KAKCHING, April 2: Following yesterday’s violent scuffle between villagers of Mantri Pantha and Lambung Villages which left scores injured, district administration of Chandel district accompanied by Chandel Naga People’s Organisation visited the two villages today in a bid to subdue the escalating tension.
During the visit, DC Robert Singh Kshetrimayum was accompanied by SP Chandel, Commanding Officer of 8 MR, and CNPO president Ws Kanral Anal.
Meanwhile, speaking to media persons, the chiefs of the two warring villages made contradictory claims on yesterday’s incident.
Speaking to media persons, Mantri Pantha Village chief SS Kohring said that his people had settled in the area during the reign of Manipur king Maharaja Surchandra who appointed his (village chief’s) grandfather as the king’s mantri of the area and gave him the land rights.
Later on, Lambung and other villages including Punchong and Limpun Pantha, a Kuki Village came to settle in the area, which was granted by the Mantri Pantha Village, he said.
However, the Lambung Village started claiming that the land including those of the Mantri Pantha Village belongs to them, he added.
According to him, a large number of Lambung villagers came yesterday and started dismantling the fencing around the house of a villager who is a widow.
He claimed on learning about the incident, the Mantri Pantha villagers requested them to stop dismantling the structures, however, the Lambung villagers attacked them with machetes and sticks causing injuring to 10 villagers.
He further claimed that the Lambung villagers also fired guns towards them and prohibited their movement by blocking the road at the local bridge since yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Lambung Village chief St Ngamnung told media persons that it was the Mantri Pantha villagers who attacked his villagers using guns, machetes and sticks.
He said the Mantri Pantha villagers attacked the Lambung Village Authority members who were dismantling a fencing constructed by encroaching on their land.
He elaborated, a villager of mantra pantha identified as Dammary had constructed some structures including a fencing by encroaching on the land of the Lambung Village.
When, the said Dammary failed to turn up before the village authority even after being asked to, the village authority members had gone to dismantle the structures on April 1.
As the village authority members were dismantling the fencing illegally constructed within the land of Lambung Village, villagers of Mantri Pantha raised an alarmed by ringing bells, he claimed.
Soon, a large number of villagers armed with guns, machetes and sticks came and attack the Lambung Village Authority assistant village chief, he added.
He claimed that in the ensuing scuffle, the armed villagers of Mantri Pantha fired at them and even hurled bombs.
Following the violent attack, the Lambung villagers blocked the bridge over the Chakpri Rivers and prohibited movement of Mantri Pantha villagers, he said. The road was blocked demanding the authorities to seize the illegal arms used in attacking the villagers of Lambung, he added.
Meanwhile, Kanral said the organisation condemn the unfortunate incident between the two neighbouring villages.
He said the chiefs, church leaders and villagers of both villages should understand each other and create a peaceful environment to co-exist together.
He said the incident happened only between villagers of Mantri Pantha and Lambung villages and urged the people of the district not to allow the issue spread beyond the villages.
He also appealed to the people against spreading rumours and instead help in bringing back normalcy and peace in the district.
First of all, the structure they were dismantling is inside Mantri Pantha village. It has stood there for more than three decades. There is no question of the said land being “encroached ” here. Were their eyes closed in all these years and suddenly they woke up to realise that it is “encroached”? Lambung villagers numbering more than 150 came with a premeditated plan to destroy the houses of Mantri Pantha. They were armed with knives, daos, sticks and other sharp objects and started atacking Mantri Pantha villagers who went to stop mob vandalism. They were allowed to settle in Mantri Pantha territory after they became refugee and came running as their village got razed down at “Meichak Khuram” which is several kms away from proper Chandel. Mantri Pantha village had all valid documents to back their claims.
Instead of being grateful to Mantri Pantha village for helping them and allowing them to settle in Mantri Pantha territory, they have been provoking Mantri Pantha village from time to time. Over the years, they invited people from their community (east, west, etc) to settle in great numbers with a premeditated plan to confiscate their benefactor’s land by means of adopting “Might is Right” method (in hindsight, Mantri Pantha villagers have realised) as doing so through legal means is impossible.
Secondly, since the house they were dismantling is inside Mantri Pantha village, it does not come under the purview of land dispute which is in court and is subjudiced. This is a clear case of attempt to destroy the property and attempt to murder of Mantri Pantha people by Lambung. Had Mantri Pantha villagers not restraint and limit themselves to only stopping mob vandalism, there would have been fatality on both side. But because, Mantri Pantha villagers had only gone there to stop them without any arms/weapons and they were attacked in the process, some of them got critically injured with deep cuts of knives and crowbar on the head, face and eyes that needs special medical attention at Shija clinic. On the otherhand, none of Lambung villagers faced casualty that requires more than first aid attention at district hospital and were discharged within half an hour (their injuries were not more than slight bruises). They are professional liars but the evidence have exposed yet another lies of theirs.
By now they must have realised that making some fake documents will not give them any chance as Mantri Pantha village had all valid official documents to proof their ownership of the land. So, adopting “might is right” method to get land ownership by force. But in this civilized world, proof and truth will prevail and not “might is right”