72 hours bandhs called by different tribal organisations

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IMPHAL, Feb 20 (NNN): Two separate 72 hours bandhs bandh have been announced by tribal organisations of Manipur today.

Committee on Protection of Tribal Areas Manipur (COPTAM), Kuki Students Organisation (KSO), Tamenglong district and Kuki Women union (KWU), Tamenglong district have announced to impose 72 hours Manipur hill districts bandh in two separate periods.

The KSO and KWU sponsored 72 hours bandh will begin from the midnight of February 21 in Tamenglong district demanding that no lands of Tamenglong district be included in the Jiribam sub-division of Imphal East district.

While the COPTAM 72 hours bandh will start from midnight of February 24 in all the hill districts of Manipur in protest against the state government`s `indifferent attitude to the legitimate and rightful demands` of the tribal people.

According to COPTAM, since 2010, it has been requesting the State Government to maintain the original boundaries of all the districts of Manipur, transfer of land records to all respective districts, withdrawal of Panchayati Raj Institutions from the Hill areas/districts where ADCS exist and to solve the issue of Police district boundaries/ Police Stations jurisdictions etc.

Regarding the land records transfers, Orders for Churachandpur and Senapati Districts have been issued in 2013 but no implementation till date. For Tamenglong and Chandel districts, orders are yet to be issued.

PRIs have been withdrawn from the Hill area but the same is yet to be withdrawn from some pockets of Saikul Block, Sadar Hills and Samulamlan Block of Churachandpur District.

Regarding Police District boundary/Police Station jurisdiction, it is unlawful to include the Hill Villages in Police Stations of Valley Districts. It is an act of over-lapping administration and also a manifestation of undermining the powers and functions of hill districts` police.

COPTAM then demands for the immediate implementation of Government’s order for transfer of land records to the respective districts in respect of Churachandpur and Senapati districts. For Tamenglong and Chandel districts, orders for land records transfer should be issued without further delay. It also demands for the immediate and total withdrawal of PRIs from the hill districts. COPTAM then demands that the State Home department’s order in regard to police station jurisdictions should be cancelled immediately and opening of more police stations/outposts in the hill districts where necessary.

According to COPTAM, it had urged the State Government in December 2013 giving a dateline to fulfil these demands within January of 2014.

“However, nothing has been taken up by the government till date. In view of the indifferent attitude of the State Government to this legitimate and rightful demands, the COPTAM is compelled to impose 72 hours hill district `chaka bandh` from midnight of February 24 to midnight of February 27 positively”, COPTAM said. The media, religious related activities, students appearing board and council exams. And educational institutions shall be exempted from the purview of the said bandh, COPTAM added.

Meanwhile, strongly objecting to the perpetual encroachment of the `tribal lands` which is in Tamenglong district contiguous with Jiribam sub division of Imphal East district, in connivance with the police and the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Jiribam, KSO Tamenglong district and Kuki Women Union Tamenglong district have announced to call 72 hours total bandh on National Highway-37 (NH 37) which will be effective from the midnight of February 21.

According to KSO and KWU, some communal elements from Jiribam town have been covertly and overtly encroaching into `the tribal lands` in the past few years.

“Repeated attempts have been made to grab the lands of the tribal villages at Leisangphai, Phaitol, Pangkot, Khedagar Khasi, Kamrenga Khasi and Zairon Villages of Tamenglong. But KSO Tamenglong and Kuki Women Union Tamenglong maintained their cool as the situation prevails upon the transgressors,” KSO and KWU added.

“Construing our phlegmatic temperament as a sign of weakness these interlopers has exceeded all limits of human tolerance as such KSO Tamenglong and Kuki Women Union Tamenglong have been constraint to take up befitting actions to kick out all those interlopers from Tamenglong district with a strong warning to those interlopers to pack up or face dire consequences,” the Kuki bodies warned.

Accusing the Jiribam police of covertly transporting those interlopers to the site, KSO Tamenglong and KWU Tamenglong demanded strong disciplinary action to be taken up upon the Additional SDPO Jiribam for being community bias towards one community and for his complicity in the present and impasse.

A spot inquiry was conducted at Leisangphai village on February 18 by Kuki Inpi Tamenglong, KSO Tamenglong, KWU Tamenglong along with KSO General Headquarters leaders.

“The team came across 30 to 40 workers including women and children clearing the forest and constructing houses for settlement. On being asked who sent them to the site, one Brojen Singh H/O Bina Devi, a Pradhan member responded that the ADC Jiribam had sent them. This clearly vindicates the complicity of both the Sub Division authority and the Police as well,” the Kuki bodies claimed.

The other demand includes the immediate payment of all the pending compensation on the bridge construction under the BRTF on NH 37 and clearance of all pending Railway Line compensation within Tousem Sub Division.

Meanwhile, KSO-General Headquarters has threatened to join the agitation if the state government fails to address the matter at the earliest.

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