IMPHAL, April 22: Tension along the Manipur–Nagaland border subsided with Chingai MLA MK Preshow meeting people from both sides on Saturday.
The local MLA today made a survey tour of the Akash Bridge and the disputed area along with the DC in charge and SP of Ukhrul district.
He later said in a public meeting that a lasting solution to the issue will be brought during a string of meetings between authorities of the two states at different levels. The meetings in all likelihood could be held in May, he added.
The local MLA was accompanied by IGP (LO-III) Asutoshkumar Sinha, Ukhrul SP K Kabib, Ukhrul DC in charge T John, Commandant 6th Manipur Rifles, Jessami Village Council chairman Eyete Wezah, other local leaders and media persons during his visit to the disputed area.
Speaking to media persons at the end of the tour, the MLA elaborated that his arrival with a huge contingent of armed security forces in Jessami yesterday secured the villagers who were terrified by the recent disruptions following incursions from the Nagaland side.
He further elaborated that CrPC 144 has been imposed around the disputed area which has been already intimated to both sides of the border. Meluri villagers have also been intimated that anyone found on the Akash bridge with weapons will also be arrested and punished under the law.
Meanwhile, Jessami Village Council chairman Eyete Wezah while acknowledging the presence of ancestral lands of the two villages on both sides of the border told media persons that even though the Akash bridge acts as the official border of the two states, the then DC Naga Hills Dr JS Hughton in 1924 had erected a stone on the side of Manipur at Tebuno Melu (hill) acknowledging it as a conventional border for the two villages.
Since then the two villages have acknowledged the stone as the border in a peaceful manner until recently when the Jessami villagers decided to cultivate a piece of land on their side of the stone, he added.
The Meluri villagers were angered without any instigation from the side of the Jesami villagers, when the Jessami villagers cultivated the land with maize, he added.
Meluri villagers destroyed the cultivation leading to the recent tension, he added.
Citing that Meluri villagers have been taking undue advantage of the absence of armed security forces in the area, the village council chairman appealed to the government for establishment of a MR post in the area.
He also appealed the government for a proper hospital at the area, improvement of roads and transportation.
He added that there is no public transportation connecting Jessami directly to Imphal, which is about 200 kms only.
The MLA further attended a public at the Jessami Village ground after the survey tour.
He made his observation during the meeting that even though an SDPO office at Jessami had already been upgraded, due to inadequate personnel, the SDPO himself has been operating his office from Ukhrul headquarter. The problem of inadequate security in the area can be easily solved by increasing the personnel at the said post, he added.
He further observed that the state government should consider the issue at hand seriously as it could snowball into something really big if it is not checked in time.
However, he added, both the Chief Minister and Home Minister have always responded positively whenever he has urged them on the issue, though due to the present ministry expansion issue, the two state heads couldn’t personally interact with the people at the time.
The CM has himself assured to take up the issue with his Nagaland counterpart at the earliest to bring a lasting solution to the issue, he told the public meeting.
The MLA further convened a separate meeting with the IGP-LO, CO 6th MR and Ukhrul SP on the issue of security for the area.
The MLA also donated a sum of Rs 50,000 to the village council.
Yesterday’s meeting during which the issue was brought to an understanding was held at the BSF camp, Lanye.
It was attended by Deputy Commissioners of Ukhrul district in Manipur and Phek district in Nagaland, SP Ukhrul, Commandant 6th MR, Addl SP Phek, ADC (HQ), ADC Meluri, SDO (C) Phek (HQ) EAC (Pki), SDPO, SDC Jessami, Company Commander ‘A’ coy BSF Lanye, PPF and Tangkhul Naga Long.
The meeting had decided that there will be no movements of Meluri village guards with arms, no frisking or harassment of passengers bound for Meluri Jessami villagers and that the two Hoho’s i.e Pochuery Public Forum and the Tangkhul Naga Long to have a consultative meet and visit the spot on May 3.