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.