IMPHAL: Myanmar authorities have officially explained reasons for damage caused to a sawmill owned by Hollenphai village chief in broad daylight and why its army personnel took away some mill equipment on March 4 from the village located near Moreh gate number 4 in Tengnoupal district. Villagers of Hollenphai have blocked the DC road passing through the village as a mark of protest against the incident.
Information Centre for Hill Areas, Manipur (ICHAM) president Nongthombam Rajendro, Zeliangrong Union (ZU) Assam, Manipur and Nagaland president Amu Kamei, Thadou Students’ Association president Vum Khongsai assesed the situation in the village aftermath the incident on Thursday. During the inspection visit, Hollenphai village chief Lankhulong Haokip produced a document delivered by Myanmar army officials to Tengnoupal DC, 11th Assam Rifles command-ing officer, ADC/Moreh and SDPO/ Moreh. In the report, Myanmar army officials claimed that the Hollen-phai village chief had set up the sawmill in a yet to be demarcated area between India and Myanmar.
The officials further alleged that they have been protesting against the illegal activities of Hollenphai villagers in the yet to be demarcated area. The report further mentioned that the seized saw-mall equipment have been handed over to the authorities concerned of Tamu For-est department. However, the villagers are still protesting actions of Myanmar army.
Lankhulung told media persons that he and the villagers condemn actions of Myanmar army.
They are acting as if Hollenphai which is part of Manipur, India actually belongs to Myanmar, he said, informing that he raised a complaint at the Moreh police station soon after troops of Myanmar army destroyed his sawmill and took away some equipment in broad daylight.
“The Moreh police also informed 11th Assam Rifles. AR personnel arrived four hours after troops of Myanmar army left the spot,” he recounted.
Raising a poser on why AR post is located at Moreh, Lankhulung asked if they are not posted for defending the borders of Manipur and India why they are still here.
“Are both Manipur and Indian governments interested in gifting away Holenphai to Myanmar? This is not the first time that troops of Myanmar army have entered the area. They have done so on numerous occasions in the past, ” he said, adding that it is not right for both state and Central governments to maintain silence on the issue.
Talking about his visit, ICHAM president Rajendro condemned the harassment of Hollenphai villagers by army troops of the neighbouring country.
“If they claimed that setting up a sawmill in Hollenphai is illegal then India should also lay claim to their Dragon lake. They are constructing the lake at a location which is more proximate to no man’s land,” Rajendro stressed.
Doing as they please and protesting any actions of Hollenphai villagers is illegal, he alleged, expressing a desire for authorities concerned to look into the matter.
ICHAM will submit a memorandum to the Governor of Manipur and the Union home minister including the report delivered by Myanmar officials and documents supporting that the village actually belongs to Manipur, India and as to why the government is silent despite all these.
“If truth be told, according to the treaty signed by India and Myanmar in Rangoon on 1961, the eastern banks of the Lokchao river is their international border. However, despite this, Myanmar has erected border pillar 75, 23 for them, by intruding into Manipur, Indian side by taking advantage time and again,” Rajendro revealed, attributing these border disputes to the indifference of Assam Rifles personnel defending the borders and authorities concerned.
He also demanded deployment of Border Security Forces personnel if the Union government is sincere about defending the borders by replacing AR.
Source: The People’s Chronicle