprits involved within 72 hours from the time of the incident.
According to a press statement, the Makhan Union informed that on Tuesday, around 4.30 am, suspected miscreants of Maram Khullen Circle Union armed with guns and automatic rifles attacked the villagers of Makhan residing along National Highway-2 between Makhan Khuman and New Makhan.
As claimed by the locals, over 100 miscreants started firing indiscriminately and threw petrol bombs on their houses, which completely burnt down 18 houses, including grocery items that were kept for sale, household furniture and livestock worth lakhs of rupees. Altogether, 25 families residing in the area were affected.
However, statements made by the residents revealed that they were locked from outside and kerosene was poured with the intention of burning them alive. The villagers were also disappointed and skeptical about the cold reaction from Assam Rifles troops stationed few kilometres from the site.
Soon after the incident, Manipur tribal affairs and hills minister N Kayisii rushed to the site, which also happens to be his constituency, and met the affected families of the village.
Provoked by the incident, people residing along NH-2 blocked all vehicular movement on the Imphal-Dimapur road, which is one of the lifelines of state, unless the authority booked the culprits within a day. However, the protest was later lifted after minister Kayisii assured to look into the case and deliver justice within 72 hours.
On the other hand, the Northern Maram People’s Organisation, erstwhile Maram Khullen Circle Board, opined that the dismantling and arson incident was resorted in a way “to defend and protect their ancestral land and to thwart those attempts by certain elements to misplace their rights and lands”.
Meanwhile, the locals of Maram denied using automatic weapons, including AK-47s, while attempting “to protect their lands”.
According to an official release, “the irrational mindset of some sections of Makhan people tried to grab the Maram ancestral land with distorted versions of their self-styled views and their misadventures have been provoking the Maram people on different occasions”.
Defending their course of action, the Northern Maram People’s Organisation informed that with their approach of rationality and reasoning, their patience and silence were taken for granted on various occasions.
On March 13, 2013, as per their statement, some miscreants belonging to Makhan had attacked the newly established Naojai village but much to their patience, they restrained from any retaliation.
Later, on June 23, 2014, around 100 persons belonging to Makhan, dressed in camouflage and with sophisticated weapons, re-attacked Naojai village. The attack resulted in two persons getting injured and 10 houses damaged, including a church building. The highly vitiated incident also deeply hurt sentiments of the locals, thereby violating the prohibitory order of NPO – March 27, 2013, the statement said.
Following the 2013 incident, the Naga People’s Organisation (NPO), an apex Naga body in Senapati, issued a prohibitory order and urged both the parties to restrain from any physical engagement at the disputed land area.